Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, December 25, 2009

In New York, Lower Courts Are Required To Follow Appellate Decisions From Other Departments

A procedural question I have come across is whether a New York lower court is required to follow an Appellate Division decision when the decision is from a different Department from the lower court. The answer, as explained in Lambner v. Pryer Cashman, ____Misc. 3d____(Kings Co. 2009), is a clear yes. As the court explains:

The distinction which defendant implicitly seeks to draw between sexual harassment and religious persecution is without merit. To limit Williams to its facts, namely sexual harassment, is without support in law or logic. Although a First Department case, Williams is nevertheless binding on this court, at least until the Second Department issues a contrary ruling (see Mountain View Coach Lines v. Storms, 102 AD2d 663, 664). The Second Department cases cited by defendants, Barnum v. New York City Transit Auth. (62 AD3d 736) and Beharry v. Guzman (33 AD3d 742), are unavailing, since they were decided under the New York State Executive Law, not the City's human rights law.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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