New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division

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Map of the four departments of the
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
     First Department      Second Department
     Third Department      Fourth Department
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division is located in New York
Manhattan (1st)
Manhattan (1st)
Brooklyn (2nd)
Brooklyn (2nd)
Albany (3rd)
Albany (3rd)
Rochester (4th)
Rochester (4th)
Court locations
The Monroe Place Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York City, home of the Second Department of the Appellate Division
New York State Unified Court System

Court of Appeals
Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Supreme Court
Court of Claims
Surrogate's Court
New York City Courts (Civil, Criminal)

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division is the intermediate appellate court in New York State. The Appellate Division is composed of four departments (e.g., the full title of the "Fourth Department" is "Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department").[1]

History[edit]

The Appellate Division was created by the New York State Constitution of 1894 to succeed the General Term of the Supreme Court, effective January 1, 1896.[2]

Jurisdiction[edit]

The Appellate Division hears appeals from the New York Supreme Court, which is the state's general trial court. The Appellate Division also hears appeals from other specialized trial courts, such as the Surrogate's Court, Family Court, County Court, and Court of Claims. In addition, in civil cases the Appellate Division may hear from appeals from the County Court and the Appellate Term of the Supreme Court, when these courts have heard appeals from one of the lower trial courts.

New York's rules of civil procedure allow for interlocutory appeals of right from nearly every order and decision of the trial court,[3] meaning that most may be appealed to the appropriate appellate department while the case is still pending in the trial court.

The Appellate Division may make decisions of law and fact with respect to its power to hear first appeals from state trial courts, including the Supreme Court and County Courts. These trial level courts exercise specific jurisdiction as conferred by law.[4] In contrast, both the New York Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division when it sits as a final appeals court with respect to appeals arising from decisions of the Appellate Terms in the First and Second Departments, generally may only decide questions of law.[citation needed] The Appellate Division may adjudicate facts subject to specific constraints in the course of initial review of agency decisions under New York's CPLR Article 78, which provides for limited court review or agency and corporate decisions.

Decisions of department panels are binding on the lower courts in that department, and are persuasive authority for the Court of Appeals, other Appellate Division departments and lower courts in other departments.[5] In the absence of a relevant Appellate Division decision from a trial court's own department, the trial court is bound by the applicable decisions of other departments.[5][6] If two different departments have made different rulings on the same issue, then the lower courts in each departmental area must follow the ruling made by the higher court for their particular department. This can sometimes result in the same law being applied differently in different departments. When this occurs, the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals, can remedy the situation by hearing the case and issuing a single ruling, which is then binding on every court in the state.[7]

Departments[edit]

Appellate terms[edit]

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in each judicial department is authorized to establish "appellate terms".[12] An appellate term is an intermediate appellate court that hears appeals from the inferior courts within their designated counties or judicial districts, and are intended to ease the workload on the Appellate Division and provide a less expensive forum closer to the people.[12] Appellate terms are located in the First and Second Judicial Departments only.[12] Appellate terms consist of between three and five justices of the Supreme Court, appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge with the approval of presiding justice of the appropriate appellate division, with two justices constituting a quorum and being necessary for a decision.[12]

Appeals from the Appellate Division[edit]

Decisions by the Appellate Division may be appealed to the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals. In some cases, an appeal lies of right, but in most cases, permission (or "leave") to appeal must be obtained, either from the Appellate Division itself or from the Court of Appeals. In civil cases, the Appellate Division panel or Court of Appeals votes on petitions for leave to appeal; in most criminal cases, however, the petition for leave to appeal is referred to a single Justice or Judge, whose decision whether to grant or deny leave is final.

Appointment of justices[edit]

Justices of the Appellate Division are chosen by the Governor from among those elected to the State Supreme Court. A justice does not have to have been elected from one of the judicial districts within a department to be appointed to the Appellate Division for that Department, although the Presiding Justice and a majority of the total number of justices are to reside within the department. They serve at least five years, or until the completion of their 14-year elected terms, or reaching the constitutional age limit of 70, beyond which the governor may choose to reappoint them for up to three two-year terms.

The State Constitution provides that the First and Second Department are each to comprise seven justices, and the Third and Fourth departments five justices. In addition to these "constitutional" justices, the presiding justice of each department may ask the Governor to designate "additional justices" where needed based on the court's workload. At present, for example, the First Department comprises 20 justices in total when there are no vacancies. The qualifications for additional Justices are the same as for other justices.

Procedure[edit]

Each case is decided by a panel of five, or in some instances four, justices of the Court. There is no procedure for the Court to sit en banc.

Some basic rules governing appeals are contained in Articles 55 and 57 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. Each Department of the Appellate Division also has its own individual set of rules governing more specific details of practice before that court. Unlike other states that have statewide rules of appellate procedure, there is no set of appellate rules shared by all four departments beyond those contained in the CPLR.

Case management[edit]

To keep caseloads under control, most Appellate Division opinions are extremely concise. Often, an Appellate Division panel will dispose of an entire case in only two paragraphs, with the second paragraph stating: "We have considered plaintiff's (or defendant's) remaining contentions and find them unavailing." In contrast, courts in most other states traditionally devote a few more paragraphs to disposing of the other "remaining contentions."

Admission and discipline of attorneys[edit]

Attorneys are admitted to the New York bar by one of the Appellate Division departments rather than by New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, though once admitted to any of the Appellate Division departments, such attorney is admitted to practice and appear before all non-federal courts in the state, including the Court of Appeals. Applicants must be interviewed in person by a member of the court's "Character and Fitness Committee" after passing the bar exam and before being admitted. Applicants are admitted in the department in which they reside; applicants residing outside New York are admitted through the Third Department in Albany.

Attorneys are regulated by various state laws, the Rules of Professional Conduct (based on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct), and rules adopted by each department of the Appellate Division.[13][14] Each department of the Appellate Division has a committee that investigates complaints of attorney misconduct and may issue reprimands or recommend censure, suspension, or disbarment to the Appellate Division.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e NY Courts website Appellate Divisions page. Accessed June 24, 2009.
  2. ^ The new judicial system in NYT on January 2, 1896
  3. ^ See N.Y. CPLR 5701(a)(2).
  4. ^ "An Overview of the Appellate Division" on the New York State Courts website
  5. ^ a b Birnbaum, Edward L.; Belen, Ariel E.; Grasso, Carl T. (2012). New York Trial Notebook (6th ed.). James Publishing. p. 1-23. ISBN 1-58012-104-7. 
  6. ^ Duffy v. Horton Memorial Hospital, 66 NY2d 473, 497 NYS2d 890 (1985); Mountain View Coach Line v. Storms, 102 AD2d 663, 476 NYS2d 918 (2d. Dept. 1984).
  7. ^ See Mountain View Coach Lines v. Storms, 102 A.D.2d 663, 476 N.Y.S.2d 918 (2d Dept. 1984)
  8. ^ NY Courts website 1st Department page. Accessed June 24, 2009.
  9. ^ NY Courts website 2d Department page. Accessed June 24, 2009.
  10. ^ NY Courts website 3d Department page. Accessed June 24, 2009.
  11. ^ NY Courts website 4th Department page. Accessed June 24, 2009.
  12. ^ a b c d Galie & Bopst 2012, p. 177.
  13. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 136–138.
  14. ^ "New Attorney Rules of Professional Conduct Announced" (Press release). New York Office of Court Administration. 17 December 2008. 
  15. ^ Gibson, Ellen M.; Manz, William H. (2004). Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide (3rd ed.). Wm. S. Hein Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 1-57588-728-2. LCCN 2004042477. OCLC 54455036. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]