We hold that certification of this statute’s interpretation to the New York Court of Appeals is warranted.
mean in layman's terms?
When a federal court has to make a decision that is based on state law and how the case would be determined under state law is unclear (the law or issue has never been addressed by the state's highest court), it can "certify" the question to the state's highest court for a ruling on the question before the federal court proceeds. The state court does not have to take the case and decide the question if doing so is not appropriate (i.e., warranted). The first thing the state court decides is whether it should take the case and decide the question.