Commercial and Federal Litigation Section

  • Social Media
    Social Media Ethics Guidelines 2015 Social Media Ethics Guidelines report from the Section's Social Media Committee available online now!
    Join us on Twitter! @NYSBACOMFED
  • CLE Programs and Events
    • October 13, 2015: Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Executive Committee Meetings

      C&FLS Executive Committee Meetings
      All meetings are from 6pm-8pm

      Tuesday, October 13 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Tuesday, November 10 (Menter, Rudin, Trivelpiece, P.C., 308 Maltbie Street, Suite 200, Syracuse, NY)

      Tuesday, December 8 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Wednesday, January 13 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Tuesday, February 9 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Wednesday, March 9 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Tuesday, April 5 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Wednesday, May 4 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC)

      Tuesday, June 7 (Kramer Levin, 1177 Avenue of Americas, NYC) 

    • November 4, 2015: An Evening with the Commercial Division for the Seventh Judicial District

      The New York State Bar Association Commercial & Federal Litigation Section is pleased to present

      An Evening with the Commercial Division for the Seventh Judicial District

      November 4, 2015
      Legacy Tower
      One Bausch & Lomb Place, 2nd Floor
      Rochester, NY 14604

      5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Panel Discussion
      6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Reception

      Judge Craig J. Doran
      Justice Matthew A. Rosenbaum
      Aimee Allen, Esq.

      This program qualifies for 1 MCLE Credits in Professional Practice

      Cost to attend is $20.00  REGISTER NOW!

      To Register over the phone, please contact the State Bar Service Center at 1-800-582-2452

      For questions: Tina Rothaupt at

    • November 12: NYSBA CLE Securities Arbitration 2015 - Section Members Save 15%

      November 12, 2015: NYSBA CLE Securities Arbitration 2015 – Section Members Save 15%! 

      Thursday, November 12, 2015
      9:00 a.m. to 4:35 p.m. – New York City & Webcast

      New York State Society of CPAs

      14 Wall Street |  New York, NY 10005 

      7.0 MCLE Credits: 4.0 Professional Practice, 2.0 Skills, 1.0 Ethics

      Topics to Be Covered Include:
      - FINRA Developments and Trends Nationwide
      - Pleadings and Opening Statements
      - Whether and When to Settle
      - Selecting and Managing Your Arbitration Panel
      - Arbitrators’ Perspective
      - Experts and Closing
      - Ethical Issues in Arbitration

      Who Should Attend:  
      Attorneys practicing securities law; Attorneys interested in expanding their practice to include representing clients in securities arbitrations and mediations; Attorneys involved in arbitration and mediation; Arbitrators; Mediators.

      ComFed Section Members: $148.75 
      (Section Members Save 15% off the NYSBA Member Rate!)
      NYSBA Members: $175 
      Non Members: $275
      Note: Registration fees increase ten days prior to the program date.

      Register today!

  • Recent News & Events

    Notes of the Section’s Executive Committee Meetings

    January 20, 2015
    At this special meeting, the Executive Committee discussed and approved the creation of a one-time Excellence in Commercial Litigation Fund for each of New York’s four federal court districts. 

    December 9, 2014 
    Guest speaker United States District Judge J. Paul Oetken, Southern District of New York, discussed practices he favors and disfavors. The Executive Committee discussed and adopted the report of the Pattern Jury Instructions Committee concerning an instruction on agency. The Executive Committee also discussed the Corporate Litigation Counsel Committee’s upcoming event, the anniversary celebrations of the Southern and Eastern Districts, an upcoming CLE program of the White Collar Criminal Litigation Committee, and the Annual Meeting. 

    November 5, 2014
    Guest speaker United States District Court Judge Kenneth M. Karas, Southern District of New York, discussed his own practices and the differences between the White Plains and Manhattan SDNY courthouses. The Executive Committee discussed and adopted the Commercial Division Committee’s Comments on Proposed Commercial Division Rule Regarding Discovery Requests. 

    October 7, 2014
    Guest speaker Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson, United States Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of New York, discussed consent jurisdiction, proposed changes in the Federal Rules aimed at accelerating the commencement of discovery, and, with the Commercial Division judges present, discovery. The Executive Committee also discussed the upcoming Annual Meeting, District Leaders, Bench-Bar programs, and the Suffolk County Commercial Division Committee.

    September 17, 2014
    Guest speaker Justice Vito M. DeStefano of the Commercial Division, Nassau County, discussed cuts in the Nassau County courts and his perspective on several new Commercial Division rules. The Executive Committee discussed the 2015 Annual Meeting, Committee Chair and District Leader updates, upcoming CLEs in Rochester and Buffalo, a social media and jury instructions survey, and the Woman on the Move progra

    August 12, 2014
    In this special meeting, the Executive Committee approved, with amendments, two reports of the Section’s Commercial Division Committee: a report supporting a proposed Commercial Division rule change concerning sanctions and a report supporting a proposed Commercial Division rule concerning the presumptive limitations on the number and length of depositions. 

    July 8, 2014
    In this special meeting, the Executive Committee approved the Section’s CPLR Committee Report supporting the Proposed Amendment to CPLR 3122-a.

    Bench Bar Program: An Evening with the Commercial DIvision Justices of the Tenth District  

    By Laurel R. Kretzing

                The Nassau/Suffolk District Bench and Bar turned out in full force to participate in the Section's first Bench/Bar Forum which was co-sponsored by the Nassau County Bar Association Commercial Litigation Committee and the Suffolk County Bar Association Commercial Division Committee.  The program, chaired by Nassau/Suffolk District Leader Laurel R. Kretzing, was held at the Melville Marriott and sold out with close to 200 registrants.  The attendees were welcomed by our new Section Chair, James M. Wicks.

                All six of the Commercial Division Justices, Hon. Stephen A. Bucaria, Hon. Vito M. DeStefano, Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll, Hon. Elizabeth H. Emerson, Hon. Jerry Garguilo and Hon. Emily Pines, appeared for a panel discussion moderated by Section members Harvey Besunder (Co-Chair of the Suffolk County Bar Commercial Division Committee) and Kevin Schlosser       ( Chair of the Nassau County Bar Commercial Litigation Committee), which covered the new Commercial Division Rules, the preferred practices of the judges and included ethics commentaries by Harvey Besunder.

                The CLE also included Special Guest Robert L. Haig, Chair of the Commercial Division Advisory Council who discussed the background and intent of the new Commercial Division Rules to further the goals of the business community.

    Thank you to our sponsors! (pdf) 

    Section Holds 2015 Annual Meeting

    By Mark A. Berman

    On January 28, 2015, the Section held its Annual Meeting, which was run by Paul D. Sarkozi, Section Chair, with the assistance of James M. Wicks, Chair-Elect, and Mark A. Berman, Section Vice-Chair and Program Chair. Despite the freezing weather, both CLE programs were standing room only. The luncheon was at full capacity with judges in attendance from every level of the New York State Court system and with numerous judges from both the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

    The first CLE Program, entitled The Prosecution and Defense of Data Breach Litigation, was moderated by Peter J. Pizzi of Connell Foley LLP, with panelists Ian C. Ballon of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Joseph V. DeMarco of DeVore & DeMarco LLP, Ariana J. Tadler of Milberg LLP, and Raymond H. Sheen of Hanson Bridgett LLP. The audience learned what the future holds in this hot area of the law. All contours of data breach litigation were discussed—ranging from colossal e-discovery issues to trends in data breach settlements. See separate article by Mr. Pizzi.

    The second CLE program entitled Complex Financial Transactions at Trial: Experiences and Observations from the Bench and the Bar, was moderated by Benjamin R. Nagin of Sidley Austin LLP. The jurists on the panel were the Honorable Paul A. Engelmayer from the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Marcy S. Friedman of the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, Commercial Division. The panel was rounded out with David Meisels, Head of Litigation at Fortress Investment Group, LLP, and Stephen L. Ascher of Jenner & Block, LLP. The audience heard perspectives from the bench, in-house attorneys and practitioners on their experiences and observations at trial in the presentation of complex fi nancial transactions and products. The panel grappled with the special challenges of presenting evidence to a fi nder of fact in a clear, concise, and straightforward manner. See separate article by Mr. Nagin.

    The Section then joyously celebrated the 225th anniversary of the Southern District of New York and the 150th anniversary of the Eastern District of New York. Paul Sarkozi highlighted how the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York have been models for other courts throughout the country in addressing the thorniest and most complex commercial business disputes. Paul announced that the Section in honor of these anniversaries has created an Excellence in Business Litigation Initiative, earmarking $10,000 for each of the four Federal Districts in New York State. The money would be used for programs dedicated to fostering education in business litigation that would be jointly sponsored with the Section.

    In honor of these two anniversaries, the Section first presented to Southern District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska a bound bibliography listing books and articles by and about the Southern District Judges and their cases, which was drafted by the Section under the leadership of Federal Judiciary Committee Chair Jay G. Safer with the assistance of the law fi rms of Sheppard Mullin and Paul Weiss. Former Section Chair and Southern District Judge P. Kevin Castel and Judge Deborah A. Batts, who are coordinating the SDNY’s 225th celebration, gave guidance to the Section as it prepared this bibliography.

    The Section then presented to Eastern District Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon a hard-to-find book written by Eastern District Judge Clarence Galston, who had served on the Eastern District bench for thirty-five years (1929- 1964) that contained an original, one of a kind, inscription by Judge Galston to a friend. Paul also announced that the Section would be working with Professor Jeffrey Morris of Touro Law School in updating the history of the Eastern District of New York.

    The speeches by both Chief Judges highlighted the accomplishments of their Districts, which this article could never do justice in summarizing. But what everyone will remember was the friendly “teasing” between the two Chief Judges concerning the Southern District’s nickname, the Mother Court. Chief Judge Amon recounted how, when the Districts had their last two major anniversaries 25 years ago, former Eastern District Chief Judge Eugene H. Nickerson got down on one knee and sang My Mammy, made famous by Al Jolson, to former Southern District Chief Judge Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Then bringing down the house and not to be outdone, Chief Judge Amon, without bending a knee, sang to Chief Judge Preska from My Mammy, the memorable stanza I’d walk a million miles for one of your smiles, My Mammy!

    Thereafter, the Honorable Lawrence K. Marks, the First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge of the Unifi ed Court System and also a Commercial Division Judge, presented the Section’s Stanley H. Fuld Award for outstanding contributions to commercial law and litigation to the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti, Chief Administrative Judge of New York. Judge Marks then read out loud a letter from Chief Judge Lippman, which noted that under Judge Prudenti’s watch, the New York State Commercial Division has become the number one venue for the state, national, and international business community. Chief Judge Lippman noted that, under Judge Prudenti’s guidance, enhancements to the Commercial Division included more active case management, implementing rules to facilitate more effi cient claim settlement, encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution, and increasing the monetary thresholds to conserve resources for the most complex cases. Judge Lippman noted that Judge Prudenti has “brought a vision in creativity with common sense” to the position of Chief Administrative Judge. He further noted that Judge Prudenti brings a “spirit of reform and commitment to progress, always asking what we can do better to serve the People of New York State.” Significantly, the Section has many representatives on Chief Judge Lippman’s Commercial Division Advisory Council and has also provided comments to the Office of Court Administration on several of the new proposed rules for Commercial Division practice. Judge Prudenti humbly accepted the Fuld Award, but made it clear to the audience that her receipt of the Fuld Award was not for her, but was for all the hard work that all judges in the Unifi ed Court System put into their jobs.

    Judge Prudenti, while speaking about the initiatives implemented during her tenure, spoke most passionately about how such initiatives become reality. She noted that initially comments often came in from attorneys. She then would speak with the Chief Judge about them and, if the idea merited further discussion, a report on the issue would be authored, public comment would be sought, and then the concept would be voted on by the Unifi ed Court System’s Administrative Board, consisting of the Chief Judge and the Presiding Justices of the four Departments of the Appellate Division.

    In the end, as noted by Paul Sarkozi, “Judge Prudenti has helped New York’s Commercial Division convey a clear message to the business community that it is committed to being a leader in the resolution of commercial disputes.”

    The Section unanimously nominated, for 2015-2016 year, James M. Wicks as Chair, Mark A. Berman as ChairElect, Mitchell J. Katz as Vice-Chair, Deborah E. Edelman as Treasurer, and Jeremy Corapi as Secretary. After the luncheon, the Section hosted, as it has done for year, a gathering of the State’s Commercial Division Justices.

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  • Section Publications


    The NYLitigator features peer-written substantive articles relating to the practice of commercial and federal litigation on various topics, including discovery; mediation; settlements; corporate liability; and due process. Section Reports, written by various Commercial and Federal Litigation Committees, are often featured in each issue. The NYLitigator is published by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and distributed to Section Members free of charge.
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    The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter features updates on Section activities, programs and events; recent legislation; and information about current issues. The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter is published three times per year by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and distributed to Section members free of charge.
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