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New York Statute of Limitations – Wrongful Death

In this post, I’m going to go over what the statute of limitations is for a wrongful death lawsuit under New York law. As a refresher, a “statute of limitations” is the time period within a lawsuit has to be commenced. If you miss this time period — even by a day — and file your lawsuit late, you could have the most perfect lawsuit (e.g. the best evidence, multiple independent witnesses, an admission by the defendant, etc) and you could still lose just because you filed your suit too late. There are certain situations in which a statute of limitations is paused (aka “tolled” in lawyer-speak if you want to google it), but those are the exception rather than the rule. Tolling is also beyond the scope of this particular post, although I may address it in a future post. The relevant NY statute on the topic of the statute of limitations in a wrongful death civil lawsuit is New York Estates Powers & Trusts Law section 5-4.1(1)), which states: “The personal representative, duly appointed in this state or any other jurisdiction, of a decedent who is survived by distributees may maintain an action to recover damages for a wrongful act, neglect or default which caused the decedent’s death against a person who would have been liable to the decedent by reason of such wrongful conduct if death had not ensued. Such an action must be commenced within two years after the decedent’s death; provided, however, that an action on behalf of a decedent whose death was caused by the terrorist attacks on September eleventh, two thousand one,...

New York Commercial Bribery (NY Penal Law sections 180.00 and 180.03)

Background of this post: I’m a podcast junkie. I listen to them all the time (e.g. iPod, car, in the office, etc). Lately, a lot of them are from Wondery. One of their podcasts is called American Scandal and goes over scandals of various kinds (e.g. Iran Contra, Boston College athletics gambling, etc) that have occurred through the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the scandals they went over was Payola. In essence, it was the practice in the early to mid-20th centuries where radio DJs were paid money to promote or play one record company’s songs over another with the goal of making certain songs more or less popular than others. These payments were, of course, not disclosed to the public who generally thought that the songs being played were just part of the day’s normal broadcast. Part of the American Scandal podcast went over how New York played a role in ending payola because of its statutes criminalizing commercial bribery. Those statutes are the topic of this post. More accurately, I’m going to go over what the current commercial bribery statutes in New York are. Statutes change all the time. The current statutes may or may not have been what was in effect back when Payola was occurring. Under current New York law, there is both second-degree and first-degree commercial bribery under sections 180.00 and 180.03, respectively, of New York’s Penal Law. What’s the difference between the two degrees? Well, I’m glad you asked. The answer is the magnitude of the benefit and damage involved. Under section 180.00, second-degree commercial bribery is defined as:   “A person...

Can You Record the Police in New York?

I released a post a few months ago that went over the question of whether, under California law, a bystander can make a recording of the police. For example, when the police are making an arrest, a detention, etc. I’m sure all of us have seen videos like this that have been shot on a smartphone. In today’s post, I’m going to address that same question, except for New York. In other words, is it permissible under New York law to make a video or audio recording of the police while they are, for example, making an arrest, detaining someone, etc. As I described in my prior post, the governing law for California was signed into law in 2015 by then-Governor Jerry Brown and took effect January 1, 2016. The governing law in New York is a bit newer. It was signed into law in in June 2020 by Governor Andrew Cuomo and adds a new section (section 79-p) to New York’s Civil Rights Law. Section 79-p itself has a subsection 2 which states the following: “2. Right to record law enforcement related activities. A person not under arrest or in the custody of a law enforcement official has the right to record law enforcement activity and to maintain custody and control of that recording and of any property or instruments used by that person to record law enforcement activities, provided, however, that a person in custody or under arrest does not, by that status alone, forfeit the right to have any such recordings, property and equipment maintained and returned to him or her. Nothing in this subdivision shall...

New York Minimum Wage – (NY Labor Law section 652)

In a prior post, I went over the California statutes that specify the amount of the California state minimum wage. When discussing the minimum wage, remember that it is important to be specific as to which one you’re referring to because the federal government has one as do many of the states. To make things more confusing, depending on the state you’re talking about, many cities also have their own higher minimum wages. In this post, I’m going to go over the statute — section 652 of the New York’s Labor Law — describing the state minimum wage in New York. As it is in California, New York’s minimum wage statute is too long to simply past here verbatim so I’m going to have to paraphrase. Like in California, New York varies it’s minimum wage by both time and the number of employees a particular employer has. New York, however, also varies it’s state minimum wage by county and region. For example, in New York City, Labor Law section 652(1)(a) says the minimum wage for employers with eleven or more employees is: “$11.00 per hour on and after December 31, 2016,   $13.00 per hour on and after December 31, 2017,   $15.00 per hour on and after December 31, 2018, or, if greater, such other wage as may be established by federal law pursuant to 29 U.S.C. section 206 or its successors or such other wage as may be established in accordance with the provisions of this article.” For New York City employers with fewer than eleven employees, the minimum wage is:  “$10.50 per hour on and after December...

New York Civil Battery

A while back, I wrote a post about what civil battery under California law. This post is going to be the comparable post for New York law. Law school in the US is somewhat generic in that you learn what a given offense (e.g. civil battery) is in the abstract, even though the actual criteria for the offense in the real world will dependent on the state. When I learned about civil battery, for example, I learned it as “a harmful or offense touching either done with subjective desire or knowledge to a substantial certainty”. If you’re thinking that that rolls off the tongue, you’re correct. When you actually want to sue someone for civil battery in the real world, however, you need more specific criteria than that. In California — as I described in my previous post linked above — the criteria for civil battery can be found in the So v. Shin case (cite: So v. Shin (2013) 212 Cal.Appl.4th 652, 669) as: defendant touched plaintiff, or caused plaintiff to be touched with the intent to harm or offend plaintiff, plaintiff did not consent to the touching, plaintiff was harmed or offended by defendant’s conduct, and a reasonable person in plaintiff’s position would have been offended by the touching. Under New York law, the comparable criteria for civil battery are: defendant intentionally made bodily contact against the plaintiff, that this contact was harmful or offensive to the plaintiff, that plaintiff did not consent to the contact, and These criteria are recited in a number of New York state cases including (1) Wende C. v. United Methodist Church...
The Library Records Privilege in New York (CPLR section 4509)

The Library Records Privilege in New York (CPLR section 4509)

In this post, I’m going to continue my tour of the various evidence privileges under New York law. In prior posts, I’ve gone over privileges such as the Clergy Privilege. In this post, I’m going to go over a less well-known privilege, and that’s the Library Records Privilege under section 4509 of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR). In short, this privilege forbids the disclosure of any information tending to show what a person reads at a library, how they use the library, etc. In case you’re wondering, California does have a similar privilege although it isn’t under the California Evidence like other evidence privileges, but rather it’s under the Government Code. For example, see Section 6267 of the California Government Code. New York CPLR section 4509 provides as follows: Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute. I’ve bolded and underlined several portions that are exceptions to the general rule that library records cannot be disclosed to anyone. First,...