Justia New York Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Statewide Central Register maintained by the State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) received information alleging educational neglect by Petitioners. OCFS referred the report to the Westchester County Department of Social Services, Office of Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS decided that the case was eligible to proceed under the Family Assessment Response Track (FAR track) but submitted the case for closure in the month after the report was received, without recommending services. Thereafter, Petitioners wrote to OCFS to request expungement of the FAR records and report. The Director of the OCFS Central Register stated that OCFS could not comply with Petitioners’ request because Petitioners had been placed on the FAR track rather than the standard investigative track. Petitioners then commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding against OCFS and the Director, challenging OCFS’s denial of the opportunity for Petitioners to seek early expungement of the educational neglect report. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the statutory procedure allowing for early expungement of reports relating to alleged child abuse does not apply when the parents are not formally investigated but instead are assigned to the FAR track pursuant to N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law 427-a. View "Corrigan v. New York State Office of Children & Family Services" on Justia Law

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In 2013, the Orange County Department of General Services issued a request for proposals (RFP) from companies to provide transportation of children receiving preschool special education services in three transportation zones in the County. ACME Bus Corp. (ACME), which held the contract at the time, submitted two alternative proposals. Orange County awarded transportation contracts for the first two zones to Quality Bus Service, LLC and for the third zone to VW Trans, LLC. ACME subsequently commenced this proceeding against the County, Quality, and VW, seeking to vacate the award of the contracts. Supreme Court dismissed the proceeding. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the County’s scoring mechanism in the cost category deviated from the formula stated in the RFP, and therefore, its award was arbitrary and capricious. View "ACME Bus Corp. v. Orange County" on Justia Law

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A hearing officer found Petitioner, a prison inmate, guilty of violating two prison disciplinary rules and imposed penalty of twelve months’ punitive confinement in a special housing unit. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision affirmed. Petitioner commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding challenging the determination. Supreme Court dismissed the petition, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the lower courts erred in dismissing Petitioner’s article 78 petition because a violation of Petitioner’s right to call witnesses occurred at the administrative hearing where the hearing officer failed to undertake a meaningful inquiry into a requested witness’s allegation that the witness had been coerced into refusing to testify. View "Cortorreal v. Annucci" on Justia Law

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In 1996, New York State Racing and Wagering Board (the Racing Board) reduced per diem wages for its seasonal employees by twenty-five percent. The Public Employees Federation (PEF) filed an improper practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), alleging that the reduction in wages violated the Racing Board’s duty to negotiate in good faith under N.Y. Civ. Serv. 209-a(1)(d). PERB dismissed the improper practice charge. Petitioner, then president of PEF, subsequently brought this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding, asserting that PERB’s determination was arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law. Supreme Court dismissed the petition. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that PERB’s determination was arbitrary and capricious. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that PERB’s decision dismissing the improper practice charge was not affected by an error of law and was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. View "Kent v. Lefkowitz" on Justia Law

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In 2013, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) announced the adoption of a regulation prohibiting smoking in each state park located in New York City, as well as other designated areas under the jurisdiction of OPRHP. NYC C.L.A.S.H., Inc. (CLASH), a nonprofit organization dedicating to protecting the interests of smokers, commenced this hybrid N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding and declaratory judgment action challenging the rule as unconstitutional and in violation of the separation of powers doctrine. Supreme Court granted the petition, concluding that the rule violated the separation of powers doctrine. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that OPRHP and its commissioner acted within the confines of OPRHP's legislatively delegated power and did not usurp the authority of the legislature by promulgating the regulation at issue. View "NYC C.L.A.S.H., Inc. v. State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Pres." on Justia Law

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Ranco Sand and Stone Corporation, the owner of two parcels of contiguous property in an area zoned for residential use, applied to rezone one parcel to heavy industrial use. The Town of Smithtown’s Planning Board, acting as the lead agency under State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), adopted a resolution issuing a positive declaration that rezoning the parcel may have a significant effect on the environment and required Ranco to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). Ranco commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding against the Town and the members of the Town Board, seeking to annul the positive declaration and requesting mandamus relief directing the Town to process the rezoning application without a DEIS. Supreme Court dismissed the petition, finding the matter not ripe for judicial review. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that the SEQRA positive declaration was the initial step in the decision-making process and did not give rise to a justiciable controversy. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Town’s SEQRA positive determination was not ripe for judicial review. View "Ranco Sand & Stone Corp. v. Vecchio" on Justia Law

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Petitioner maintained a large outdoor advertising sign on the sign of its building that was grandfathered in as a legal, non-conforming use. In 2008, the building and the sign were demolished. Petitioner applied with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to erect a new support structure and a new sign. The Manhattan Borough Building Commissioner approved the new sign permit. Thereafter, DOB issued the permit. In 2010, the DOB revoked the permits for both the support structure and the sign, as the zoning resolution did not permit display of advertising signs in the zoning district at issue and the new sign did not qualify as a grandfathered replacement. Petitioner commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding arguing that it had relied in good faith on the Commissioner’s approval and subsequently-issued permits in expending substantial funds to install the new sign. Supreme Court denied the petition. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed as modified, holding (1) by relying on the erroneously issued permit for the advertising sign, Petitioner did not acquire a vested right to maintain the sign on its property; and (2) the appropriate procedure to resolve the issue of Petitioner’s good-faith reliance on the erroneously issued permit was an application for a zoning variance. View "Perlbinder Holdings, LLC v. Srinivasan" on Justia Law

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Petitioner maintained a large outdoor advertising sign on the sign of its building that was grandfathered in as a legal, non-conforming use. In 2008, the building and the sign were demolished. Petitioner applied with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to erect a new support structure and a new sign. The Manhattan Borough Building Commissioner approved the new sign permit. Thereafter, DOB issued the permit. In 2010, the DOB revoked the permits for both the support structure and the sign, as the zoning resolution did not permit display of advertising signs in the zoning district at issue and the new sign did not qualify as a grandfathered replacement. Petitioner commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding arguing that it had relied in good faith on the Commissioner’s approval and subsequently-issued permits in expending substantial funds to install the new sign. Supreme Court denied the petition. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed as modified, holding (1) by relying on the erroneously issued permit for the advertising sign, Petitioner did not acquire a vested right to maintain the sign on its property; and (2) the appropriate procedure to resolve the issue of Petitioner’s good-faith reliance on the erroneously issued permit was an application for a zoning variance. View "Perlbinder Holdings, LLC v. Srinivasan" on Justia Law

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The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which regulates taxis and other cars for hire in New York City, engaged in a lengthy process to create the “Taxi of Tomorrow.” The process culminated in rules that established a particular make and model of vehicle as the City’s official taxicab. Petitioners sought to invalidate the rules and obtain a related declaration, arguing that the TLC lacked authority to enact the rules and violated the separation of powers doctrine in doing so. Supreme Court concluded that the rules were invalid because the TLC exceeded its authority under the City Charter and violated the separation of powers by intruding in the City Council’s domain. The Appellate Division reversed and declared that the rules were valid. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the TLC did not exceed its authority or violate the separation of powers doctrine by enacting the rules. View "Greater N.Y. Taxi Ass’n v. N.Y. City Taxi & Limousine Comm’n" on Justia Law

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In 1990, Appellant was convicted of three counts of rape in the second degree. Prior to his release in 2004, Appellant was adjudicated a risk level three sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). Appellant subsequently violated parole. In 2010, while under civil confinement, Appellant filed a petition for a downward modification of his risk level. After a hearing, County Court denied Appellant’s modification request, concluding that Appellant failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he was entitled to a downward modification. The Appellate Division affirmed. Appellant appealed, arguing that he was deprived of due process when County Court failed to grant an adjournment so as to give him access to copies of all the records that the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders reviewed in making an updated recommendation that Appellant’s risk level classification should not be reduced. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Appellant was not prejudiced by the court’s denial of an adjournment to obtain the documents. View "People v. Lashway" on Justia Law