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
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
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.
Defense of Data
by Peter J.
Pizzi of Connell
Ian C. Ballon of
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,
Ascher of Jenner
LLP. The audience
on their experiences
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
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
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
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
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
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
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