Cuomo Signs Felder-Simanowitz Arbitration Law

Simcha Felder

August 22, 2017

New Law Gives All New Yorkers Their Day in Court

Legislation recently passed in the New York State Senate and Assembly that changes New York State’s judiciary law to allow arbitration and mediation court proceedings on Saturdays or Sundays was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on Monday.

The new law, sponsored by Senator Simcha Felder (D-Midwood) and Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) makes it easier to settle civil disputes outside the traditional courtroom setting. The previous law prohibited all court proceedings on Saturdays and Sunday‑‑arbitration, mediation, and traditional courts alike.

Trying a case in arbitration or mediation court is less expensive, progresses much faster, and results in rulings as legally binding as any issued in traditional court. Arbitration or mediation courts are an especially helpful resource for small business owners, people with limited financial resources, litigants in civil disputes resolved in Jewish arbitration courts called Bet Din, seniors, and anyone with limited opportunity to take off time from work. Restricting access to arbitration or mediation court deprived those who stood to gain the most through this faster, more affordable legal option.

Under the previous law, legal decisions could also be easily overturned if any part of the proceedings took place on a Saturday or Sunday. Now, providing that all parties to the dispute state their consent in writing, the new law protects rulings issues issued by an arbitration or mediation court, regardless of when the proceeding took place.

"This new law is tremendously beneficial to many people across New York State,” said Senator Felder in response to Monday’s news that the governor signed the bill into law. “By signing this bill, Governor Cuomo has given countless people the chance for their day in court, on the day of the week that best suits their needs.”

“We are extremely glad to see this amendment become law,” said Assemblyman Simanowitz. “By allowing all New Yorkers the right to seek justice in a legitimate and recognized legal setting, we open the doors of justice to our entire community. I was glad to work with Senator Felder and my colleague, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein to help make this a life changing reality for our constituents.”