An all-female panel presided over an appeal with the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Fourth Department, in Western New York for the first time in history last week, the court announced Thursday.
Arguments were heard in Rochester on an appeal involving the postdivorce distribution of assets in a lawsuit by Justice Presiding Nancy Smith of Rochester and Justices Erin Peradotto, Shirley Troutman, and Joanne Winslow.
Peradotto and Troutman are from Buffalo. Winslow is from Rochester. Smith said the hearing was a milestone in the court’s history.
“Honestly, we treat each appeal the same, no matter which judges of the Court are part of the panel hearing the appeal,” Smith said. “It is clearly, however, an important milestone to have a panel comprised entirely of the Court’s female Justices, and I am proud to have been a part of this moment in the Court’s history.”
Smith was designated to the Fourth Department in 2004, making her the most senior member of the panel. Peradotto, Troutman and Winslow were designated in 2006, 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Presiding Justice Gerald Whalen of the Fourth Department in Buffalo said the moment was long overdue.
“Given the trends of the last decade, which have seen women outpace men in law school enrollment nationwide, and the talented female attorneys that practice in the Fourth Department, I expect that in the not-distant future, a panel of this kind will not be unusual at all,” Whalen said.