The Appellate Division’s statewide Practice Rules contain an important requirement that generally applies to parties and counsel appearing before all Departments of the Appellate Division: “[t]he parties or their attorneys shall immediately notify the court when there is a settlement of a matter or any issue therein.” 22 NYCRR 1250.2(c). If parties and their counsel fail to comply with this immediate notification requirement, they may be subject to the “imposition of sanctions.” Id.
In Bank of New York Mellon v. Smith, the Second Department issued a decision sanctioning a party and its trial and appellate counsel for “flagrant violations” of this Practice Rule. Specifically, after the parties and counsel had failed to take any steps over a six-month period to inform the Second Department of a settlement that resolved pending appeals, the court imposed monetary sanctions on the respondent and its counsel due to their “excessive delays.”
In its decision, the Second Department emphasized that the primary purpose of this Practice Rule is to “protect the Appellate Courts from spending time analyzing matters that have been rendered academic.” In other words, this Practice Rule exists so that the state’s appellate courts need not devote resources to matters that have been resolved, but rather, actual controversies.
This article first appeared in the New York Law Journal on October 29,, 2019. Christopher DeNicola, an associate at the firm, assisted with the preparation of this article.