2012 Annual Report of the State Reporter
1. Introduction. The New York State Law Reporting Bureau (LRB), established under article 14 of the Judiciary Law, edits and publishes all of the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division, as well as selected decisions of the lower courts. These decisions are published in the New York Official Reports, which include the New York Reports, the Appellate Division Reports and the Miscellaneous Reports. Motion decisions of the Appellate Division and Appellate Term and additional lower court opinions are published only online. The LRB operates under the direction of a State Reporter appointed by the Court of Appeals, with a designated Judge of the Court - currently Judge Eugene F. Pigott, Jr. - serving as the Court's liaison to the LRB. This is a report of the LRB's activities in 2012.
2. Style Manual published. The 2012 Edition of the Official Reports Style Manual was published in September. It supersedes the 2007 Edition and 2009 Supplement. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman provided a foreword. The 2012 Edition leaves largely intact the content of the 2007 Edition and 2009 Supplement. Sample citations were updated and expanded and residual style inconsistencies were resolved. Other revisions reflected a continuing commitment to conform to modern style practices and reduce unnecessary variations from standard sources. Some 4,206 copies of the new Manual were distributed to courts and other users in 2012; an additional 3,276 copies were downloaded from the LRB website.
3. Publishing Activity. The LRB published in print and electronically 55,363 opinions, memoranda, abstracts and appellate motions in 2012 - an increase of 1.1% from 2011 - all of which are publicly accessible on the LRB's website.
A. Print publications. During 2012, the LRB prepared for publication two volumes of the New York Reports, 3d Series; 11 volumes of the Appellate Division Reports, 3d Series; and four volumes of the Miscellaneous Reports, 3d Series, for a total of 17 bound volumes, as planned. Two soft-cover interim volumes of the New York Reports, 3d Series, also were published.
In addition, 52 weekly advance sheets and six bi-monthly Cumulative Tables and Index pamphlets were issued. These advance sheets contained 12,867 full opinions, memorandum decisions, and abstracts of opinions not published in print; 20,999 pages of opinions, memoranda and abstracts; and 13,105 headnotes, allocated as follows:
| # Opinions/
| # Opinions/
|| 135 Opinion
| 1,499 Opinion
| 250 Opinion
|| 331 Opinions
| 2,581 Opinion
| 649 Opinion
| Misc 3d
|| 404 Opinions
| 3,328 Opinion
| 804 Opinion
Compared to the prior year, the number of opinions, memoranda and abstracts increased 1.3%; pages decreased less than 1%; and the number of headnotes decreased 7.1%.
B. Electronic publication. All decisions published in print also are published electronically. In addition, the LRB publishes the following decisions only electronically:
- Appellate term and trial court opinions not published in the printed Miscellaneous Reports. A total of 5,971 Appellate Term and trial court opinions were published only in electronic format in 2012, a decrease of 7.9%
from the prior year.
- Motion decisions of the Appellate Division and Appellate Term. A total of 36,929 motion decisions were published electronically in 2012, an increase of 3.8% from the prior year.
4. Selection of lower court opinions. During 2012, a total of 6,687 Appellate Term and trial court opinions were submitted for publication consideration, a decrease of 10.3% compared to 2011. This number includes 415 opinions published on websites, in legal newspapers or otherwise brought to our attention and solicited from the authoring judges, or solicited for online publication to provide "opinion below" information for published Appellate Division decisions.
Of the opinions submitted, the LRB accepted 417 for publication in the Miscellaneous Reports and 5,971 for online publication, for a total of 6,388 acceptances, a decrease of approximately 8.4% compared to 2011. The overall acceptance rate is 95%, an increase of 1% from the prior year.
5. Website usage. Usage of the LRB website grew again in 2012. A total of 612,381 separate visitors accessed the site, making 2,984,112 visits and 78,317,916 requests for information. Compared to the prior year, visitors decreased by 16.8%; visits increased by 28.5%; and requests increased by 9.1%.
6. Style Manual distribution. A total of 4,566 copies of the printed Official Reports Style Manual were distributed to judges, court staff and others in 2012. An additional 16,595 copies were downloaded from the LRB website.
7. Product development. The LRB continued to enhance its online services and website in 2012.
- The presence, accessibility and functionality of the Official Reports was enhanced in West's new online legal research platform, WestlawNext (WLN). Search results now hyperlink Official Reports citations; WLN's main
search page has been reengineered to assure that Official Reports results display in "overall" category searches; and the Official Reports Digest for the First, Second and Third Series has been added to the WLN database
- Downloadable .pdf and hypertext-linked HTML versions of the 2012 Official Reports Style Manual were added to the LRB's website.
- The Legal Research Portal on the LRB's website was updated and is now routinely monitored for broken links and new web page locations.
8. Personnel. The LRB staff numbered 27 at the close of 2012, an increase of two employees from 2011. The following personnel joined the LRB in 2012:
- Katherine Breitenbach, Legal Editor, in August.
- Gordon Eddy, Legal Editor, in September.
9. Facilities. The LRB completed its first full year of occupancy at Centennial Hall in April 2012.
- In March, OCA's Judicial Benefits and Employee Relations offices took occupancy of remaining available space at Centennial Hall in connection with OCA's ongoing cost cutting efforts.
- Procedures for responding to emergency situations in Centennial Hall were finalized in May. Evacuation and emergency procedures were distributed to staff and posted on the bulletin board; Floor Wardens were provided with a list of their duties in the event of an emergency; and an AED was installed on the first floor and a schedule established for monthly maintenance checks.
10. Equipment. The LRB acquired no new equipment in 2012, and surveyed existing equipment to identify items suitable to retain for backup purposes and unnecessary items that could be surplussed for use by other UCS agencies.
- The LRB transferred surplus printers to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department in June.
11. Editorial and office technology. The LRB continued to employ computer solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of office and editorial functions. Projects completed or introduced in 2012 include:
- The LRB completed the conversion of all personal computers to the Windows 7 operating system.
- A citation preverification program developed by LRB programmers to enable automated verification of short form citations was deployed.
- A formal procedure was implemented to monitor the daily functionality of the LRB's website. Manual and automated checks are performed to assure users' access to citation services and tools and to verify the currentness of the website's content and hypertext linked research sources.
- Wesley Chest completed development of a program that enables a user to print a web page on the user's screen with one click. The program streamlines the process for verifying that all decisions posted on a court's website have been received by the LRB.
- The LRB technology team completed the migration of SQL server 2005 to new hardware, completed Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) server upgrades from version 11 to version 12, and created a FileMaker equipment and software inventory database.
- Mike Moran developed a macro to automate the six-month and year-end Substantive Arcanum compilation process. The macro automates page numbering and table composition, saving significant staff time.
- The LRB technology team completed three projects that enhance security and disaster preparedness and reduce LRB technology expenditures.
i. A server replication solution, ViceVersa Pro Server, was implemented which provides additional backup capabilities for the LRB's production files. The solution synchronizes files between two servers in real time, minimizing the time required for file recovery in the event of a crash. This solution complements the LRB's off-site tape backup arrangement.
ii. With the cooperation with OCA/RTP, weekly reporting of LRB Internet usage was changed from paid subscription-based software to OCA-generated reports that are compiled by the LRB Tech Team for efficient management review
to assure compliance with OCA and LRB usage policies.
iii. Essential file folders and images were migrated to the LRB's new Scout server, eliminating the need to maintain and service two older servers.
12. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) presentations. The LRB presented and attended the following CLE programs in 2012.
- Bill Hooks and Mike Manning presented the LRB's Annual Survey of Attorney Disciplinary Proceedings continuing legal education program at the LRB and the Court of Appeals in February. The survey, the sixth in an ongoing series, is drawn from officially reported disciplinary decisions.
- The LRB presented the annual CLE program on "Preparation of Opinions for Publication in the Official Reports" to new Judges' Clerks and Central Staff members at Court of Appeals Hall in October. Faculty members were Bill Hooks, Mike Moran, Kelli Flansburg and Maureen Clements.
- Members of the LRB's staff attended various CLE programs, including: "Real Estate Seminar: Closing Basics and Beyond," "Construction Site Accidents: The Current State of the Labor Law in New York," "The Need for Accountability: Other Crimes Evidence and Brady In Absentia," "Recent Developments in Criminal Practice," and "The Seven Dangerous Ethical Challenges."
13. Professional and Volunteer activities. LRB staff members participated in various professional activities, community events and charitable causes.
- Eric Harrell attended OCA LAN group working committee meetings in February, March, May and June.
- Eric Harrell attended a presentation in February concerning Tech Share, a website designed for OCA LAN Administrators as a central repository and collaboration tool.
- Eric Harrell and Wesley Chest attended the Cyber Security Conference in June at Empire State Plaza.
- Eric Harrell attended OCA-sponsored Foxit training in June.
- The LRB's technology team collaborated throughout 2012 with Court of Appeals staff on the development of Court-PASS, which, among other things, will provide public access to records and briefs filed with the Court of
- Bill Hooks attended the annual meeting of the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions in Chicago, Illinois in August. He was appointed vice-president and member of the Executive Board of the Association for a
one-year term commencing August 1, 2012.
- Bill Hooks attended the Hugh R. Jones Memorial Lecture at Albany Law School in October.
- In October, Bill Hooks and Kelli Flansburg presented "Appellate Decisions and the New York Reports" to an Appellate Advocacy class at Albany Law School.
- Bill Hooks attended a meeting of the Executive Board of the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions in November at the Supreme Court of the United States.
- The LRB collaborated with the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York to begin publishing a series of recollections of retired Court of Appeals Judges. The LRB will supply biographical information for
public figures and citations of decisions mentioned in the transcripts of the Judges' interviews. The LRB will also proofread and format the transcripts, which will be published on the Historical Society's website
- Kelli Flansburg, Nancy LaPorta, Milagros Figueroa, Amanda FiggsGanter and Steve Carroll earned certifications in CPR, First Aid and Automated External Defibrillation (AED) in May through a training program sponsored by
the Court of Appeals.
- Milagros Figueroa attended the State Employees Federated Appeal campaign kickoff event in September. Milagros chaired the 2012 campaign at the LRB.
- The LRB received an Award for Excellence based upon per capita giving to the State Employees Federated Appeal campaign.
- LRB staff continued its annual holiday tradition of "adopting" families through the Ronald McDonald House at Albany Medical Center. Cindy DeViddio and Maureen Clements coordinated collection and delivery of the donated
14. Visits and visitors. Among visits made in 2012:
- Bill Hooks, Mike Moran and Kathy LaBoda attended the State of the Judiciary address by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in February.
- Bill Hooks, Mike Moran and Kathy LaBoda attended Law Day ceremonies at the Court of Appeals in May.
- Judge Eugene Pigott, Jr. visited the LRB in September.
- Bill Hooks and Wendy Whiteman attended the Court of Appeals Lecture Series in May featuring author Daniel J. Kornstein's presentation, "Shakespeare and the Law."
- Nicole Cohen and Jim Hennerty of CSEA toured Centennial Hall with Andy Klein and Cindy McCormick in August.
- Bill Hooks and Mike Moran attended the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Family Court at Court of Appeals Hall in September.
- Bill Hooks, Mike Moran and Kathy LaBoda attended a retirement ceremony for Judge Ciparick in December at Court of Appeals Hall.
15. Organization. Of significance in 2012:
- A meeting of the LRB's management group was held in January to review the LRB's progress in completing its 2011 objectives and to discuss objectives for 2012.
- Founders Day, April 7, marked the 208th anniversary of the enactment of legislation creating the system of official law reporting in New York.
- Staff meetings were held in June to review significant changes to the 2012 Official Reports Style Manual and to discuss its July implementation; and in May, June and September to discuss LRB operations, including
editorial production goals, initiatives to address staff shortages and adjustments to assignment schedules.
- Members of the publishing contract team met in June to discuss the status of the current contract, issues to be addressed in 2016-2020 contract and potential alternative contract models.
- Meetings of the LRB's technology staff were held in June and November to report on progress of pending projects and plan future initiatives.