Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Court of Appeals concluded that the Appellate Division erred in holding that the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) had an obligation to provide sex offenders residing in a residential treatment facility (RTF) with substantial assistance in identifying appropriate housing, holding that the agency met its statutory obligation to assist Petitioner in this case. The Board of Parole imposed a special condition on Petitioner’s release requiring him to propose an appropriate Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA)-compliant residence to be investigated and approved by DOCCS. Because Petitioner was unable to identify a suitable residence by his maximum expiration date, the Board of Parole imposed the condition that Petitioner be transferred to a RTF. Petitioner commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding asserting that DOCCS failed to provide him with assistance in locating housing. The Appellate Court concluded that DOCCS had an affirmative statutory obligation to provide “substantial assistance” to inmates who have been placed in an RTF and who are subject to the mandatory residency restrictions in SARA in locating appropriate housing and that DOCCS failed to satisfy its statutory duty to Petitioner. The Court of Appeals modified the order of the Appellate Division, holding that the Appellate Division erred in imposing a heightened duty of substantial assistance on DOCCS. View "Gonzalez v. Annucci" on Justia Law

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In this challenge to certain regulations promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH) on separation of powers grounds, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division holding that two of the challenged regulations fell within the agency’s regulatory authority but that a third was promulgated in excess of the agency’s delegated powers. The regulations at issue limited executive compensation and administrative expenditures by certain healthcare providers receiving state funds. Supreme Court declared that two regulations did not violate the separation of powers doctrine and were not arbitrary and capricious but that the third regulation was invalid. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the third regulation was promulgated in excess of DOH’s administrative authority but that Petitioners’ challenges to the other two regulations were properly rejected. View "LeadingAge N.Y., Inc. v. Shah" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning the interpretation of New York’s constitutional prevailing wage requirement, the Court of Appeals upheld the New York State Department of Labor’s statute-based policy limiting the payment of apprentice wages on public work projects to apprentices who are performing tasks within the respective trade classifications of the approved apprenticeship programs in which they are enrolled, holding that the Department’s interpretation of the relevant statute was rational. Plaintiffs brought this declaratory judgment action asserting that the Department’s interpretation of N.Y. Labor Law 220(3-3) violates the plain meaning of the law and that the statute permits contractors on public works to pay apprentices the posted apprentice rates provided that they are registered in any Department-certified apprenticeship program. Supreme Court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that the Department’s analysis was an arbitrary and irrational interpretation of the statute. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Department’s interpretation of the statute was eminently reasonable. View "International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, District Council No. 4 v. New York State Department of Labor" on Justia Law

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The New York City Board of Health’s promulgation of the flu vaccine falls within the powers specifically delegated to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in New York City Administrative Code 17-109. At issue was the Board’s amendments to the New York City Health Code mandating that children between the ages of six months and fifty-nine months who attend city-regulated child care or school-based programs receive annual influenza vaccinations. Petitioners - parents of children enrolled in child care programs subject to the flu vaccine rules who objected to their children receiving the vaccination - commenced this hybrid N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding and declaratory judgment action to enjoin Respondents from enforcing the flu vaccine rules. Supreme Court granted Petitioners’ motion and permanently enjoined Respondents from enforcing the flu vaccine rules. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) the Board permissibly adopted the flu vaccine rules pursuant to its authority to regulate vaccinations; (2) the Board’s actions did not violate the separation of powers doctrine; and (3) the flu vaccine rules are not preempted by state law. View "Garcia v. New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene" on Justia Law

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The determination of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) that income reported on a joint tax return filed on behalf of an occupant and non-occupant of a housing accommodation may not be apportioned to determine the occupant’s individual annual income for purposes of ascertaining if the deregulation income threshold has been met was rational and does not run counter to the language of the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1993. Petitioner, the owner of the building where Respondent was a tenant of the subject rent-controlled apartment, served a tenant and her husband with an income certification form (ICF) pursuant to New York City Rent Control Law. When they did not respond, Petitioner filed a petition with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to verify whether the total annual income of the occupants exceeded the deregulation income threshold for the two years preceding the filing of the ICF. DHCR denied Petitioner’s petition for deregulation. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the income of the tenant’s husband was properly excluded from the calculation of total annual income because he was not an occupant of the housing accommodation when the ICF was served. View "Matter of Brookford, LLC v. New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the conclusion of the courts below that the finding of the Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board that Petitioner’s conduct was not “proper” within the meaning of N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 50-1 was rational. Petitioner, a Nassau County police officer, commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking a judgment annulling the determination of the Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board revoking a prior defense and indemnification determination in favor of Petitioner. At issue was whether Petitioner’s conduct was “proper” under N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 50-1, which provides for defense and indemnification of Nassau County police officers in civil actions arising out of “a negligent act or other tort of such police officer committed while in the proper discharge” of the officer’s duties and within the scope of the officer’s employment. Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition, concluding that the Board rationally concluded that Petitioner’s conduct was not proper. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination that Petitioner’s conduct was not in the “proper discharge of his duties” was not arbitrary and capricious. View "Lemma v. Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board" on Justia Law

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In this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding, the Court of Appeals held that the Appellate Division erred in foreclosing the possibility that title 9 of article 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law authorized the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) action unilaterally remediating the significant threat posed by hazardous wastes FMC Corporation (FMC) had released into neighboring properties. Moreover, the Court held that the interpretation of title 13 of article 27 adopted by both parties authorized DEC’s unilateral remediation effort, and therefore, any disputes over title 9 need not be resolved. View "FMC Corp. v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation" on Justia Law

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An agency may decline to acknowledge that requested records exist in response to a Freedom of Information Law request, see N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 84 et seq. (FOIL), when necessary to safeguard statutorily exempted information. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) was asked to disclose records relating to a police investigation and surveillance activities involving two specific individuals and associated organizations. The information was protected under the law enforcement and public safety exemption of Public Officers Law 87. The NYPD denied the requests. Petitioners then commenced separate N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceedings challenging he determinations. The Appellate Division dismissed the petitions, holding that NYPD’s refusal to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records was consistent with FOIL and the cases construing it. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that it is permissible for an agency to decline to acknowledge possession of responsive records when the fact that responsive records exist would itself reveal information protected under a FOIL exemption. View "Abdur-Rashid v. New York City Police Department" on Justia Law

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Aponte moved into his mother's one-bedroom New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)-owned apartment and cared for her until she died in 2012. Two requests for Aponte to be granted permanent permission to live with his mother were denied. After she died, Aponte requested to be allowed to lease her apartment as a "remaining family member." NYCHA denied his request, finding that Aponte lacked permanent permission to reside in the apartment; management properly denied such permission because Aponte's presence would have violated occupancy rules for overcrowding. A person lacking permanent permission to reside in an apartment is not eligible for RFM status. The Court of Appeals upheld the denial. Under its rules, NYCHA could not have granted Aponte permanent permission to reside in his mother's apartment, and thus could not have granted his request for RFM status. NYCHA's rules contemplate that a tenant may require a live-in home-care attendant, either for a transient illness or the last stages of life, and expressly allow for such an attendant as a temporary resident, even if that permission will result in "overcrowding," regardless of whether the attendant is related to the tenant. NYCHA's policy is not arbitrary and capricious for not allowing Aponte to bypass the 250,000-household waiting line as a reward for enduring an "overcrowded" living situation while caring for his mother. View "Aponte v Olatoye" on Justia Law

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Equitable apportionment ensuring that employers’ insurance carriers pay their equitable share of litigation expenses incurred by injured workers who obtain recoveries from a third-party tortfeasor should not turn solely on the label given to a claimant’s award but must take into account the certainty of the award at the time a third-party matter is resolved. In this case a third-party settlement was consummated before a workers’ compensation award was determined. The Workers’ Compensation Board misinterpreted the Court of Appeals’ precedents as requiring that litigation costs apportioned against all schedule loss of use awards be either assigned at the time of the third-party settlement or not at all. The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division concluding that the award of workers’ compensation benefits was of a type the Court of Appeals had indicated had an ascertainable present value, and therefore, the claimant was not entitled to a post-settlement apportionment of the litigation expenses contemplated for other types of awards. View "Terranova v. Lehr Construction Co." on Justia Law