A special referee in Manhattan Supreme Court has reminded attorneys that special referees, like judges, are allowed to post part rules, saying that “many attorneys are unaware” of this fact.
The March 4 decision, from Special Referee Jeffrey Helewitz, came as part of a matrimonial case, Armato v. Bullon, 315700/11. The parties’ attorneys had asked for leave to file post-hearing briefs on a matter that had been referred to Helewitz for report and recommendations.
Helewitz noted that his own part rules state that in matters referred for report and recommendations, no post-hearing briefs are allowed without prior leave. The rationale for this rule, he said, was that the attorneys will have a chance to move for the presiding judge to adopt or reject the referee’s report and recommendations.
Giving them an additional round of briefing before reaching the judge, he wrote, would give them “two bites of the apple.”
The attorneys in the case had sought leave to file post-hearing briefs on the grounds that the issue in question was “too complex for the Special Referee to understand,” according to Helewitz. “This argument failed to persuade the undersigned to allow leave to file post-hearing briefs,” he said.
The defendant-wife is represented by Dror Bikel of Bikel & Mandarano.
Bikel said that many attorneys do not know that special referees can set part rules because most referees choose not to. He said Helewitz is an “outstanding” referee and that it would be helpful if more referees followed his example and posted rules.
“It lets you know where you stand,” he said. “If more of the referees had these rules, there would be more uniformity.”
The plaintiff-husband is represented by Glenn Goldstein; of Cohen Goldstein Silpe, who could not be reached for comment.