FINDLAW:Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals – 10/16/08


CIVIL PROCEDURE, ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE

Tydings v. Greenfield, Stein & Senior, LLP, No. 154
In a legal malpractice action by the former trustee of a grantor trust against the law firm that represented her in a proceeding to compel an accounting, reversal of dismissal on collateral estoppel grounds is affirmed where: 1) collateral estoppel does not prevent relitigation of a ruling that was an alternative basis for a trial-level decision, where an appellate court affirmed the decision without addressing that ruling; and 2) when a trustee resigns, the statute of limitations governing an action to compel her to account runs from the date the trusteeship is turned over to a successor trustee.

 
CIVIL PROCEDURE, GOVERNMENT LAW, PER CURIAM

In the Matter of City of Elmira v. Doe, No. 142
In a civil proceeding to vacate a sealing order, appellate court order is affirmed where some of the sealed records were not official records subject to a CPL 160.50 seal.

 
CONTRACTS, HEALTH LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

Goldman v. White Plains Ctr. for Nursing Care, LLC, No. 140
In a breach of contract action arising out of the termination of plaintiff’s employment, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where the expiration of a two-year employment contract did not give rise to successive one-year implied contracts when the employee continued working for the employer without a new agreement, but rather converted plaintiff into an at-will employee.

 

 

CORP. GOVERNANCE, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE, MANUFACTURING, SENTENCING, WHITE COLLAR CRIME

People v. Kozlowski, No. 137, 138
In the prosecution of two former Tyco International executives for crimes associated with corporate wrongdoing, defendants’ convictions and sentences are affirmed where: 1) the admission of an attorney’s testimony concerning certain facts related to a corporate internal investigation did not improperly convey to the jury an opinion regarding defendants’ guilt; 2) certain material sought by defendants via a subpoena duces tecum was protected by the qualified privilege covering trial preparation materials; and 3) even if there was an Apprendi violation in the imposition of fines upon defendants, any error was harmless.

 

 

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, PER CURIAM, SENTENCING

People v. Smith, No. 149
In a sex-offender registration proceeding following defendant’s guilty plea to a rape charge, order classifying defendant as a level two sex offender is reversed where the lower court did not adequately set forth the findings of fact and conclusions of law on which it based its decision to assess defendant 20 points under the risk factor pertaining to defendant’s relationship with the victim.