FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals – 11/27/07

CIVIL PROCEDURE, CIVIL RIGHTS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE

Haywood v. Drown, No. 146Correction Law section 24, depriving New York courts of jurisdiction under state or federal law to entertain civil actions seeking money damages against correction officers, does not violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

CIVIL PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE, HEALTH LAW

Arons v. Jutkowitz, No. 147, 148, 153An attorney may interview an adverse party’s treating physician privately when the adverse party has affirmatively placed his or her medical condition in controversy, although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 through its Privacy Rule imposes procedural prerequisites unique to the informal discovery of health care professionals.

CONTRACTS, DISPUTE RESOLUTION & ARBITRATION, INJURY AND TORT LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

Schreiber v. K-Sea Transp. Corp., No. 135In case where seaman’s agreement to arbitrate his Jones Act claim against his employer, made after the seaman was injured, such post-injury arbitration agreements are not prohibited, but a hearing should be held to decide whether the agreement is enforceable. The burden of proof at the hearing is on the party trying to invalidate the arbitration agreement.

CONTRACTS, HEALTH LAW, INSURANCE LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

White v. Continental Cas. Co., No. 152The definition of “total disability” in a disability income policy is not ambiguous and plaintiff failed to establish his entitlement to benefits under the policy as a matter of law.

LANDLORD TENANT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE

333 East 49th Assocs., LP v. New York State Div. of Housing & Cmty. Renewal, No. 183 SSM 30Respondent’s determination that petitioners failed to maintain adequate janitorial services warranting a rent reduction is affirmed as the determination is rationally based on the inspector’s observations of debris in the compactor rooms, which confirmed the tenants’ sworn complaint of filthy compactor rooms that were not maintained. 

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