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Appellate Litigation

Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, has long maintained a robust appellate practice in federal and state courts, and in civil and criminal matters. K&F attorneys’ prior experience as Assistant United States Attorneys and public defenders—representing the government and defendants in federal and state appeals—has established a firm foundation for our appellate practice in tax and criminal matters, and it has reinforced K&F’s equally vigorous representation of clients in civil appeals in the commercial arena.

Caroline Rule, a leader of the firm’s appellate practice, began her legal career as a clerk to the Hon. John J. Gibbons, then-Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She then undertook a two-year commitment to represent indigent state criminal defendants on appeal as a staff attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender in Manhattan.

Federal Courts

Filed a brief in 2019 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as counsel for the American College of Tax Counsel (ACTC), in United States v. Jane Boyd, Docket No. 19-55585. The case presents a question of first impression in an appeals court: whether only one $10,000 civil penalty applies per year for a non-willful failure to timely file an accurate Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), or whether, according to a position adopted by the government, and as the district court decided, this $10,000 penalty applies to each foreign account that should have been reported on an FBAR. The ACTC argues that the relevant statutes and regulations unambiguously impose only one non-willful penalty per failure to file a single annual FBAR, no matter how many foreign accounts should have been reported on that form. The case is pending.

Serve as appellate counsel in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a client who is appealing his wrongful conviction for a tax-related conspiracy and individual tax charges.

State Courts

Filed a brief in New York’s highest tribunal, the New York Court of Appeals, as counsel to the New York Council of Defense Lawyers (NYCDL). In its decision in the case, People of the State of New York v. M. Robert Neulander, 34 N.Y.3d 110 (N.Y. 2019), the court unanimously endorsed the NYCDL’s position that a juror’s serious misconduct (including sending and receiving numerous text messages during deliberations and then lying about it) entitled the defendant to a new trial.

Filed a brief in the New York Court of Appeals in support of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), on behalf of entities and individuals including the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and individual physicians, in the case of Greater New York Taxi Assoc. v. New York City Taxi and Limousine Comm’n, 25 N.Y.3d 600 (N.Y. 2015). New York State’s highest court unanimously agreed with the position taken in the K&F brief, that the TLC had authority to require nearly all taxi medallion holders to purchase a single safer taxi vehicle.

Authored briefs in support of K&F clients’ appeals to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, to overturn decisions by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board concerning the New York State Department of Labor determinations regarding New York State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA). The case is pending.

Secured dismissal in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, of a putative class action brought by grocery stores against K&F’s not-for-profit clients, Public Health Solutions (PHS) and Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital.

Defeated multiple “Article 78” petitions challenging zoning variances granted to a Manhattan synagogue, on appeal to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.

Defended a lawyer, sued in his individual capacity by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, when the bank appealed to New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, from the trial court’s denial of summary judgment to the bank, filing a cross-appeal and winning the dismissal of all claims against the client.