New York Court of Appeals Round-Up & Preview

December 20, 2021

This year marks an important turning point for the seven-member Court, as new judges will soon comprise nearly half its bench. In June, the New York Senate confirmed the appointment of Anthony Cannataro and Madeline Singas. Judge Cannataro, who was formerly the Administrative Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, filled the vacancy left by Judge Paul Feinman, who passed away. Judge Singas, who was formerly the Nassau County District Attorney, filled the vacancy left by the retired Judge Leslie Stein. As Judges Feinman and Stein often voted with Chief Judge DiFiore and Judge Garcia to form a majority in the Court’s decisions, it remains to be seen if that pattern continues.

The Court will also change in 2022 because Judge Eugene Fahey, a swing vote, reaches his mandatory retirement age at the end of this year. To fill his seat, Governor Kathy Hochul nominated Shirley Troutman, a justice in the Appellate Division, Third Department. If confirmed, she would be the second African American woman to sit on the Court. Justice Troutman has extensive experience as a prosecutor and a judge. She also has spent her career upstate, providing geographic balance. On the other hand, analysts have expressed concern that the Court lacks “professional diversity,” as it would include four former prosecutors and only one judge (Fahey, or Troutman) with judicial experience in the Appellate Division.

Despite this turnover, the Court continued previous trends, with the pace of decisions reduced and a high number of fractured opinions. After Judge Feinman’s passing, the Court ordered several cases to be reargued in a “future court session,” which may suggest that his was a potential swing vote in those cases. Nevertheless, the Court continued to resolve significant issues in a wide array of areas, from territorial jurisdiction and agency deference to consumer protection and insurance contracts.

The New York Court of Appeals Round-Up & Preview summarizes key opinions primarily in civil cases issued by the Court over the past year and highlights a number of cases of potentially broad significance that the Court will hear during the coming year. The cases are organized by subject.

To view the Round-Up, click here.

Gibson Dunn’s New York office is home to a team of top appellate specialists and litigators who regularly represent clients in appellate matters involving an array of constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and common-law issues, including securities, antitrust, commercial, intellectual property, insurance, First Amendment, class action, and complex contract disputes.  In addition to our expertise in New York’s appellate courts, we regularly brief and argue some of the firm’s most important appeals, file amicus briefs, participate in motion practice, develop policy arguments, and preserve critical arguments for appeal.  That is nowhere more critical than in New York—the epicenter of domestic and global commerce—where appellate procedure is complex, the state political system is arcane, and interlocutory appeals are permitted from the vast majority of trial-court rulings.

Our lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the New York Court of Appeals, or any other state or federal appellate courts in New York.  Please feel free to contact any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group, or the following lawyers in New York:

Mylan L. Denerstein (+1 212-351-3850, [email protected])
Akiva Shapiro (+1 212-351-3830, [email protected])
Seth M. Rokosky (+1 212-351-6389, [email protected])

Please also feel free to contact the following practice group leaders:

Allyson N. Ho – Dallas (+1 214.698.3233, [email protected])
Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202.887.3667, [email protected])

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