Introduction to New York State Appeals

A Death in the Hospital /Articles /Introduction to New York State Appeals

Appeal was taken in September 2000, against Justice Sherri Klein-Heitler’s 28 page Decision and Order in which she denied our motion to vacate the General Release we had signed to “settle” our case against Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.  Justice Klein-Heitler’s Decision and our initial appeal will be posted on future updates of the website.

All the issues presented to the New York State Court, Appellate Division, First Department in the year 2000  amounted to three discrete questions. These are:

  1.  Whether the July 8, 1999 Stipulation of Settlement should be vacated upon the ground that it was procured by duress and coercion?
  2. Whether the stipulation of settlement constitutes an unlawful contract for silence?
  3. Whether the defenses of Moore’s actions in procuring the settlement are meritorious?

The Appellate Division Order dated December 21, 2000, stated as follows:

“There is no basis shown to set aside the stipulation of settlement entered into in open court after full allocution by the court (see, Hallock v State of New York, 64 NY2d 224, 230, Washo v Washo, 170 AD2d 827, 829).”

The Appellate Court was silent on the other two questions. By its silence, the Appellate Court gave tacit consent to Justice Heitler’s rejection of our assertion that we had been defrauded and coerced into “settling” and that the General Release contained an unlawful “Contract for Silence.”

We then instituted two lawsuits to request the Court officially respond to the above Questions 2 and 3. Details of the first lawsuit can be found in the link titled, “In Defense of the First Amendment.” Details of the second can be found at “Legal Malpractice Lawsuit.”

In her Decision of March 8, 2002, Justice Eileen Bransten of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed our lawsuit to vacate that portion of the General Release that required our silence regarding acts committed against Seth by Columbia Presbyterian Hospital that reached the level of criminally negligent homicide.

We submitted an appeal to the New York State Court, Appellate Division, First Department regarding Judge Bransten’s Decision. Details of this appeal can be found at the link to Appeal – “Contracts for Silence”. Ultimately, the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest New York State Court, refused to hear our appeal, thereby taking the position that silence for medical malpractice, even when it reached the level of a crime, is permissible.

As to our Legal Malpractice Lawsuit to sue Thomas R. Moore, Esq., Justice Walter Tolub’s decision was that this too had been decided against us by Justice Klein-Heitler.

We have also submitted an appeal over this issue.