New York Official Reports
In the Courts
Several New York court decisions have discussed the importance of citing to the Official Reports. As the courts point out, members of the bar who fail to cite to the Official Reports do so at their own peril:
Disenhouse Assoc. v Mazzaferro (135 Misc 2d 1135, 1137 n [Civ Ct, NY County 1987])
"The court notes that contrary to CPLR 5529 (e) petitioner has cited several cases to the unofficial reports only. Since, as should be made known to the Bar, only the Official Reports are available in the chambers of the Judges of the courts, the practice should not be followed if counsel seeks to ease the court's task in reading briefs."
Matter of Bernstein (34 AD2d 965, 965 [2d Dept 1970])
"We are once again constrained to admonish counsel that they must give citations to official reports in their briefs, unless the official reports do not contain the cases cited."
La Manna Concrete v Friedman (34 AD2d 576, 576 [2d Dept 1970])
"We are further constrained to call attention to the proper practice before this court in giving citations to legal authorities. The citation must be to the official reports unless the case is not listed therein."
People v Matera (52 Misc 2d 674, 687 [Sup Ct, Queens County 1967])
"[W]e are required, in the rendition of our opinions, to cite New York decisions from the official reports, if any, as the counsel themselves are bound to do in their briefs on appeal (CPLR 5529, subd. [e]). The conversion of citations to unofficial reports should not have to be undertaken by the court, as it was in this case."
Several New York court decisions have discussed the Law Reporting Bureau, its history and its operations. Many of these decisions also provide valuable guidance as to the interpretation to be given to the statutes and regulations that govern the Law Reporting Bureau. Follow the links below to view the full text of these relevant decisions:
- Little v Banks (85 NY 258 ) State Reporter's contract with publisher of Official Reports may include a clause providing for liquidated damages for any party injured by the publisher's refusal to sell and deliver the Official Reports.
- People v Carr (5 Silvernail 302 [Sup Ct, Gen Term, 3d Dept 1884]) Writ of certiorari brought by the People against the State Reporter and other members of the contracting board to review their action in making a contract for publication of the Official Reports is quashed, as there was no evidence of a failure of duty on the part of the defendants in making the contract, and such duty was ministerial, not judicial, and thus cannot be reviewed by this writ.
- Little v Banks (77 Hun 511 ) Defendant, a former publisher of the Official Reports, was not obligated to sell and deliver certain Official Reports requested by plaintiff booksellers more than nine years after defendant's publication contract with the State Reporter had expired.
- Murray v Brancato (290 NY 52 ) A Judge's absolute immunity from liability for all acts done in the exercise of his judicial function does not extend to the act of publishing opinions in publications other than the Official Reports. Defendant Judge's publication of opinions containing allegedly defamatory statements in the New York Law Journal and in New York Supplement, 2d Series, would be privileged only if made in good faith and with proper motives.
- Matter of Lawyers Coop. Publ. Co. v Flavin (69 Misc 2d 493 [Sup Ct, Albany County 1971]) The State Reporter may, with the approval of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, annul a contract for publication of the Official Reports when the public interest so requires. The State Reporter's decision to annul a contract is final and not subject to judicial review.
- Matter of Williams Press v Flavin (35 NY 499 ) Upon the awarding of the contract for the publication of the Official Reports to another contractor, the then publisher-contractor is not entitled to commissions or discounts on renewals of subscriptions placed directly with it during its tenure as publisher. The list of subscribers is the property of the State, and plaintiff publisher's claim to a property interest in the list is without legal foundation.
- Matter of Lenz & Riecker v Fitzpatrick (129 Misc 2d 1068 [Sup Ct, Albany County 1986]) The State Reporter acted properly in accepting the bid of respondent publisher for the contract for the publication and printing of the Official Reports even though it contained two points of "clarification/exception" purporting to grant the publisher a license to use copyrighted material in its other publications since the State Reporter has no power to confer such a benefit by contract or otherwise. The State Reporter reasonably viewed the inclusion of such a "clarification/exception" as a minor variation from the terms of the bid that did not impair the interests of all other proposed bidders. Such decision, which was approved by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, is not subject to further judicial review.