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.
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