Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Court of Appeals States That the Appellate Division Does Not Need to Expressly Compare Damages Awards When Reviewing For Excessiveness or Inadequacy Under CPLR 5501(c)

For some time it has been argued that CPLR 5501(c), which mandates that the Appellate Division review awards for damages to determine if they deviate materially from reasonable compensation, requires the Appellate Division to provide a meaningful comparison of cases that involve awards for similar injuries in order to determine if the awards at present are excessive or inadequate.

In Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation, the Court of Appeals stated that there is no such requirement. More specifically, the Court stated that "we reject TLC's contention that the Appellate Division applied the wrong legal standard in assessing whether Supreme Court's reduced damages award deviated materially from reasonable compensation. Neither CPLR 5501 (c) nor CPLR 5522 requires the Appellate Division to expressly compare the damages award in the judgment appealed from with damages awards in other cases in its written decision." Therefore, according to the Court of Appeals, it would be enough for the Appellate Division to simply state that it has considered the arguments regarding excessiveness or inadequacy and finds that the awards for damages do not deviate materially from reasonable compensation without providing either a rationale or comparable cases to support its decision.

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