Step 12. Court Decisions

Decisions of appealed cases at the level of appellate courts, which involve difficult interpretations of the law, occasionally provide material useful in compiling a legislative history. See a section "Legislative Background" in the reports of these courts.

Specific court cases especially illustrating a law are found in the case notes often following sections of the consolidated law. See "Notes of Decisions" in McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York and New York Consolidated Laws Service (CLS). Also, the following references may provide examples of court cases involving your law:

  • New York Jurisprudence 2d (Rochester: The Lawyers Cooperative Publ. Co., 1979), and "Quarterly Update Service." LAW/NYS.
  • Words and Phrases (St. Paul, MN: West Publ. Co.). 46 vols, and "Cumulative Annual Pocket Part." RL, 340.7303 W924 92-46001.

Parties in a lawsuit have avenues for appealing a decision to an appellate court. In New York these courts are the Supreme Court Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals. The historical development of these courts from British colonial courts is described in Guide to Records in the New York Archives (Albany: The University of the State of New York, 1993), pp. 387-398.

Cases considered by the Supreme Court Appellate Division are reported in Appellate Division Reports; those considered by the Court of Appeals are reported in New York Reports. The official citation of a case refers to these volumes. For example, "50 AD2d 211" indicates volume 50 of the Appellate Division Reports, second series, beginning on p. 211. "26 NY2d 478" indicates volume 26, second series, of New York Reports. Several volumes are published in a calendar year.

To translate names of parties in a lawsuit to the corresponding official citation, use the "Table of Cases" in West's New York Digest, LAW/NYS. The Library has digests from 1794 under various titles.

The Library has the following appellate reports:

  1. Court of Appeals.
    • Reports;
      • 1847-1956. New York Reports (New York: The Banks Law Publ. Co., 5th ed., 1907-/ Albany: Williams Press). Vols. 1-309. LAW/NYS.
      • 1956-present. New York Reports, 2d series (Albany: Williams Press/ Rochester: Lawyers Cooperative Publ.). Second series. Vols. 1- . LAW/NYS.
    • Records and Briefs.
      • 1847-1956. Cases and Briefs.1NY-309NY. In storage at the "Warehouse" in the Education Building. Request by citation. The old Law Library catalog, a wooden cabinet near the Document Delivery Unit, has entries for cases to 202NY in "Cases and Briefs" drawers, giving volume and case number.
      • 1956-present. Cases and Briefs. 2d series.
        • 1NY2d-41NY2d. Bound volumes in basement.  Request by citation.
        • 1NY2d-73NY2d. Microfiche. MB/FF, 347.747 N532 84-56020. Request by citation.
        • 74NY2d- current term. Microfiche. MA/FF, 347.747 N532. Request by citation. Microform Area.
    • The NYS Archives has "Cases and briefs on appeal" from this court, 1847-1999 in bound volumes (see the finding aid for the NYS Court of Appeals Cases and Briefs on Appeal held by the NYS Archives).
  2. Supreme Court Appellate Division.
    • Reports.
      • 1896-1955. Appellate Division Reports (Albany: Banks and Co., 1908-/ Albany: Williams Press). Vols. 1-286. LAW/NYS.
      • 1956- present. Appellate Division Reports (Albany: Williams Press/ Rochester: Lawyers Cooperative Publ.). Second series. Vols. 1-. LAW/NYS. Includes the four judicial departments of the State.
    • Records and Briefs.
      • 1896-1955. Cases and Briefs. 1AD-286AD. In storage at the Warehouse.
      • 1955-present. Cases and Briefs.
        • 1AD2d-53AD2d. Bound volumes in basement.  Request by citation.
        • 54AD2d-99AD2d (partial). Microfiche. MB/FF, 347.74708 N532 84-57270.
          Request by citation.
        • 99AD2d (partial)- present. Microfiche. MB/FF, 347.74708 N532 84-57270.
          Request by FID number. See "Finding Aid" by department in Microform Area or check the New York State Unified Court System Appellate Division Records and Briefs Indexexternal link (1984, 1988-2005).
          For recent cases not indexed check packing slips in the Ready Reference (RR) area.
        • Last four years are filed by department and FID number in Microform Area.

      For a list of Law Libraries in the State holding records and briefs see:

      Union List of Cases and Points/ Records and Briefs in New York State Law Libraries, 3rd ed. (Buffalo: Hodgson et al., 1987), compiled by Joan T. White and Dawn M. Tybur. RR, 061.3477313 qW585 90-8362.
Last Updated: August 9, 2019