In many cases, clients tend to place their trust, and often their livelihood, in the hands of their attorney. This expectation can be easily traced back to the attorney-client privilege, one of the oldest common-law privileges for confidential communications.  In some instances, the attorney-client privilege may extend to third parties under the common-interest doctrine, which

Since the inception of the New York State Supreme Court Commercial Division Rules in 1993, the rules have been consistently amended and refined by judges with practitioners’ input to “improve the efficiency with which such [commercial] matters were addressed by the court and … to enhance the quality of judicial treatment of those cases.” 


Over a beautiful, sunny weekend earlier this month (May 17-19), commercial litigators and judges from all over the State converged on Saratoga Springs and the beautiful Gideon Putnam Hotel, for the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Spring 2024 Meeting.  In addition to the receptions, dinners, golf and after-program discussions, all of which were excellent, the Spring Meeting was jam-packed with two days of substantive, thought-provoking and forward-thinking topics. The program was remarkable enough that we here at New York Commercial Division Practice thought it appropriate to report the goings-on for all that could not attend.  

A Thought-Provoking Discussion on Artificial Intelligence and the Law

After a wonderful opening reception and dinner on Friday night to kick off the Meeting, including introductory remarks from ComFed Chair Anne B. Sekel, Esq.; Chair-Elect, Michael Cardello III, Esq.; and Simply Saratoga author, Carol Godette, NYSBA members in attendance were in for a treat first thing Saturday morning, when former Farrell Fritz partner and current U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, Hon. James L. Wicks; U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Mary Kay Vyskocil; Ralph Cater, Esq.; Moya Novella, Esq.; and Stephen Breidenbach, Esq. led a panel discussion about what AI and its platforms are, how they work (or do not work), and how AI is used by litigators in practice.  The panel had attendees on the edge of their seats, demonstrating in real-time the functionality of various AI platforms performing legal tasks such as drafting extension letters, briefs, and deposition outlines, all while attempting to incorporate individual court practice rules.  The panel then took up the ethical and other implications of using AI, including in regards to the duty of competence, duty of diligence, duty to communicate, duty of confidentiality, and the unauthorized practice of law.  It was a great start to the Meeting.  Continue Reading Happenings from the NYSBA Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Spring 2024 Meeting

A recent decision from the Manhattan Commercial Division reminds us of the ramifications of non-compliance with discovery obligations. Although in my experience courts (especially the Commercial Division) typically do not like to get involved in discovery disputes (see, e.g., ComDiv Rule 14 requiring parties to meet and confer to resolve all discovery disputes)

On February 14, 2024, Chief Administrative Judge Joseph Zayas signed an Administrative Order amending Section 202.70(b)(1) of the Uniform Rules for the Supreme and County Courts (Rules of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court), and adding a new Rule 9-b to Section 202.70(g). But rather than vest the Commercial Division with new powers

Whether in employment agreements or business transactions, drafters often include certain clauses within these documents to protect their client if litigation arises (e.g., arbitration clauses, forum- selection clauses). However, when not clearly drafted, these clauses can lead to a battle over where the case may proceed. Recently, Manhattan Commercial Division Justice Joel M. Cohen handed

As one might gather from the title of this blog, we here at New York Commercial Division Practice try to make a more-than-occasional point of extolling the virtues of the Commercial Division. From its well-established reputation as a sophisticated, cost-effective, predictable, and expeditious forum to its related ability to attract businesses nationwide to litigate their disputes in New York State, when it comes to litigating commercial cases in New York, the Commercial Division is the place to be.

Every year around this time, New York’s Chief Administrative Judge publishes an annual report, which “collect[s], compile[s] and publish[es] statistics and other data with respect to the unified court system and submit[s] annually, on or before the fifteenth day of March, to the legislature and governor a report of activities and the state of the unified court system during the preceding year.” The New York State Unified Court System’s 2023 Annual Report, which was just published last week, devoted a section to the Commercial Division under the heading “A Commitment to Society,” in which the Chief Administrator praised the work of the Commercial Division Advisory Council, which, under the leadership of Robert L. Haig, Esq., has helped develop the Commerical Division into becoming “a recognized leader in court system innovation, … demonstrating an unparalleled creativity and flexibility in [the] development of rules and practices.” Continue Reading The Chief Administrative Judge’s 2023 Annual Report, the State of the Commercial Division, and Other ComDiv Goings-On

Commercial litigants often seek the provisional and equitable remedy of a preliminary injunction under Article 63 of the CPLR to protect the client’s rights that are difficult to monetize and quantify. The relief sought typically involves a party restraining from certain conduct and maintaining the status quo where it “appears that the defendant threatens or

A confession of judgment has often been viewed as an important tool in settling a litigation or finalizing a transaction.  In 2019, the New York State Legislature made some significant amendments to the Confession of Judgment law (CPLR § 3218), particularly eliminating the ability of creditors to file confessions of judgment against non-New York residents.  As a result, the amended CPLR § 3218 provides that the confession must state the county in which “the defendant resided when it was executed,” and that the confession may only be filed in that county or, if the defendant moved to a different county within New York after signing the confession, “where the defendant resided at the time of filing.”  In a recent decision, Kings County Commercial Division Justice Leon Ruchelsman  addressed the damaging consequences of altering a confession of judgment to meet the “residency” requirements of CPLR § 3218.


In Porges v Kleinman, plaintiff commenced an action stemming from a real estate investment opportunity in New Jersey.  Specifically, plaintiff alleged that defendant pressured plaintiff to obtain a high cost loan to finance the purchase of the property while not allowing plaintiff to conduct any due diligence.  Following the closing, plaintiff alleged that defendant pressured him into signing a promissory note and confession of judgment for $675,000.00.  Approximately a year after the closing, defendant commenced a separate action, which was later consolidated with the present action, to enforce the confession of judgment due to plaintiff’s alleged failure to make any payments towards the promissory note.

During the course of the litigation, plaintiff brought a motion to vacate the confession of judgment, arguing that the confession of judgment (i) did not specify the county in which plaintiff resided; and (ii) was altered by striking out “County of New York” and writing in “County of Kings” in the caption.  In opposition, defendant argued that the alteration of the caption was made at the express instruction of the Kings County Clerk’s office to allow for the confession of judgment to be filed in the appropriate venue.Continue Reading Altering a Confession of Judgment? Think Again!