Albany Panel Dismisses Judicial Pay Suit

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The New York Law Journal - Albany Panel Dismisses Judicial Pay Suit

By Joel Stashenko
November 14, 2008


ALBANY - An upstate appeals panel yesterday dismissed a suit filed by judges seeking to force the state to grant them their first pay raise since 1999.

While its decision in Maron v. Silver, 504084, was peppered with words such as "deplorable" to describe the raise drought, the Appellate Division, Third Department, nevertheless decided 4-1 that the judges lacked grounds to bring their claims for higher compensation.

The decision will be published Wednesday.

The majority dismissed the remaining two grounds recognized by Acting Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. McNamara (See Profile) last year, that the lack of a raise imperiled judicial independence by driving good judges from the bench and that the refusal to increase judges' salaries was in retaliation for their rulings on controversial issues such as ordering higher school aid for New York City (NYLJ, Dec. 3, 2007).

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The suit before the Third Department yesterday was brought by Nassau County Court Judge Edward A. Maron ..., Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack of Brooklyn ... and former Supreme Court Justice Joseph A. DeMaro of Brooklyn.

It is one of three suits brought on behalf of the judiciary seeking higher pay and the first to reach the Appellate Division.

A second suit, Larabee v. Governor, 112301/07, is scheduled to be heard by a First Department panel on Tuesday. In that case, Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Lehner ... ruled that lawmakers and the governor had unconstitutionally linked passage of a judicial pay raise to unrelated public policy issues, such as campaign finance reform or a pay raise for lawmakers themselves (NYLJ, June 11).

A third suit, Kaye v. Silver, 400763/08, is also before Justice Lehner in Manhattan. He is considering a motion for summary judgment filed by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and motions to dismiss the action from the governor and legislative leaders.


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