FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals – 03/25/08

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, CONSTRUCTION, GOVERNMENT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE

In the Matter of 9th & 10th Street L.L.C. v. Bd of Standards & Appeals of the City of New York, No. 40A decision reversing the New York City Department of Buildings’ denial of a building permit to construct a dormitory is reversed as: 1) the Department’s denial was not arbitrary and capricious; and 2) where there is reason to doubt that a proposed structure can be used for a lawful purpose, municipal authorities are not required to let the property owner build the building and see what happens.

COMMERCIAL LAW, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, CORPORATION & ENTERPRISE LAW, MEDIA LAW, TAX LAW

In the Matter of Disney Enters., Inc. v. Tax Appeals Tribunal of the State of New York, No. 37In an action challenging the validity, under federal law, of New York’s franchise tax apportionment formula, a finding that Disney’s business activities within New York via its corporate subsidiary constituted taxable activities is affirmed over Disney’s claims that: 1) its subsidiaries were not subject to taxation under Tax Law article 9 because their New York activities did not amount to more than mere “solicitation” of orders for sales of tangible property; and 2) New York’s tax apportionment formula was unconstitutional.

COMMUNICATIONS LAW, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, INJURY AND TORT LAW, REMEDIES

Mann v. Abel, No. 24 In an action for libel arising out of an article published in an independent newspaper, jury finding that statements in the articles were defamatory and award of compensatory and punitive damages are reversed and complaint dismissed in its entirety where: 1) viewed within the context of the article as a whole, a reasonable reader would conclude that the allegedly defamatory statements at issue were opinion; and 2) thus, the statement constituted non-actionable statements as a matter of law.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE

People v. Hall, No. 29Police may conduct a visual body inspection of an arrestee if they have a factual basis supporting a reasonable suspicion that the arrestee has evidence concealed inside a body cavity and the search is conducted in a reasonable manner. If the visual inspection reveals the presence of a suspicious object, the police must obtain a warrant authorizing the object’s removal unless there are exigent circumstances.

 

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, SENTENCING

People v. Windham, No. 42In an appeal arising from a sex offender risk level reassessment hearing, a decision adjudicating defendant a level three sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) is affirmed where defendant failed to preserve a claim that he was not subject to SORA because, although he was released on parole after SORA’s effective date (January 21, 1996), he finished serving the sex-offense portion of his concurrent sentence no later than August 2, 1994. 

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