LL1 handles only labor law disputes five days a week. Judge Devin Cohen runs LL1 in Brooklyn.
“Judge Cohen came to me and suggested we try a specialized labor law part,” Brooklyn State Court Administrative Judge for Civil Matters Lawrence Knipel remarked. “Specialized parts make us more productive.”
Brooklyn has about 57,000 civil term cases outstanding.
Cohen, who oversaw jury coordination, approached Knipel after hearing from various litigators that their demands weren’t being addressed.
“The average labor law case has multiple defendants, [and] they are often at cross-purposes,” Cohen said. “They have competing interests in their defense, competing insurance issues, which contracts apply at various times, who’s got the first dollar, whose insurance company has to pay first, and if they get to trial, it can easily last three or four weeks.
“They’re complex cases with a lot of motion practice,” he said.
Litigants have LL1 and a labor law mediation settlement conference.
“Creating a specialized part is getting parties to think about mediating early, early intervention when it’s available,” Cohen said. “I think there’s tension in very expensive cases to save costs versus the natural pressure to cooperate when you have a trial date.
“One of the things we’ll work on is to build a culture of talking early, to try and cut down on litigation uncertainty,” he added. Trials are costly. In sophisticated labor law cases, specialists can cost $40,000–50,000.
Cohen indicated that he and the bar are creating a labor law-specific preliminary meeting.
Cohen said he manages 700 Brooklyn labor law cases, but not all. Knipel stated he may add labor law aspects.
Medical malpractice, mental hygiene, foreclosure, and other matters have specialist Brooklyn civil terms. The courts based it on medical malpractice.
The fifth-floor 360 Adams St. section debuted on Jan. 17.