Judge Fisher’s rule requiring Notice of Appearance and acknowledgements of rules from counsel when Judge Fisher steps into cases where Notices of Appearances were already filed previously, does not comply with existing laws or court rules and are nonsensical.
RULE REGARDING ENDING THE CASE BY A SETTLEMENT
Normally, when parties file a stipulation of discontinuance with the court (and the defendant pays - I do not know why the New York law imposed this cost upon the defendant, but that's the law - the $30 filing fee to file such a Stipulation of Discontinuance) of the action, the lawsuit is over, and the court's jurisdiction is over.
Not so in Judge Fisher's court.
Here is Judge Fisher's rule:
RULE OF MOTIONS ADDRESSING DISCOVERY
New York law is very particular about motions addressing discovery.
There are statutory rules and court rules.
Court rules require good faith efforts to ensure compliance with discovery prior to making a motion and filing an attorney affirmation of good faith with the motion to compel discovery or for other appropriate relief (to preclude use of non-disclosed evidence at trial or for a dismissal/summary judgment).
Judge Fisher goes further. She requires that no motion addressing discovery is filed without a conference
- thus practically mandating parties to incur travel and attendance fees for their attorneys, and expenses for themselves (daycare, leave from work, travel etc.) - which is not mandated by statute or rules of the New York State Court Administration.
There are medical conditions that are not painful, but nevertheless disabling, and even life-threatening. Obviously, they are not considered by Judge Fisher as good reasons to adjourn a court conference.
There are many reasons why a person cannot appear at a conference, from death of a loved one to impossibility to get a leave from work, where livelihood of the party's family depends on the party's holding on to the job that may be lost if the party is going to conferences every so often (and litigants do lose jobs because of frequent court appearances).
If Judge Fisher worked for 18 years prior to the bench as an attorney (as she states in the podcast interview interlinked above), and since she worked in the public defender's office, as her official Facebook election campaign page states, she should know that much.
If she knows it and still makes a requirement for a severely restrictive list of "good reasons" for an adjournment - she does it deliberately, that's the only reasonable explanation that I can find for this rule.
These tricks have nothing to do with proper administration of justice, and Judge Fisher knows it, no doubt, having practiced for 18 years prior to coming to the bench.
There is absolutely no reason why all conferences cannot be held by phone, and requirement of physical appearance by any attorneys or parties is nothing other than a desire to exercise control and cause submission of parties and counsel, without regard whether it is necessary or not.
RULE OF TRIAL SUBMISSIONS
It appears that Judge Fisher wants her trials to be not trials where unexpected things can happen, like impeachment of witnesses, but should be as close as possible to motions for a summary judgments, with no surprises at any time at all.
Such a position (my legal opinion) certainly undermines the very principle of adversarial justice which is the cornerstone of the American justice system.
Judge Fisher also requires verdict sheets also to be submitted a week before trial (even, I understand, when the verdict sheets are special interrogatories to juries that can only be formed on the basis of what evidence was submitted at trial).
This requirement is clearly pro-plaintiff, and puts Judge Fisher in the shoes of an advocate for plaintiffs (usually, corporations suing in her court) and against defendants, usually common people, often pro se or poor.
Apparently, Judge Fisher makes parties do her own and her court attorney's work, and pay for it.
The sum and substance of the rules of Judge Fisher shows:
1) Judge Fisher is more concerned by form than by substance and fairness of the litigation;
2) Judge Fisher is extremely pro-plaintiff, to the point of advocacy for the plaintiffs through her rules;
3) Judge Fisher disregards the law, including constitutional law, to assert her authority.
Not good, and this is only her first year on the bench.