Hon. Stephen G. Crane (Ret.)

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Hon. Stephen G. Crane (Ret.) was the Senior Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department and has served as a Justice of the Supreme Court, New York County since 1984. Justice Crane presided as one of the New York County Justices in the Commercial Division handling complex commercial cases from 1995 to 2001, and Administrative Judge, Civil Branch, Supreme Court, New York County from 1996 to 2001. Widely respected for being knowledgeable, thoughtful, and fair, Justice Crane is most comfortable in the middle of conflict, helping parties sort out their problems and reach an amicable resolution.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Supported and encouraged use of methods of alternative dispute resolution in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court and established a court-annexed mediation program for tort cases as Administrative Judge of Supreme Court, New York County; sponsored training courses for mediators with faculty including neutrals from JAMS
  • As a trial judge,
    • maintained a Commercial Division Part and assisted in the settlement of the national tobacco litigation
    • administered an Individual Assignment Part, deciding motions and conducting trials (jury and non-jury); managed all repetitive stress injury cases filed in New York County, conferencing cases for settlement; and handled all aspects of civil cases: personal injury actions, medical malpractice, landlord-tenant, breach of contract, civil forfeiture, injunctions, corporate dissolutions, and all other categories of civil actions
  • As an appellate judge, participated in adjudicating appeals in civil, criminal, family and Surrogate’s Court cases from originating courts in ten counties in the New York Metropolitan area
  • As a mediator facilitated negotiations of a number of disputes involving credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and the sale of securitized mortgage backed and asset backed residential and commercial obligations
  • As an international and domestic arbitrator decided cases of employment discrimination, of a discharge alleged to be for cause of a trader for mismarking collateralized debt obligations to market, of an alleged violation of restrictive covenants in an agreement for the sale of shares in a business, of claims against an investment advisor for violations of securities and investment advisor laws, and of excess insurance disputes under Bermuda form policies 
  • As a neutral evaluator, evaluated the merits of an appeal of an order dismissing an action seeking to impose a constructive trust, engaged in a mock oral argument of an appeal in a novel issue of the meaning of a settlement agreement in a divorce action, the vulnerabilities in a proposed complaint in a fraud action involving credit default swaps and mock oral arguments in appeals involving art law disputes
  • As a special master, resolved disclosure disputes and motions in limine
  • As a mediator facilitated negotiations of numerous sophisticated real property disputes including controversies between a sponsor of a cooperative conversion and the board of the cooperative corporation regarding the sale of sponsor-related units; the issues between a cooperative board and the owner of shares attributed to the commercial unit; the failure to close a multi-million dollar sale of a shopping center; and the breach of a licensing agreement for the use of the name of a well-known developer on a new building project
  • Mediated numerous legal malpractice disputes involving complex underlying litigations; architect's malpractice claims; accountant's malpractice claims and numerous personal injury actions under the Labor Law and for common law negligence
  • Mediated the equitable distribution of a marital estate where husband and wife were equal partners in half-a-dozen corporate entities or partnerships; mediated issues involved in law firm dissolutions
  • Mediated numerous claims in bankruptcy, some with state claims against the claimant

Representative Matters

Significant trials presided over by Justice Crane include the following:
  • Maryland Johnson Bush v. International Business Machines Corporation and N.C.R. Corp. Four-week jury trial: First trial in New York State of claims against computer keyboard manufacturers that their products caused plaintiff’s carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Edith Abrams, et al. v. Nathan Rogers, et al. Six-week jury trial of complex commercial case involving limited partners’ derivative claims against general partners of real estate partnership
  • Collichio, Gloria v. City of New York and Tom Town Cab Co. After liability tried before another justice establishing minimal liability against New York City, twelve week trial of damages for brain injury to composer-musician sustained in head-on collision between taxi and bus
  • Grutman Katz Greene & Humphrey v. Lillian Goldman. Bench trial of claim to $5 million bonus to attorney against former client with counterclaim to recover fees previously paid for malpractice resulting in 80-page decision, affirmed 251 AD2d 7

Other recent significant cases on which Justice Crane has written include the following:

  • Nastasi v. Nastasi, 26 AD3d 32, (November 14, 2005). (Affirming the denial of vacatur of a notice of pendency in an action seeking to impose a constructive trust over property conveyed, not by the plaintiff in her personal capacity, but by her husband’s estate, as alleged security for payment of her annuity.)
  • Sweeney, Cohn, Stahl & Vaccaro v. Kane, 6 AD3d 72 (March 8, 2004). (Applying the doctrine of reverse piercing the corporate veil under Florida law to permit two New York judgment creditors of the co-shareholder wife of a Florida corporation, the sole asset of which was real property in New York and which was treated as the alter ego of the co-shareholders, to execute their judgments on the corporate real property even though the shares were held as tenants by the entirety under Florida law and thereby immune from the claims of all but joint creditors.)
  • Gomez v. Bicknell, 302 AD2d 107 (December 23, 2002). (Discussing the measure of damages for breach of an employee’s duty of loyalty in contrast to the measure for breach of his covenant not to compete after termination of employment and reversing a verdict in favor of the employee that was legally unsupported based on a theory that the employment agreement had been orally modified to provide for the payment of a profit participation on a transaction-by-transaction basis, the employee having quit before the end of the year and having admitted that the employer did not agree to this amendment.)
  • Bindit Corp. v. Inflight Advertising, Inc., 285 AD2d 309 (October 1, 2001). (Declaring that prior litigation, during the life of a patent, over alleged antitrust violations of an exclusive licensing agreement did not bar similar claims by the licensor after the patent for the licensed technology expired.)
  • State of New York v. Philip Morris, 179 Misc 2d 435, 686 NYS2d 564, (December 23, 1998). (Approving tobacco industry master settlement agreements as fair, reasonable, and adequate and approving the Attorney General’s allocation of the proceeds of approximately $25 billion over 25 years among the members of the class of Counties, the City of New York, and the State of New York also as fair, reasonable, and adequate.)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Robert L. Haig Award for Distinguished Public Service, New York State Bar Association
  • Jack Newton Lerner Award for outstanding contributions to Continuing Legal Education, New York County Lawyers’ Association
  • Louis J. Capozzoli Gavel Award, New York County Lawyers’ Association
  • Distinguished Service Award, Law Secretaries & Law Assistants Collegium
  • Harold A. Stevens Jewel Award, New York County Lawyers’ Association–Tort Section
  • Past President, Cornell Law Association and Past Chair, Cornell Law School Advisory Council
  • Past Member, Pattern Jury Instructions Committee of the Association of Supreme Court Justices of the State of New York
  • New York County Lawyers’ Association
    • Co-Chair, Institute on Continuing Legal Education; Chair, History Committee
    • Member: Public Service Awards Committee
    • Past Member: Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Criminal Justice Section (founding co-chair)
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Immediate Past Chair, Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules
    • Member: Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Executive Committee, Dispute Resolution Section Executive Committee
    • Former Member, House of Delegates 
    • Fellow, New York State Bar Foundation
    • Member of former Commission on Legal Services for the Middle Income
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America and New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • Honorary Board Member, formerly Member of New York Regional Board and its Executive Committee, and Chair of By-Laws Committee, Anti-Defamation League
  • National Center for State Courts: Project Advisory Committee for A Manual for Managing Notorious Cases, 1990-1992
  • Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the City of New York and Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York
  • Member, Board of Justices, First Judicial District
  • Former Chair, Board of Trustees, New York County Public Access Law Library
  • Museum Memberships:  The Guggenheim Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Arts and Design; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum; The Frick Collection; The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; The Museum of Jewish Heritage; Frank Lloyd Wright Association
  • Member, New York State Dispute Resolution Association  
  • International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)

Background and Education

  • Justice, Supreme Court, New York County, 1984-2007 (Supreme Court Justice, 1990-2007; Acting Supreme Court Justice, 1984-1989)
    • Senior Associate Justice, Appellate Division-Second Department, 2008
    • Associate Justice, Appellate Division-Second Department, designated 2005
    • Additional Justice, Appellate Division-Second Department, designated 2001
    • Administrative Judge of Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County, 1996-2001
  • Judge, Criminal Court, City of New York, 1981-1984
  • Partner, Glass Howard and Crane, New York, 1980-1981
  • Counsel to the Office of Court Administration, New York, 1979-1980
  • Chief Law Assistant, Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York, 1976-1979 (Senior Law Assistant, 1966-1976)
  • Associate, Poletti Freidin Prashker Feldman & Gartner, New York, 1963-1966
  • J.D., with distinction, Cornell Law School, 1963
  • B.S., Cornell University, 1960