Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts (Fifth Edition)

The top shelf treatise, Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts, recently published its Fifth Edition.  This 10 volume work, including contributions by over 250 authors, addresses hundreds of topics, thousands of issues, and cites to over 30,000 cases.  It is a sine qua non for any New York commercial litigator’s library, and an excellent resource for those outside New York confronted with cases where New York law controls, or finding themselves admitted pro hac vice in a New York state court.

As this Blog’s readers are well aware, nearly 30 years ago New York implemented one of the country’s first modern business courts, the Commercial Division.  Commercial cases meeting the requisite minimum amount in controversy requirements will be litigated in the Commercial Division.  While we may think of Manhattan as New York’s commercial center, Commercial Division Courts exist in three other New York City boroughs, and a number of counties throughout the state. Thus, understanding Commercial Division practice is important to those litigating from New York City to Syracuse to Albany to Long Island, and beyond.

For the first time, Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts includes a chapter on Business Courts.  This is a natural fit for any standard work on New York’s commercial litigation practice, especially considering that Editor-in-Chief Robert L. Haig is one of the principal architects of the modern development of business courts in the United States.

Found in Volume 3, Chapter 14, the Business Courts chapter covers 77 pages, addressing all aspects of business courts.  Litigators will be particularly interested in sections dealing with jurisdiction, case management, discovery, motion practice, pre-trial requirements, motions in limine, courtroom technology, and trial practice.  The chapter also includes checklists for initial case management, discovery, and pre-trial procedures.

Chapter 14 gives practitioners context if their clients are in a position to choose litigation in the Commercial Division, federal court, or commercial arbitration.  The author, Susan L. Saltzstein, describes the characteristics and qualities of Commercial Division Judges, and how litigation before these business court judges compares to litigation before federal judges or a panel of arbitrators.  For some, understanding the role and nature of the judge managing a case may be more important than practice and procedure, and kudos to this author for explaining business court judges to readers who may be unfamiliar with these specialized jurists.

The Business Courts chapter also addresses traditional ADR in connection with commercial litigation, as well as accelerated adjudication in the Commercial Division, including the “rocket-docket” in New York’s Commercial Division.

And for those, like me, rapt by the history and development of business courts, Chapter 14 makes a genuine contribution to the literature on business courts.  It not only goes through the Commercial Division’s history, but provides a detailed comparative analysis with numerous other specialized business and complex litigation courts in the United States.

Further, for business court practitioners, scholars, or students, Volume 3 does not begin and end with the Business Courts chapter.  The authors compare commercial litigation in New York State Courts with federal courts (Chapter 11), Delaware’s courts (Chapter 12), and foreign tribunals (Chapter 13).

Finally, taking the broadest view for anyone interested in how to litigate commercial cases in New York, Volume 3 includes 11 more chapters of interest to commercial litigators, in addition to the bounty found in this treatise’s nine additional volumes.

New York lawyers are surely fortunate to have this resource in their litigation arsenal.

 Lee Applebaum  (Business court historian and author, and the manager-author of The Business Courts Blog’s contents.)

The opinions expressed above are my own, and not those of any other person or organization.