Thursday, August 25, 2016

New York's Former Chief Judge Lippman: Dissents [presentation]

By Kerry L. Cunningham
Kerry Cunningham graduated from Albany Law School this past spring. She did her undergraduate work at Gettysburg College, graduating in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Religious Studies.
While in law school, Kerry served as the Managing Editor of Research and Writing for the Albany Government Law Review and as the Executive Treasurer of the Student Bar Association. Additionally, she interned with Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux LLP during her second and third years.
This presentation was prepared for Professor Bonventre's Court of Appeals Intensive class in the Spring of 2016.

This PowerPoint presentation is the product of research regarding the voting patterns of former New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's voting patterns. It is based on the dissenting opinions Lippman authored throughout his 9 year tenure on the New York's high court.

His dissents evince a strong dedication to and passion for equal justice for the less advantaged, and this is especially conspicuous in criminal cases. This presentation focuses on four of these dissents. Two are from his first two years and two from his final two years on the Court.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

NYCOA Judge Pigott: Opinion Patterns (presentations)

Here are two mini-presentations prepared by students in the Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar. Students each chose a current member of New York's highest court and looked for patterns in recent opinions written by the chosen Judge. In these presentations, one student looked at Judge Pigott's majority opinions and the other looked at his dissents. 


Corey Carmello


 To view Corey Carmello's presentation on Judge Pigott's majority opinions, click HERE.
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Eric Brenner















To view Eric Brenner's presentation on Judge Pigott's dissenting opinions, click HERE.

NYCOA Judge Pigott: Majority Opinion Patterns (presentation)

By Corey Carmello
Corey Carmello is a second-year student at Albany Law School. He graduated summa cum laude from the University at Albany in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Since starting law school, Corey has interned with Judge Lawrence E. Kahn, of the Northern District of New York; the Albany County District Attorney’s Office; and the Appeals and Opinions Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. He is also a member of the Albany Law Review. Corey will be working as a summer associate for Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy this summer, and hopes to work there as an associate upon graduation.
This presentation was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar.

This presentation is the result of research conducted on the past 10 majority opinions—i.e., in non-unanimous cases--written by Judge Eugene Pigott of the New York Court of Appeals. A pattern of deference to the trial court and to the legislature, and a general pattern of being pro-prosecution was apparent from this research.

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NYCOA Judge Pigott: Dissenting Opinion Patterns (presentation)

By Eric Brenner
Eric Brenner is a second-year student at Albany Law School and graduated with honors from Siena College in 2014 with a degree in Finance.  Eric is the Executive Managing Editor for Volume 80 of the Albany Law Review.  He has served as a judicial intern in U.S. District Court for both the Hon. Lawrence E. Kahn and the Hon. Charles J. Siragusa.  Additionally, Eric has been a teaching assistant and research assistant at Albany Law. 
This presentation was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar.

Before beginning research, I was aware that Judge Pigott has been one of the Court's more frequent dissenters. In his 10 most recent authored dissents, 9 were in criminal cases. Of these, Judge Pigott dissented alone in 6.  His dissents appear to focus on policy concerns, practicality, and giving deference to the trial court. Judge Pigott’s dissents are very articulate in the way in which they examine the precedents and the facts in the record.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Immuno AG: The Court of Appeals Strikes Back

By John Chiaramonte
John Chiaramonte is a third-year student at Albany Law School. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2012 with a double major in Political Science and English.
John currently works part-time as a legal assistant for New York Business Development Corporation, a small business lending company. He is also the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Siena College.
While his main focus in law school has been business transactions, John found his interest was piqued researching defamation law in New York. This paper was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar.

For years the New York Court of Appeals has served as the beacon of reason for many other state courts. It was no different when the court confronted the issue in Immuno AG. v. Moor-Jankowski (Immuno II).

The Immuno case serves as a great example of a defining moment where the New York Court of Appeals differentiated state law from federal law, refusing to be bullied by the highest federal court in America. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive look at the seven year Immuno trilogy.

The paper begins with a background of state and federal law, then examines the Court of Appeals’ first ruling in Immuno I. It proceeds to the Supreme Court’s decision in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., and ends with the Court of Appeals’ second ruling in Immuno II.

This paper concludes that the ruling of the Court of Appeals in Immuno II reestablished a foothold for New York in libel cases.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Chief Judge Lippman on Employee Benefits

A Consistent Supportive Vote
By Max Lindsey
Max Lindsey graduated Albany Law School, summa cum laude, in 2015. He previously attained his bachelor's degree from Western State Colorado University, in Gunnison, Colorado.
At Albany Law, Max served as class president for the Class of 2015 on the Student Bar Association for his 2L and 3L years. He served as a senior editor on the Albany Law Review, which published his note, When Every Drop Counts: Addressing Hydrologic Connectivity as a Climate Change Issue.
Max participated in several moot court programs, making it to the final round in Albany Law School's Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition, as well as the semi-final round in Albany Law's Senior Prize Trial Competition, and the National Law and Religion Appellate Advocacy Competition at Touro Law Center.
Currently, Max lives in the Albany, New York area, is expecting his first child in March 2016 with his beautiful wife Kelsey, and is working as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Mae D'Agostino in the Northern District of New York.
He wrote this paper for Professor Bonventre's Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar.


New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman [retired Dec. 31, 2015] was a consistently liberal voting member on the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. This voting tendency is nowhere more evident than in cases involving employment questions and employees’ entitlement to certain benefits.
This paper will assess Chief Judge Lippman’s voting patterns and key points made in his opinions regarding employment decisions.  An analysis of the number of votes and opinions authored by Lippman, coupled with a textual examination of the scope and language employed within several opinions – including unanimous decisions, divided cases, and dissenting opinions – will demonstrate a strong pattern and identify the overriding values in Lippman’s employment jurisprudence.
Out of the forty-one cases analyzed, Chief Judge Lippman sided against the employee on only five occasions, each of which was a unanimous decision. He did not author any opinions, join the majority in any divided case, nor join any dissenting opinions that went against the employee.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New York’s Court of Appeals: Influential Decisions on American Jurisprudence

By Kaitlin Foley
Kaitlin Foley is a third-year student at Albany Law School. She graduated with honors from the University at Albany, SUNY in 2012 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. In between SUNY Albany and Albany Law, she attained a paralegal certificate.
Kaitlin is currently a member of the Albany Law Review. She serves as this year's Executive Editor for Research and Writing.
During her time at Albany Law, Kaitlin has been an associate on the Moot Court Board, interned with the Office of the New York State Attorney General, and held a field placement with Judge Randolph F. Treece, of the Northern District of New York. Upon graduation, Kaitlin hopes to pursue a career in the public sector. 
This paper was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar.

The New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, is composed of a Chief Judge and six Associate Judges. Each judge is appointed to a fourteen-year term, ending after that time or upon the judge reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

When a vacancy occurs, the Governor of New York makes an appointment. The individual chosen is selected from a list of candidates provided to the Governor by the Commission on Judicial Nomination. Each appointment is then subject to confirmation by the State Senate.

The Court of Appeals, has often been regarded as the second most influential court in the nation. This magnificent court has been responsible for establishing a variety of legal principles found in American jurisprudence.

This paper will chronologically discuss four cases, regarded as some of the most significant opinions to come out of the New York State Court of Appeals. Additionally, it will examine the effect these opinions have had on American Law.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Virginia Judiciary

History, Structure, Selection, and Composition
By James Mims
James Mims is a class of 2015 Albany Law School graduate. He previously attained his bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University in 2011, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Public Service. James concentrated his studies on the field of governmental administration and regulation while at Albany Law. 
James supplemented his law study with significant internship experiences in the governmental sector. During the summer of 2013, James interned with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Regional Counsel in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he assisted with litigation of tort and employment discrimination claims. During his second year, he completed a field placement with New York Department of State Office of General Counsel where he worked with local government counsel to provide technical assistance to local officials and the public in relation to land use matters. In the summer of 2014, he served as an executive intern in The Norfolk Emerging Leaders Program in Virginia. There he coordinated with community business leaders to research and formulate entrepreneurial growth initiatives.
James plans to pursue a legal career in the public sector through which he can make a positive impact in underserved communities. His paper, which analyzes the Virginia judicial system’s correlation with norms of American judicial process, was prepared for Prof. Bonventre’s Judicial Process Seminar.


This paper analyzes Virginia’s judicial system in four main parts. It begins by tracking the historical formation of the commonwealth’s court system from its beginnings in the Colonial Era. It considers the correlation between Virginia’s Colonial Era courts and prominent judicial philosophies in American jurisprudence.

Next, it explores the current structure and operation of Virginia’s judiciary. This section explores the Virginia judiciary’s current organization in relation to judicial process norms concerning access to justice. Following the discussion of structure, the paper analyzes the judicial selection process employed by Virginia law. It addresses the role that politics and merit play in the selection process.

Lastly, the paper examines a few of the recent prominent judges that have risen to the pentacle of the Virginia judicial system, the Virginia Supreme Court. This section focuses on the judges’ paths to their distinguished seats, their individual significance, and their judicial philosophies as demonstrated by majority or dissenting opinions in major cases during their tenure. In doing so, the paper determines whether the judges’ philosophies match any of the main types of judicial philosophies traditionally propounded in the American judicial system.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Judge Pigott on Medical Malpractice

His Positions in Divided Cases
By John J. Phelan
Jack Phelan, a 2014 graduate of Albany Law School, served as an executive editor of the Albany Law Review. His student note was selected for publication: "The Assault Weapons Ban--Politics, the Second Amendment, and the Country’s Continued Willingness to Sacrifice Innocent Lives for 'Freedom'” (77 Alb. L. Rev. 579).
While at Albany Law, Jack also participated in the Senior Prize Trials, his team finishing runner-up, and he served a judicial internship with the Honorable Edward O. Spain of the Appellate Division, Third Department.
As an undergraduate at Hartwick College, Jack was a standout football player making five different All-America teams in his final two seasons.  He is also a member of Hartwick College’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jack is currently an associate at Smith Sovik in Syracuse where he had participated in the 2013 Summer Associate program. He focuses on all areas of civil litigation including products liability, professional malpractice, premises liability, trucking and motor vehicle accidents, Labor Law and construction accidents, labor and employment, and the defense of Workers’ Compensation Claims.
He prepared this paper for Prof. Bonventre's Court of Appeals Intensive Seminar.

This paper analyzes Judge Eugene Pigott’s voting patterns in divided medical malpractice cases since he has been on the New York Court of Appeals.

Judge Pigott—long before he was appointed to the Court of Appeals in September of 2006—practiced law in Buffalo, New York with the firm Offermann, Fallon, Mahoney & Adner in two separate stints from 1974 to 1982 and 1986 to 1997. Judge Pigott told our Court of Appeals Seminar class, in a session with us during the semester, that he handled all kinds of personal injury cases for the plaintiff’s side during his time working at Offerman. This included medical malpractice actions.

Before I read a single Court of Appeals case, my initial thought was that Judge Pigott would be sympathetic to the plaintiff in close medical malpractice cases. As it turns out, I was right.

From the time Judge Pigott joined the Court of Appeals in 2006 until this study was prepared, he voted in nine divided cases involving medical malpractice. Not entirely surprisingly, Judge Pigott voted with the plaintiff in all but one of those cases.
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To read the paper, open HERE.