New York’s Court Crisis

By Diana Filkins, Albany Government Law Review Class of 2011

Even though Governor Andrew Cuomo was able to triumphantly announce the rare, on-time passage of New York’s 2011-2012 state budget, not all parties were happy.  The New York State Unified Court System, for example, took a cut of $170 million dollars.[1]  Immediately after   the budget passed, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals Jonathan Lippman portended that the budget cuts would lead to hundreds of layoffs.[2]  As of April 20, 2011, the beginnings of this prediction came true as 74 employees of the Office of Court Administration were given notice that they would be laid off.[3]  This included two attorneys and is the “court system’s first layoffs since 1991.”  Up to 500 more are expected to lose their jobs.[4]  Further, the system is already running with less employees than usual, due to an early retirement incentive which led to the retirement of 1,700 court personnel.[5]  While the court intended to fill many of these positions, the budget cuts may not allow this to happen.[6]  In an already overburdened court system, how will the budget cuts and layoffs affect the administration of justice? Continue reading “New York’s Court Crisis”

Medical Malpractice Cases: The Pros & Cons of a Cap on Non-Economic Damages

By Alicia M. Dodge, Albany Government Law Review Class of 2011

Introduction:                        

Is a $250,000.00 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases necessary?  The answer to this question will vary widely, depending whom you ask.  The New York State Bar Association and patient-rights advocacy groups strongly oppose this cap, while hospitals and physicians generally support it.[1]  The purpose of an economic damages award, such as loss of earnings, is to make an injured person “whole” again, and can generally be calculated with a fair amount of certainty.  On the other hand, an award of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium, “cannot be precisely measured in money,” and as such are often viewed as arbitrary rewards.[2]   Continue reading “Medical Malpractice Cases: The Pros & Cons of a Cap on Non-Economic Damages”