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New York Practice
Rutgers University, Newark School of Law
Gugig, Michael S.

1.The Hodgepodge of Courts and their SMJ – all in Siegel – don’t worry too much about the details
                                                            i.        District courts
                                                          ii.        Circuit courts of appeals
                                                        iii.        U.S. Supreme Court
                                                            i.        Village courts and Town courts
1.$3000 jurisdictional limit
a.If aggregate is over, can’t have case there – but can try each separately
2.Small claims court
a.Many rules of procedure, etc. apply
b.Court can do anything that provides “substantial justice”
3.Regular civil part
a.Subject to all the regular procedural rules
4.Traffic cases
5.Municipal code violations
6.LL/tenant disputes w/ town or village
7.Criminal cases
a.Can dispose of misdemeanors or violations
b.Cannot dispose of felonies – go to county court
8.Service of process only effective in town or village or any adjoining county
9.Judges elected to 4 year term
                                                          ii.        City courts
1.$15k jurisdictional limit
2.Traffic, LL/tenant, criminal cases w/in the city
3.Like village and town, can dispose of misdemeanors, violations
4.Cannot dispose of felony cases
5.Can perform felony hearings to determine if enough evidence to present to grand jury
6.Service of process must be w/in county where city is situated
7.Judges elected to 10 year term
                                                        iii.        District courts
1.Only Nassau and Suffolk counties
2.$15k jurisdictional limit for regular civil part, but small claims limited to $5k
3.Process can only be served on a D who initiates a case w/in the county where the district court sits
4.Judges elected to 6 year term
5.Criminal jurisdiction same as city, town, village
                                                        iv.        NYC criminal court
1.In every other county, criminal cases begin in town or village court
2.Judges have 10 year terms, but are appointed by mayor, not elected
3.Same functions as village, town, city, dist. cts.
4.Cannot dispose of felonies – go to supreme court
                                                          v.        NYC civil court
1.$25k jurisdictional limit
2.No limit on counterclaims (different from what we’ve seen in the other courts)
3.Has a small claims part that can hear up to $5k
                                                        vi.        County courts
1.62 counties in state
2.Judges elected to 10 year terms
3.$25k civil jurisdiction
4.No limit on counterclaims
5.In most counties (not the 5 in city of NY) used almost exclusively for criminal felonies
6.Why would you bring a case to county court? If over limits of another court, but most people don’t do that and go right to supreme
                                                      vii.        Family courts
1.Judges elected to 10 year terms on county-wide basis
2.5 or 6 subject areas that supreme court can handle but family court handles b/c more specialized court: adoption; offenses b/t family members like spousal abuse; juvenile delinquency; paternity disputes; custody and visitation – not including divorce
3.Not subject to jury
                                                    viii.        Surrogate’s court
1.Specialized to issues of wills and estates
2.Judges elected to 10 year terms
                                                       ix.        Court of Claims
1.Lawsuit against state can only be brought here
2.Not subject to jury
3.Judges appointed by governor
                                                         x.        Supreme court
1.Court of unlimited jurisdiction – no limit on how much money can be awarded – but actually a court of general jurisdiction, b/c can also do what the other courts can do (concurrent jurisdiction)
2.Used primarily for civil cases
3.Can handle felony criminal cases but by and large doesn’t, unless cases come to it from NYC criminal court
4.Judges elected to 14 year terms
                                                       xi.        Appellate terms of supreme court
1.Takes appeals from village, town, city, district, nyc criminal, and nyc civil courts
2.Panels of 3 judges on any term, 2 of which must agree to result
3.Judges selected by Administrative Judge of NY
4.95% trial level, 5% appeals
                                                     xii.        Appellate division of supreme court
1.Takes appeals from county, family, surrogate’s court of claims, supreme court, and even split decisions from appellate term
2.100% appellate work
3.Judges appointed by governor and must currently sit on supreme court
4.Usually 5 judge panels
5.Divided into 4 departments
6.Exception where appellate division can hear case initially – Article 78
                                                   xiii.        Court of appeals
1.7 judges, appointed by governor for 14 years need not occupy underlying seat on supreme court
2.Can only take cases from appellate division w/ 1 or 2 exceptions (certain death penalty issues, but that law is basically done; or if federal court wants clarification on NY law for one of its own cases, can ask court of appeals to certify question)
3.3 instances where cases can go from appellate division to ct. of appeals:
a.2 dissenting judges in decision
b.Permission from appellate division
c. Permission from ct. of appeals  
                                                   xiv.        U.S. Supreme Court
c. What happens if you bring a case in the wrong court, or bring it in right court but find out your damages can be higher and want to go to a diff. court?
                                                            i.        CPLR 325b: bring motion to supreme court to remove case to its court b/c it has SMJ
                                                          ii.        Case can be pushed down in 2 ways:
1.325c: Plaintiff consents to lowering of damages to number w/in lower court, then an order can be rendered from supreme court pushing case down to lower court
2.325d: Supreme court has authority to send case down w/o P’s consent, if in assessing case decides its worth less (but P can still recover more)
2.Statute of Limitations
a.3 concepts:
                                                            i.        Duration
                                                          ii.        Accrual
                                                        iii.        Toll
                                                            i.        CPLR 201: Cases commenced in court must be commenced w/in SOL w/ 2 exceptions:
1.When there is some different time proscribed by law (e.g. case law)
2.An agreement b/t parties that the SOL shall be either longer or shorter – must be

aded by Dr. is med malpractice 2 1/2 years
d.Orthodontists considered dentists – 2 1/2 years
                                                       xi.        CPLR 214-b
1.Agent Orange – 2 years from date of discovery or from reas. diligence cause of injury should have been discovered (case by case basis)
                                                     xii.        CPLR 214-c
1.3 year discovery rule as result of exposure or latent effects of exposure to substances – must be a toxic substance
a.Written as a result of asbestos
                                                   xiii.        CPLR 215(3): 1 year SOL
1.Intentional torts: defamation, assault/battery
                                                   xiv.        CPLR 215(50: 2 year SOL
1.Wrongful death: a right the distributees have for their loss as a result of someone else’s death
2.2 years from toll but a toll – longer than 2 years when you factor in the toll
                                                     xv.        CPLR 215-i
1.Most lawsuits against municipalities are 1 year, 90 days
                                                   xvi.        General Construction Law 57 – adopts Pope Gregory’s weekday calendar system
1.58: Feb. 28 and 29th shall be deemed a single day
                                                 xvii.        If you have an accident today, begin counting SOL tomorrow – 1st full day after claim has arisen. If ends on a Sunday, rounded off onto next business day. If lands on holiday, get benefit of an additional day.
                                               xviii.        When SOL’s are measured in years, it’s easy, but some are measured by days. A count of days means just that.
                                                   xix.        Multiple theories of recovery – each theory has its own SOL. Every claim is looked at individually in terms of how long SOL is and when it accrues (when the claim arises so that SOL starts to run). Accrual will sometimes have diff. dates for diff. theories even if all theories come out of same underlying occurrence.
1.Ex: wrongfully arrested for shoplifting, sent to jail for 2 days, criminally prosecuted, 10 months later case terminated in your favor. Claim for false imprisonment accrues on date released from jail, but claim for malicious prosecution doesn’t accrue until termination of criminal case 10 months later.
                                                     xx.        Can’t take an untimely claim and turn it into a timely claim by calling it something else.
1.Ex: med malpractice 2 1/2 years – can’t get around it by calling it negligence (3 years)
c. Accrual
CPLR 203(a): time within which an action must be commenced, except as otherwise expressly prescribed, shall be computed from