On Monday, February 8, 2016, the New York State Senate confirmed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s nomination of U.S. attorney Michael Garcia to the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. The confirmation comes just weeks after the Senate confirmed Janet DiFiore as the state’s newest chief judge. Notably, Judge Garcia is one of six judges on the court that Governor Cuomo has nominated; Judge Eugene Pigott is the sole nominee of a former governor. He will reach mandatory retirement age at the end of this year, providing the potential for Governor Cuomo to have nominated all seven sitting judges.
By all accounts, Judge Garcia is an exceptional choice for the court. The expanse of his legal experience will certainly provide the court a new and important perspective. Judge Garcia served with distinction as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, litigating the nation’s most significant investigations into securities fraud and insider trading prosecutions. Prior to his nomination to the bench, Judge Garcia worked as a litigation partner, handling complex commercial cases.
Judge Garcia’s experience in commercial litigation will no doubt help the judges address complex commercial issues from a practitioner’s perspective. As with Chief Judge DiFiore, Governor Cuomo did not elevate Judge Garcia from New York’s Appellate Division, the state’s intermediate court. Therefore, we have no decisions to gauge Judge Garcia’s approach to issues of civil law. Nevertheless, like Chief Judge Kaye and Judge Robert Smith, his lack of appellate judicial experience likely will not detract from his ability to be an important judge on the court.
The court addresses important issues that impact New Yorkers and beyond, especially given that New York City is one of the world’s biggest financial centers. Judge Garcia will have the opportunity to influence and rely on his vast experience to weigh in on issues involving insurance coverage, employment law, and business law, among other issues.
If you have questions about how this may impact your business, please contact: