Court of Appeals: Sorry, Judges. The State’s Contribution to Your Health Insurance is Not Part of Your Compensation

New York employees have pretty great health insurance options. Having left the State's employ and its health insurance to move to the private sector and non-collectively bargained health insurance, believe me, I know. Premiums are low. Coverage is high. And the State covers a substantial part of the cost. So too for New York's judges. …

Court of Appeals Answers Second Circuit Certified Questions in World Trade Center Cleanup Suit Against Battery Park City Authority

After the 9/11 terrorist attack, first responders and volunteers spent weeks/months/years cleaning up the City from the debris and dust left after the World Trade Center towers fell. A few of the buildings that were cleaned up were owned by the Battery Park  City Authority, a public benefit corporation created by the Legislature to spur …

Court of Appeals: When a Court Dismisses an Uncertified Class Action, Notice to Class Members is Mandatory

Today, I'm happy to present a guest post by Jared Cook (@jkimballcook on Twitter), an attorney with the Rochester firm Adams Bell Adams, PC. Jared’s practice focuses on civil appeals, construction contract disputes, employment law, civil rights, and class actions. Contact him at jcook@abalawpc.com. A plaintiff files a complaint with class action allegations, but before …

Court of Appeals Holds Reinsurance Agreements Must Be Interpreted Like Any Other Contract

Reinsurance is insurance for insurers. Big money insurers often seek to defray their risk by paying a reinsurer to cover some of their liability for big payouts. For example, if an insurer issues a $10 million business policy, a reinsurance policy might cover half of that. So if a $10 million claim is paid by …

Court of Appeals Declines to Up the Standards for SEQRA Review

The State Environmental Quality Review Act requires that agencies, municipalities, and local boards that have power to approve or fund projects study the potential adverse environmental impacts of a proposal before they approve it. This makes sense. If a project is going to have adverse environmental consequences for a community, the agency approving it should know that …

Court of Appeals Holds Trial Judges Must Give Cross-Racial Identification Jury Instruction in Almost Every Case

Let's set the stage. You're walking down the street at night on your way back from work. You're approached by a stranger, about the same age but a different race. He asks you the time, and as you pull out your phone to respond, he snatches it, threatens you with a knife, and runs. The …

Family Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Continue Placement of Child in Foster Care After Dismissal of Underlying Neglect Petition

Under the Family Law, the State has certain authority to seek to protect children in danger by removing them temporarily from their parents' care. Placing a child in foster care is a heart-wrenching decision that under the law has to be based on what is in the best interests of the child. That decision, however, …

Court of Appeals Holds One Attempt at Personal Service Enough to Permit Nail and Mail Under NYC Charter

Service of papers saying that you violated a local municipal law implicates important due process concerns. If a property owner doesn't get notice that something at his or her property violates local zoning regulations, he or she won't have an opportunity to contest the violation or try to work out a deal to fix it. …

Court of Appeals Holds Standard for Punitive Damages Under NYCHRL is Willful or Wanton Negligence, Recklessness, or Conscious Disregard

The New York City Human Rights Law provides strong protections against discrimination in all of its forms.  To strengthen those protections, the NYCHRL makes punitive damages available to a prevailing plaintiff.  Its text, however, doesn't provide the standard that the courts should apply when determining whether the plaintiff should be awarded punitives.  That's a problem. …

Court of Appeals OKs Retroactive Impact of Closure of Workers Compensation Law’s Special Fund for Reopened Cases

In American Economy Insurance Company v State of New York (No. 96), previewed here, two titans of the appellate world faced off in a dispute over the phase out of a special workers’ compensation fund that pays benefits to injured workers whose cases were closed and later reopened. The plaintiffs, represented by WilmerHale's Seth Waxman, former Solicitor General …