The pictured architectural rendering of the sunlit Kings County Supreme Courthouse at 360 Adams Street, completed in 1957, doesn’t quite capture the reality of its dour, hulking presence in downtown Brooklyn. Its design features — the long rows of identical, small, horizontally paned windows set in a monolithic, from-here-to-forever concrete façade — always struck me as more suggestive of a prison than a courthouse.
But behind its stolid exterior, the business of dispute resolution is conducted with no less rigor and integrity than any more architecturally uplifting courthouse in the state. For Manhattan-based business litigators like myself, the expansion of New York’s Commercial Division initiative to Kings County in 2002, and the appointment to that bench of judges with business law backgrounds, made the prospect of a trip across the East River to litigate an important commercial case one that could be taken with confidence of getting a fair shake from an interested, experienced, thoughtful, judge supported by highly competent staff.
There’s been some changes on the Brooklyn Commercial Division bench in recent years, following the retirement of the long-serving, former Justice Demarest and former Justice Ash’s forced departure. With Justice Knipel splitting his time as Brooklyn’s Administrative Judge for Civil Matters as well as taking on a commercial foreclosure caseload, it appears that the lion’s share of new Commercial Division assignments are landing with Justices Leon Ruchelsman and Reginald Boddie. Of those two, at least based on the volume of published decisions I’ve seen since his appointment, Justice Ruchelsman appears to have taken on the heftier share of business divorce cases.
Whether or not I’m right about that, I thought it worthwhile to highlight some of Justice Ruchelsman’s recent decisions in business divorce matters for the benefit of practitioners and business owners who face the prospect of litigating such disputes in Brooklyn Supreme Court’s Commercial Division. So without further ado, I give you summaries of four of his recent decisions, with the recommendation that you read the decisions to capture the full flavor of Justice Ruchelsman’s approach to problem solving. Continue Reading Business Divorce, Brooklyn Style