Articles Posted in New York Court of Appeals

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At issue was whether, prior to the use of affix and mail service of Notices of Violation (NOVs) issued by Department of Building inspectors who discover building code violations, the New York City Charter requires more than a single attempt to personally serve the NOV at the premises. The Environmental Control Board (ECB) sustained Petitioner’s code violations, rejecting Petitioner’s argument that the NOVs were not properly served because more than one attempt at personal service is required prior to the use of the alternative affix and mail procedure authorized in New York City Chapter 1049-a(d)(2)(a)(ii). The Appellate Division confirmed the determination. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the agency properly interpreted New York City Charter 1049-a(d)(2)(b) to require only one attempt at personal service of an NOV at the premises prior to resorting to the affix and mail procedure; and (2) thus, the seven NOVs that were reviewed in the administrative hearings were properly served. View "Mestecky v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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Three petitions challenged the validity of regulations of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) governing the relicensing of recidivist drunk driving offenders and sought restoration of their driving privileges. The first two petitioners in this case were convicted of drunk driving for a third time, and the third petitioner was convicted of drunk driving for a sixth time. The driver’s licenses of all three petitioners were revoked pursuant to the Vehicle and Traffic Law. The Court of Appeals rejected the petitioners’ challenges and affirmed, holding that the lower courts properly upheld the regulations and their application to the petitioners’ relicensing applications as a valid exercise of the delegated authority of the Commissioner of the DMV. View "Acevedo v. New York State Department of Motor Vehicles" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged in both Queens and Richmond Counties with committing numerous sex offenses against four children. Defendant pleaded guilty. When Defendant’s release date was approaching, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders prepared a case summary and risk assessment instrument (RAI) as required by the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). The Board did not recommend any points under risk factor seven, entitled “relationship with victim.” At the SORA hearing, the court assessed twenty points under risk factor seven and ultimately assessed Defendant a total of 125 points, rendering him a presumptive risk level three. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that Supreme Court did not err in assessing points under risk factor seven. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the lower courts erred in assessing twenty points under risk factor seven. View "People v. Cook" on Justia 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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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