It is a fundamental tenet of our system of jurisprudence that there must be an end to lawsuits. The law recognizes that “it is to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation.” Israel v. Wood Dolson Co., 1 N.Y.2d 116, 118 (1956). This principle pervades the judicial attitude toward motions for reargument, which were aptly described almost 70 years ago in Cohen & Karger, Powers of the New York Court of Appeals (rev. ed 1952), at page 694. “A motion for reargument is generally an act of desperation; it is a psychological device for raising hopes which are almost invariably doomed to defeat. The percentage of cases in which a motion for reargument has been granted in the Court of Appeals is very low—unquestionably less than one out of one hundred.”
Nothing has changed. The 2019 Annual Report of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals contains a table showing that during the period 2015-2019 of 131 motions for reargument of appeals, none was granted; of 317 motions for reargument of motions, only one was granted. (2019 Report, Appendix 7).
To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris attorney Thomas R. Newman, please visit the firm website.
Duane Morris’ Thomas Newman has been named by Best Lawyers as the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” in New York City for Appellate Practice. The recognition is given to only one attorney for each practice area and city. Lawyers are selected based on high marks received during peer-review assessments conducted by Best Lawyers each year. Mr. Newman also received this distinction in 2018 and 2013.
Mr. Newman practices in the areas of insurance and reinsurance law, including coverage, claims handling, contract drafting and arbitration and litigation. In addition to his insurance/reinsurance practice, Mr. Newman has wide experience in appellate practice and has handled hundreds of appeals in both state and federal courts in New York and elsewhere and has argued 80 appeals in the New York Court of Appeals.
He is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers; a life member of the American Law Institute; a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; a member of the London Court of International Arbitration; a member of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel; a member of ARIAS-U.S.; a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel; a Fellow of the New York State Bar Association Foundation; and a member of the New York State Office of Court Administration’s Advisory Committee on Civil Practice.
He is the original author of New York Appellate Practice, co-author of the Handbook on Insurance Coverage Disputes and the author of numerous articles on insurance/reinsurance and appellate practice.
This column discussed this subject almost 20 years ago (NYLJ April 7, 1999), but two recent decisions publicized on the front pages of the Law Journal suggest that it would be well to advise a new generation of lawyers that tactical victories in a jury trial may be followed by a loss of the appellate war. As a reminder, King Pyrrhus of Epirus, in Greece, triumphed over the Romans at Asculum, in southeastern Italy, in 279 B.C.E., but his losses were so heavy that he is reported to have said: “Another such victory over the Romans, and we are undone.” Bartlett’s, “Familiar Quotations,” p. 92, quoting Plutarch, “Lives,” Pyrrhus.
In litigation, the aim of an injured plaintiff is to obtain monetary or some other form of relief; for the defendant, vindication and dismissal of the action. It cannot be counted a victory if a favorable verdict is set aside by the trial or appellate court after a lengthy trial and the case must be retried at considerable expense, loss of time and renewed mental and emotional strain on the injured party or his or her survivors—all because of counsel’s avoidable error.
To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris attorney Thomas R. Newman, please visit the Duane Morris LLP website.
Duane Morris of counsel Thomas R. Newman co-authored an article that was recently published in the New York Law Journal. “Urging a Change in the Law: When to Set Aside Precedent?” explores the common law doctrine of stare decisis, which provides that once a court has decided a legal issue, subsequent cases presenting similar facts should be decided in conformity with the earlier decision. But the doctrine is not an inflexible rule. Judicial decisions simply determine the rights of the parties to an action that is before the court at a particular time in history. They are not, and are not meant to be, immutable laws governing the conduct of mankind and designed for the ages, such as the Ten Commandments. Rather, opinions “must be read in the setting of the particular cases and as the product of preoccupation with their special facts.” The “precedential value of a judicial opinion is limited to the question presented by the facts of the case before the court.”
To read the article in its entirety, please visit: http://www.duanemorris.com/articles/urging_a_change_in_the_law_when_to_set_aside_precedent_5578.html.
Duane Morris congratulates Thomas R. Newman on being named the New York City “2013 Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers. Those honored as the “Lawyer of the Year” in their specialty have received impressive voting averages amongst their peers, and are a select group, with only a single lawyer in each practice area and metropolitan area being recognized as such. Mr. Newman has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for both Appellate Practice and Insurance Law since 2007, and is listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in Insurance: Dispute Resolution, both in New York and Nationwide.