A Book Review of “COMMERCIAL LITIGATION IN NEW YORK STATE COURTS, FOURTH EDITION”

Authored by Mark J. Moretti and Chad Flansburg of Phillips Lytle LLP

While legal professionals are well familiar with the aphorism, “less is more,” with the publication of Robert L. Haig’s Fourth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York, more is undoubtedly better.  Building on the first three editions, published in 1995, 2005, and 2010, respectively, the Fourth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York has grown into an encyclopedic collection of 127 chapters written by 182 principal authors, including 29 distinguished judges of the federal and state courts, as well as a who’s who of New York’s commercial litigation bar.  The Fourth Edition contains eight volumes (there were six volumes in the third edition).  Notably, twenty-two new chapters have been added in the Fourth Edition.  The following is a list of some of these new chapter titles: Internal Investigations; Mediation and Other Nonbinding ADR; International Arbitration; Social Media; Land Use Regulation; and Commercial Leasing.  In addition, the chapters carried forward from the Third Edition have been substantially expanded.

Commercial Litigation in New York provides in-depth treatment of practice and procedure in New York State courts, together with the substantive law most commonly encountered by commercial litigators. For example, the treatise contains 53 substantive law chapters, including contracts, insurance, sale of goods, banking, intellectual property, business torts, and many more commercial law topics.  This treatise is well organized and the chapters contain useful strategies, practice guides, checklists, sample forms, and jury charges.  All of which are contained on a CD-ROM that comes with the treatise, as does a separate Appendix (to be replaced annually) containing a table of laws and rules, table of cases, and an index.  Commercial Litigation in New York is organized to follow the life of a commercial case throughout its ligation, and then turns to substantive topics. These features make this treatise not only a valuable research tool, but a book filed with helpful practice wisdom and perspective that is only gained by years of experience in handling commercial cases.

The fact that this treatise is intended to be utilized as a practical aid in every day practice, rather than being an academic treatise is immediately apparent.  For example, Chapter 48 (Compensatory Damages) contains a detailed discussion of the various forms of compensatory damages recoverable in actions for breach of contract, including expectancy damages, reliance damages, and restitution.  The treatise also provides a unique discussion on the many ethical issues involved in commercial litigation, including chapters entitled ethical issues in commercial cases (Chapter 70) and civility (Chapter 71).  Another example of the significant practice aid offered by the treatise is Chapter 44 (Graphics and Other Demonstrative Evidence), which provides a wonderful overview regarding use and the foundational prerequisites for these often underutilized exhibits.

These few examples are only a sampling of what awaits the commercial litigator that turns to this edition.  It is hard to imagine anyone litigating in the Commercial Division without first consulting and seeking assistance from Commercial Litigation in New York.  In sum, this treatise is a must have for both experienced and new commercial litigators.  It provides a very thorough and detailed analysis on substantive and procedural aspects of New York commercial law.

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