New: Word Limits in the New York Court of Appeals

Jacquelyn L. Mouquin, Esq. Until now, the New York Court of Appeals had chosen to leave the length of briefs filed in that court up to the discretion of the parties and their counsel. As of June 22, 2016, that changed.

Under the newly adopted word limits, for briefs generated using a word processing system, opening briefs for appellants and respondents are limited to 14,000 words. 22 NYCRR § 500.13(c)(1). Reply briefs, amicus briefs, and briefs in response to amicus briefs are limited to 7,000 words. Id. (Corresponding page limits were set for briefs created by hand or on typewriters. 22 NYCRR § 500.13(c)(2).) A certificate of compliance with this section is required. 22 NYCRR § 500.13(c)(1).

These new limits put the Court of Appeals in line with the Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, and with the current limit in the federal circuit courts. Like, in those courts, words included in corporate disclosure statements, tables of contents, tables of authorities, and addenda are not counted in the word limits. Compare 22 NYCRR § 500.13(c)(3) with Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7). In contrast to other courts, though, the Court of Appeals’ word limits also exclude the statement of questions presented. Id. These new limits are applicable only to cases in which the preliminary appeal statement is filed on or after June 22, 2016. Cases already on the docket, prior to that date, are exempt from the rule changes.

Tagged: Appellate Practice, New York State Court of Appeals