By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Bar Association got an update of New York's civil practice law and rules (CPLR) from Justice Loren Baily-Schiffman courtesy of the NYS Academy of Trial Lawyers who co-sponsored the event in Brooklyn Heights last Monday.
“We're privileged to have one of the hardest working judges in the court with us tonight,” said past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) Steve Cohn. “She has multiple calendars, busy all the time, on trial, doing motions on the same time she's on trial. She's a former attorney with legal services, a judge of the civil court, acting Supreme Court, and I know that she has worked very hard in preparation for this program.”
The annual update was worth two professional practice CLE credits. During the two-hour program, Baily-Schiffman covered a variety of topics including significant recent case law, the impact of recent NYS Court of Appeals pronouncements and rulings as well as other disclosure issues.
“This is an update on pretty much all of the Appellate Division and Court of Appeals decisions that deal with the CPLR in 2016,” Baily-Schiffman said. “There is a description of each case and some reminders of points of the law that are important to remember and new twists and turns that come up in these decisions.”
Much of the update covered personal jurisdiction and how the courts have interpreted the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case Daimler AG v. Bauman. That case answered whether American courts have jurisdiction over foreign companies. The court found that American companies cannot be sued for conduct that occurred outside of the country and American courts don't have jurisdiction of conduct occurring outside of the country.
“Daimler was a case where 22 residents of Argentina sued Daimler, a German company, in United States district court in California alleging that Mercedes Benz Argentina, an Argentinian subsidiary of Daimler, collaborated with state security forces during Argentina's dirty war to kidnap, detain and torture Mercedes Benz workers,” Baily-Schiffman said.
“Judge Sotomayor's concurring opinion said it directly — no matter how extensive Daimler's contacts with California, an exercise of jurisdiction over these parties would be unreasonable given that it would be a foreign plaintiff, suing a foreign defendant based upon foreign conduct and that there is a more appropriate forum — they could sue in Argentina.”
As a result of the Daimler case, Baily-Schiffman looked at how courts have interpreted the exceptional circumstances category.
“The cases go all over the place,” she explained. “There is a dispute between federal courts and state courts on this exceptional circumstance. Federal courts tend to grant motions to dismiss saying that Daimler doesn't allow this, but the state courts are trying much harder to find exceptional circumstances to keep the case in New York.”
The BBA has a pair of CLEs coming up in March. On Wednesday, March 22, Christina Golkin, chair of the BBA's LGBT committee, and Aimee Richter, president-elect, will host one on de facto parentage with attorneys Susan Bender, Brian Esser and Eric Wrubel. Then on March 29, David Chidekel, Steve Cohn and Randi L. Karmel will host a CLE on special needs children, with a focus on autism, in a divorce.