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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An officer or employee must possesses the appropriate license or permit only if he or she is performing duties that require such a license or permit


An officer or employee must possesses the appropriate license or permit only if he or she is performing duties that require such a license or permit
Ricket v Mahan, 2012 NY Slip Op 05773, Appellate Division, Third Department

One of the issues considered by the Appellate Division in this appeal was the allegation that the Town of Colonie appointed an individual to the office of Commissioner of Public Works who was unqualified for the position.

In this instance the court found that the individual appointed to the position of Commissioner of Public Works was selected based on his "administrative experience and qualifications for the duties of the office” and that  he was not required to possess a specific license or engineering degree to perform the duties of the position to which he had been appointed.

Noting that an investigation conducted by the State's Education Department determined that the Commissioner had not engaged in the practice of engineering while serving in the position, the Appellate Division concluded that the challenged appointee “has not engaged in nor was he required to practice engineering while holding this position."

This ruling reflects "the law of the case" set out in Matter of Martin as Administrator (Lekkas), 86 AD2d 712.

In Lekkas an Assistant Clinical Physician holding a permanent appointment with the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities was terminated from his position without notice or hearing because he did not obtain a license to practice medicine issued by the Education Department (Education Law §8522) set out in the minimum qualifications for appointment to the title Assistant Clinical Physician.

The issue arose after the Education Law was amended to require persons previously appointed as physicians to obtain a license to practice medicine. Lekkas had been appointed to the position Assistant Clinical Physician prior to the amendment but had not obtained a New York State license to practice medicine within the prescribed time period.

Affirming the lawfulness of summarily discharging an employee without notice and hearing if the worker is unable to produce his or her required license or permit necessary to perform the duties of the position when requested to do so, the Appellate Division ruled that summary termination was permitted only if the duties actually being performed required the possession of the license or permit.

Lekkas, however, was performing administrative duties rather than “practicing medicine.” 

Ruling that no license was mandated by law to perform administrative duties, notwithstanding Lekkas’ title of  “Assistant Clinical Physician,” the court concluded that his removal from his position was subject to the notice and hearing provisions of §75 of the Civil Service Law.

The Ricket decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_05773.htm

Examination for Fire Lieutenant prepared by the New York State Department Civil Service held job related


Examination for Fire Lieutenant prepared by the New York State Department Civil Service held job related

In a Title VII suit against the City of Buffalo (City) claiming race discrimination in the administration of the 1998 and 2002 promotional examinations for the position of fire lieutenant, district court's judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed where:

1. On plaintiffs' disparate impact challenge to the 1998 examination, the district court did not clearly err in finding that the defendant carried its burden to demonstrate that the examination's job relatedness by showing that the test derived from a valid statewide job analysis indicating the fire lieutenants across New York performed the same critical tasks required the same critical skills and in finding that the [New York State] Civil Service Department exercised reasonable competence in designing the examination and that the examination was both content related and representative;

2. On plaintiffs' disparate treatment challenge, the district court correctly concluded that plaintiffs could not re-litigate questions of job relatedness and business necessity decided against them at the bench trial of their disparate impact claims and that plaintiffs had not established a genuine material of fact that the City intentionally discriminated against African Americans by using the 1998 test results; and

3. On plaintiffs' Title VII challenge to the 2002 examination, the district court correctly relied on collateral estoppel to grant summary judgment in favor of the City because the only matters in dispute had been resolved in the earlier challenge to the 1998 examination and there was sufficient identity between the plaintiffs in both suits.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

An individual may not rely on the actions of another party to toll the running of the Statute of Limitations for filing a timely Article 78 petition


An individual may not rely on the actions of another party to toll the running of the Statute of Limitations for filing a timely Article 78 petition
Portnoy v Board of Educ. of City School Dist. of City of N.Y., 20 Misc.3d 1119(A)

This decisions sets out some of reasons that a court may consider in rejecting arguments that actions by another party served to toll the relevant statute of limitations.

Noting that the four-month period of the statute of limitations begins to run when the determination made by the agency becomes final and binding, Judge Madden said that:

[1] A request for reconsideration of an administrative determination does not toll or revive the statute of limitations, even when the agency reconsiders its determination or negotiates with individual regarding modification of the administrative decision.

[2] A statute of limitations is not tolled should the individual seeks redress through a procedure that subsequently turns out to be unavailable.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/pdfs/2008/2008_31933.pdf

Monday, July 30, 2012

Judicial review of disciplinary determination of guilt is limited to considering whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence


Judicial review of disciplinary determination of guilt is limited to considering whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence
Barthel v Town of Huntington, 2012 NY Slip Op 05738, Appellate Division, Second Department

The Director of the Department of Human Services of the Town of Huntington adopted the findings of a hearing officer, made after a hearing pursuant to Civil Service Law §75, which the employee guilty of certain disciplinary charges and terminated the individual's employment with the Town.

The Appellate Division dismissed the individual’s appeal on the merits, explaining that the standard of judicial review of an administrative determination made after a trial-type hearing required by law, at which evidence is taken, “is limited to considering whether the determination was supported by substantial evidence.”

In this instance, said the court, there is substantial evidence in the record to support the determination that the individual was guilty of the subject disciplinary charges.

As to the penalty imposed, termination, the Appellate Division found that dismissal “was not so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness,” citing Ellis v Mahon, 11 NY3d 754; Rutkunas v Stout, 8 NY3d 897, Waldren v Town of Islip, 6 NY3d 735 and Pell v Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_05738.htm

Using employer’s computer to store sexually explicit files results in recommendation the employee be terminated


Using employer’s computer to store sexually explicit files results in recommendation the employee be terminated
Human Resources Admin. v. Vila, OATH Index No. 1578/08

OATH Administrative Law Judge Julio Rodriguez recommended termination for a paralegal aide who used the agency computer to store thousands of unauthorized images and video clips, many of which were sexually explicit, as well as other programs and files.

The evidence also showed that the individual was insubordinate and committed multiple time and leave violations.

 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

School district not liable for losses suffered by employees participating in its Tax Deferred Annuity Plan


School district not liable for losses suffered by employees participating in its Tax Deferred Annuity Plan
Elmira Teachers' Assn. v Elmira City School Dist., 53 AD3d 757

The Elmira City School District offered its employees an opportunity to participate in a Tax Deferred Annuity Plan pursuant to Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. The District designated Horizon Benefits Administration, Inc. to act as the third-party administrator of the District's plan. Employees electing to participate in the program, which was voluntary, entered into a salary reduction agreement (SRA) with the District authorizing moneys to transferred to a custodial bank where the funds were then distributed to various vendors of investment products selected by the participants.

In addition to serving as the Plan’s administrator, Horizon offered an “investment option” known as ChoicesUnlimited to participants that gave them access to various mutual funds.

As the result of an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General, Horizon's assets were frozen and the company was eventually liquidated. District employees who had elected to participate in Horizon's ChoicesUnlimited investment account lost money while those electing other investment vehicles processed by Horizon did not suffer any similar loss.

The Teachers’ Association and four teachers that had lost money then sued the District for “breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent retention, negligent supervision and negligent misrepresentation.”

The School District moved to have the lawsuit dismissed, contending that the “hold harmless provision” in the SRA controlled. The “hold harmless” provision relied upon by the District provided that "[t]he Employee agrees that the Employer shall have no liability whatsoever for any loss suffered by the Employee with regard to his [or her] selection of an insurance company or mutual fund, or the solvency of, operation of, or benefits provided by said insurance company or mutual fund company".*

The Appellate Division agreed with the District, noting that the “hold harmless” provision was clear and unambiguous, and clearly intended to encompass a situation where the plan participants who lost money did so because they selected a particular investment option offered by Horizon in its capacity as a vendor of investment products rather than some other investment vehicle.

The court found it significant that “there is no evidence that the plan participants who selected alternative investment options and deposited their money in funds offered by other vendors suffered losses as a result of Horizon's liquidation even though it was the overall plan administrator.” Accordingly, the Appellate Division concluded that “the hold harmless provision is applicable and precludes [the Teachers’ Association] from asserting causes of action against [District] arising from Horizon's ultimate liquidation.

* See, also, Meirowitz v Bayport-Bluepoint Union Free School Dist., 57 AD3d 858, in which the Appellate Division that a “save harmless clause” barred employees and retirees from recouping Tax Deferred Plan investment losses from the school district.

Comment: Education Law Article 8-c, Special Annuity, addresses tax deferred annuity programs available to certain employees of the State and political subdivisions of the State. Section 299.2, in pertinent part, provides: Neither the state, or a political subdivision thereof, nor an employer shall be a party to any annuity contract purchased or custodial account established in whole or in part with payments pursuant to said agreement, and no retirement, death or other benefit shall be payable by the state, or political subdivision thereof, or by an employer under such agreement or such annuity contract or custodial account.

The Elmira Teachers’ Association decision is posted on the Internet at:

The Meirowitz decision is posted on the Internet at:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Civil Service Law – an 1888 perspective


The Civil Service Law – an 1888 perspective

In 1888 William Harrison Clark wrote a book, The Civil Service Law – A defense of its principles, with corroborative evidence from the works of many eminent American statesmen. It addresses a variety of topics, some of which are still relevant in today’s public personnel law arena.

The text of this historical volume is posted on the Internet at:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Alaska Supreme Court recognizes a union-relations privilege in confidential union-related communications and statutory protection against unfair labor practices


Alaska Supreme Court recognizes a union-relations privilege in confidential union-related communications and statutory protection against unfair labor practices
Source: Adjunct Law Prof Blog; http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/adjunctprofs/
Reproduced with permission. Copyright © 2012, Mitchell H. Rubinstein, Esq., Adjunct Professor of Law, St. Johns Law School and New York Law School, All rights reserved.

The Alaska Supreme Court recognized a union-relations privilege in Peterson v. State of Alaska, No. S-14233, ___P.3d___, 2012 WL 2947636  (Alaska, July 20, 2012) [A copy of the decision may be downloaded [Download Peterson ]

The Court held that "[b]ased on the strong interest in confidential union-related communications and statutory protection against unfair labor practices, we hold [the state labor relations act] impliedly provides the State's union employees a union-relations privilege."  The reasoning employed by the Court - that "the proper functioning of [a] mandatory grievance and arbitration system . . . requires some protection for confidential communications made for the purpose of facilitating the rendition of grievance-related representative services to the employee" and that recognizing a privilege "harmonizes [the state labor relations act]'s strong public policy in favor of contractual resolution of labor disputes with the civil discovery rules" - should be useful in other states and in other settings where this issue frequently arises.

This is a major decision. It is my hope that other states will follow suit. I wrote a law review article on this topic a few years ago, Is a Full Labor Relations Evidentiary Privilege Developing? 29 Berkeley Journal of Labor and Employment Law 221 (2008), available here

Though this decision arose in the public sector, there is no reason why this decision would not be applicable to private employers. The policies behind the Alaska statute and the NLRA are virtually identical and the policies and need for the recognition of this privilege are certainly identical. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Prohibition against personal use of state property by State officers and employees and other political campaign matters


Prohibition against personal use of state property by State officers and employees and other political campaign matters
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo - Executive Order 8.2*

With partisan political campaigning approaching, State officers and employees should keep in mind the mandates of Executive Order 7.7 promulgated by former Governor David A. Paterson.

Continued in effect by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via his Executive Order 8.2, former Governor Paterson's Executive Order 7.7 states that "it is the obligation of every State employee and officer to pursue a course of conduct that will not engender public concern as to whether the individual is engaged in acts that may violate his or her public trust; and all State employees therefore must act in a manner consistent with that public trust, and must not take any actions that are intended, or appear to be intended, to achieve personal gain or benefit; State supplies, equipment, computers, personnel and other resources may not be utilized for non-governmental purposes, including for personal purposes or for outside activities of any kind."

Significantly, E.O. 7.7 declares that "The designation ‘personal’ on agency stationery means only that the contents are meant for the personal viewing of the addressee and not that the sender is acting unofficially. All letters and other written materials printed on such official stationery are considered official, and thus the designation ‘unofficial’ has no meaning and may not be used." Presumably this means that any such writing will not enjoy any privilege preventing disclosure of its contents.

Further, E.O.7.7 cautions that "any violation of this order may result in dismissal or other appropriate sanction as determined by the appointing authority of the individual committing such violation."

* Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 8.2, which continues in force a number of Executive Orders issued by former Governors of New York State, is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.governor.ny.gov/executiveorder/2

NOTE: Executive Order 8.2 indicates that this is the 2nd Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo.  Executive Orders issued by previous governors are designated 1.xx, 2.xx, 3.xx, etc., commencing with Executive Order 1.1 issued by the late Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.

Dismissal of action to place employee on involuntary Section 72.1 leave recommended


Dismissal of action to place employee on involuntary Section 72.1 leave recommended
Housing Auth. v. Anonymous, OATH Index No. 1867/08

Oath Administrative Law Judge Joan Salzman recommended dismissal of the Housing Authority’s petition seeking to place a housing assistant on involuntary leave pursuant to Section 72 of the Civil Service Law.

Although the employee has a seizure disorder, and has had seizures while at work, the ALJ ruled that the Authority did not prove that his condition rendered him currently unfit to perform his duties.

The ALJ noted that the individual has only recently been given a correct diagnosis and treatment and that he demonstrated a continuing ability to perform his job.

As the Court of Appeals held in Matter of Sheeran v New York State Dept. of Transp., 18 NY3d 61 [Decided with Birnbaum v NYS Department of Labor], the procedural safeguards set out in Civil Service Law §72.1 are available to an employee if employer bars his or her return to work from sick leave.

A summary of the Court of Appeals’ ruling is posted on the Internet at:
http://publicpersonnellaw.blogspot.com/2011/11/procedural-safeguards-set-out-in-civil.html

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A false statement of fact is a necessary element in proving a cause of action alleging defamation


A false statement of fact is a necessary element in proving a cause of action alleging defamation
Goldberg v Levine, 2012 NY Slip Op 05613, Appellate Division, Second Department

Supreme Court dismissed Barry Goldberg’s petition seeking to recover damages for alleged defamation based upon certain written and oral statements allegedly made about him by the Steven Levine at town board meetings and in a local newspaper. Goldberg appealed.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, explaining that in determining whether a complaint states a cause of action to recover damages for defamation, “the dispositive inquiry” is whether a reasonable listener or reader could have concluded that the statements were conveying facts about the complaining party.

Falsity, said the court, is a necessary element in a defamation cause of action and only facts are capable of being proven false. Accordingly, it follows that “only statements alleging facts can properly be the subject of a defamation action.”

Characterizing certain of Levine’s statements that Goldberg alleged were made at Town Board meetings and in a local newspaper as “rhetorical hyperbole” and expressions of “individual opinion,” the court said “accepting these allegations in [Goldberg’s] complaint as true … they fail to state a cause of action to recover damages for defamation.”

The Appellate Division also observed that “the documentary evidence submitted by [Levine] demonstrated that the Levine's statements … were substantially true” and  "Truth is an absolute defense to an action based on defamation."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Attorney may not withdraw from an OATH hearing without his or her client’s permission


Attorney may not withdraw from an OATH hearing without his or her client’s permission

Under rules of the New York City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, an attorney who has filed a notice of appearance may not withdraw from representation without the client's permission or as delineated in the Code of Professional Responsibility.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Ingrid Addison denied an attorney's motion to withdraw based on the accused employee's failure to appear at the hearing and the attorney's inability to contact him.

The ALJ found no indication that the attorney had taken steps to avoid prejudice to the employee, including giving due notice of her intention to withdraw.

The hearing continued not withstanding the employee's absence.

A “citizen action” challenging the State’s settlement of earlier litigation involving payment of damages by the State dismissed


A “citizen action” challenging the State’s settlement of earlier litigation involving payment of damages by the State dismissed
Santora v Silver,
20 Misc.3d 836, Modified and Affirmed, 61 A.D.3d 621, Motion to appeal denied, 13 N.Y.3d 704

This “citizen taxpayer action” pursuant to State Finance Law Section 123 et seq., sought money damages from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his former chief legal counsel, James Michael Boxley for the sum paid by the State of New York in settlement of a prior action entitled Jane Doe v The New York State Assembly, et al, Sup. Ct., Albany County, Index No. 33 14/04 (the Jane Doe action).

Ultimately The Jane Doe action was settled for $507,500 with the State of New York paying $500,000, conditioned on the approval of all appropriate state officials in accordance with the provisions for indemnification under Section 17 of the Public Officers Law.* $7,500 was paid contributed by Boxley, who was represented by private counsel in that litigation.

In this action, Joseph J. Santora sued in an effort to obtain a court order directing “restitution to [the State] from Silver and Boxley of the ‘$480,000’ that was paid by [the State] in settlement of the Jane Doe action.” In addition, Santora sought “money damages for the value of the legal services provided by the Attorney General in connection with his defense of Silver in the Jane Doe action, and argues that the Attorney General must be prevented from appearing in the present action on behalf of Silver.”

Judge Goodman dismissed the complaint filed by Santora against Silver and Boxley for the following reasons:

1. The complaint fails to allege any illegal or wrongful expenditure of state funds on Silver’s behalf, even if Silver had demonstrated leadership that would have led to an entirely different and more acceptable outcome. A claim that state funds are not being spent wisely is patently insufficient to satisfy the minimum threshold for standing under the [relevant] statute.”

2. The Attorney General’s representation of public officers does not entail the expenditure of public funds within the meaning of the State Finance Law … and [the Court is powerless to undertake] judicial scrutiny of statutorily-mandated non-fiscal activity of the Attorney General.”

3. Boxley was represented by private counsel in the Jane Doe action; and he was personally responsible for $7,500 of the total settlement paid to Jane Doe.

* Section 18 of the Public Officers Law permits political subdivisions of the State to elect to provide for representation and indemnification of its officers and employees sued as the result of the performance of, or the failure to perform, official duties.

The Supreme Court’s decision is posted on the Internet at:

The Appellate Division’s decision is posted on the Internet at:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An official significantly involved in the prosecution of a disciplinary action brought against an employee should not participate in making the final determination


An official significantly involved in the prosecution of a disciplinary action brought against an employee should not participate in making the final determination
Ashe v Town Bd. of The Town of Crown Point, N.Y., 2012 NY Slip Op 05693, Appellate Division, Third Department

The Town Board of the Town of Crown Point filed disciplinary charges against one of its employees pursuant to Civil Service Law §75.

The Board conducted the hearing rather than appointing a hearing officer hear the charges and make findings of fact and a recommendation as to the disposition of the charges. The Town Supervisor was the primary person to present proof in support of the charge.

Ultimately the employee was, a divided vote found guilty of misconduct and terminated from his employment with the Town Supervisor participating in the Board’s voting on the charge and penalty. The Supervisor voted in favor of the prevailing determination to find the employee guilty and terminate his employment with the Town.

The employee challenged the Board’s action.

As to the role of the Town Supervisor in the proceeding and adjudication, the Appellate Division, citing Matter of Baker v Poughkeepsie City School Dist., 18 NY3d 714, noted that "Although '[i]nvolvement in the disciplinary process does not automatically require recusal,' . . . individuals 'who are personally or extensively involved in the disciplinary process should disqualify themselves from . . . acting on the charges.'"

Finding that the Town Supervisor “was extensively involved as she presented virtually all of the proof in support of the charge,” the court concluded that the Town Supervisor should have disqualified herself from voting on the final determination.

Considering a procedural challenge made by the Town concerning the employee’s appeal, the Appellate Division commented that although an objection to a particular hearing officer generally must be timely asserted at the hearing to preserve the issue for appeal, it is incumbent upon a person who has been extensively involved in the disciplinary process to "disqualify himself or herself from [involvement in] rendering a final determination," [emphasis supplied].

Finding that the Town Supervisor was extensively involved in the disciplinary proceeding but did not recuse herself from participating in the determination, the Appellate Division ruled that the determination must be annulled and the matter remitted to Town Board for a de novo determination based on the record.

On this last point, the court noted that it appeared that the Board considered events that occurred after the misconduct alleged in the charges and the hearing. Accordingly, it said, the Board’s determination should not consider any such post-hearing events.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_05693.htm


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Free speech does not protect individuals using epithets


Free speech does not protect individuals using epithets
Charles Williams v Town of Greenburgh, et al, 535 F.3d 71

A governmental entity may be sued for allegedly suppressing an individual’s Constitutional protected Freedom of Speech.

In the Williams case, the Second Circuit addressed, among other things, Williams’ allegation that the Town of Greenburgh’s actions against him were taken in retaliation for his exercising his right to free speech when it expelled him from a town facility and prosecuted him for trespass.

In addressing this aspect of Williams’ petition, the Second Circuit explained that it has “described the elements of a First Amendment retaliation claim in several ways, depending on the factual context, comparing Curley v. Village of Suffern, 268 F.3d 65, 73 (2d Cir. 2001) (requiring a private citizen who sued a public official to show: “(1) [the plaintiff] has an interest protected by the First Amendment; (2) defendants’ actions were motivated or substantially caused by his exercise of that right; and (3) defendants’ actions effectively chilled the exercise of his First Amendment right”), with Johnson v. Ganim, 342 F.3d 105, 112 (2d Cir. 2003) (requiring evidence of “adverse employment action” where plaintiff was a public employee), and Gill v. Pidlypchak, 389 F.3d 379, 380 (2d Cir. 2004) (requiring, in the prison context, an adverse action by defendants and a causal connection between the adverse action and the protected speech).

Regardless of the factual context, said the court, it has required a plaintiff alleging retaliation to establish that his or her speech was protected by the First Amendment.

Citing Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, the Circuit Court noted that “There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or “fighting” words — those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.”

Resort to epithets or personal abuse is not in any proper sense communication of information or opinion safeguarded by the Constitution, and its punishment as a criminal act would raise no question under that instrument.

The court concluded that because Williams could not show that his speech was either silenced or chilled — i.e., that his right to free speech was actually violated — his claim failed as a matter of law and sustained the district court’s granting the Town’s motion for summary judgment dismissing his petition.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1124970.html

A so-called “Zipper Clause” bars considering the terms of a stipulation of settlement resolving grievances brought under an earlier CBA


A so-called “Zipper Clause” bars considering the terms of a stipulation of settlement resolving grievances brought under an earlier CBA
Local 2841 of N.Y. State Law Enforcement Officers Union, AFSCME, AFL-CIO v City of Albany, 53 AD3d 974

A stipulation of settlement was entered into by Local 2841 and the City of Albany to resolve a number of grievances filed under the then Collective Bargaining Agreement [CBA]. By its terms, the stipulation “could not be modified or rescinded absent a subsequent writing of the parties.”

Subsequently the Local and the City negotiated and executed a successor CBA.

In the course of resolving a grievance brought under the new CBA, the arbitrator found that the stipulation made under the earlier CBA had not been modified or rescinded by any writing of the parties. Further, the arbitrator deemed the stipulation of settlement to be a rule of the Albany Police Department and, therefore, concluded that the City violated the terms of the CBA by not complying with its provisions.

The Appellate Division disagreed and vacated the arbitrator’s award.

The court said that “inasmuch as the successor CBA represents the entire agreement between the parties, it was not proper for the arbitrator to rely on the ‘stipulation of settlement’ flowing from the earlier CBA in resolving the instant grievance.”

“Accordingly,” ruled the Appellate Division, “the arbitrator exceeded his power in amending the terms of the CBA by considering that stipulation of settlement in contravention of an expressed term of the CBA which prohibited amending, modifying or deleting any provision thereof,” presumably viewing a term in the successor CBA as constituting “a subsequent writing of the parties” modifying or rescinding the terms of the stipulation of settlement entered into under the earlier CBA.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_06421.htm

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Termination of employee for poor attitude and aggressive behavior recommended


Termination of employee for poor attitude and aggressive behavior recommended
 
A Bridge and Tunnel Officer drew his firearm and pointed it at a customer after the customer reached into a bag during a dispute at the Queens Midtown Tunnel tollbooth.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Alessandra Zorgniotti found that the employee’s use of his firearm was reasonable but recommended his dismissal because the incident stemmed from his proven discourtesy and unexplained refusal to process the customer's toll.

The ALJ found that the respondent's significant history of customer complaints relating to his poor attitude and aggressive behavior made him a threat to public safety.

The Doctrine of Maintenance and Cure provides seamen with a workers’ compensation type of benefit


The Doctrine of Maintenance and Cure provides seamen with a workers’ compensation type of benefit
Messier v Bouchard Transp., USCA, 2nd Circuit, Docket #10-5181

The Doctrine of Maintenance and Cure has been compared to workers’ compensation benefits in that the duty arises from employment and “does not rest upon negligence or culpability on the part of the owner or master.” As the Second Circuit said in Weiss v. Cent. R.R. Co. of N.J., 235 F.2d 309, maintenance and cure has been called “a kind of nonstatutory workmen’s compensation” benefit.

Under the Doctrine, the owner of the vessel is obligated to provide food, lodging, and medical services to a seaman while in he or she is in service. The Doctrine entitles an injured seaman to three remedies —maintenance, cure, and wages. The general rule is that “maintenance and cure” is available for any injury or illness that occurs during a seaman’s service.

A seaman filed a complaint in federal district court asserting claims for negligence under the federal Jones Act* and for "maintenance and cure under general maritime law."** Ultimately he withdrew all claims other than those for “Maintenance and Cure.”

Reversing the district court’s dismissal of the seaman’s petition, the Circuit Court of Appeals said that “Maintenance” compensates the injured seaman for food and lodging expenses during his medical treatment. “Cure” refers to the reasonable medical expenses incurred in the treatment of the seaman’s condition while lost wages are provided in addition to maintenance on the rationale that “maintenance compensates the injured seaman for food and lodging, which the seaman otherwise receives free while on the ship.”

“The obligation to provide maintenance and cure payments,” however, “does not furnish the seaman with a source of lifetime or long-term disability income.” An eligible seaman is entitled to maintenance and cure only “until he [or she] reaches maximum medical recovery,” i.e., “until such time as the incapacity is declared to be permanent.”

Citing Farrell v. United States, 336 U.S. 511, the Circuit Court noted that the Supreme Court ruled that … “where a seaman has reached the point of maximum medical cure and maintenance and cure payments have been discontinued, the seaman may nonetheless reinstitute a demand for maintenance and cure where subsequent new curative medical treatments become available."

The Circuit Court than cautioned: “The analogy to workers’ compensation, however, can be misleading, because maintenance and cure is a far more expansive remedy. First, although it is limited to 'the seaman who becomes ill or is injured while in the service of the ship,' it is not restricted to those cases where the seaman’s employment is the cause of the injury or illness. '[T]he obligation can arise out of a medical condition such as a heart problem, a prior illness that recurs during the seaman’s employment, or an injury suffered on shore'.”

Further said the court, “the doctrine is ‘so broad’ that ‘negligence or acts short of culpable misconduct on the seaman’s part will not relieve the shipowner of the responsibility.’” Accordingly, the doctrine may apply even if a seaman is injured or falls ill off-duty or while on shore leave, so long as the seamen is “in the service of the ship,” which means he is “generally answerable to its call to duty rather than actually in performance of routine tasks or specific orders.”

Another difference pointed out by the court: a seaman may be entitled to maintenance and cure even for a preexisting medical condition that recurs or becomes aggravated during his or her service.

Accordingly, the Circuit Court remanded the matter to the district court to “proceed to trial on the amount of maintenance and cure due” the seaman.

* 46 United States Code 883.[See, in particular, 46 USC 30104, Personal injury to or death of seamen.]

** A seaman who is required to sue a shipowner to recover maintenance and cure may also recover attorney fees [Vaughan v. Atkinson, 369 U.S. 527].

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/cd687548-b977-4833-8f81-7edb94f3058a/2/doc/10-5181_opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/cd687548-b977-4833-8f81-7edb94f3058a/2/hilite/

Retired teacher ruled entitled to enroll new spouse in the District’s health insurance plan under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement


Retired teacher ruled entitled to enroll new spouse in the District’s health insurance plan under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement
Bower v Board of Educ., Cazenovia Cent. School Dist., 53 AD3d 967

Retired from his teaching position with Cazenovia Central School District, at which time he was enrolled as an individual participant in the district's group health insurance plan, the retired teacher subsequently married and asked the District to change his health insurance to family coverage so that his wife would be covered. The district refused, contending that a retired teacher is not permitted to change his or her health insurance coverage.

The retiree sued, arguing that (1) the applicable collective bargaining agreement permitted him to change his coverage and (2) the district's refusal violated the statutory moratorium against reducing health insurance benefits of retirees unless there was a corresponding reduction for active employees.

Supreme Court held that retiree had the right under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement to change his health insurance coverage to include his new spouse. The District appealed, only to the Appellate Division affirm the lower court’s ruling.

The Appellate Division noted that Article XXII of the agreement provided that "[a]ll bargaining unit personnel currently employed or retired from [the district] who are legally eligible may participate in the . . . health insurance program," and that Appendix G to the agreement, sets forth individual coverage and family coverage as the "two types of enrollment" available, pointed out that a section in the agreement entitled "ENROLLMENT CHANGES" recognized that "[c]hanges in your family status may make it necessary or desirable for you to change the coverage for which you are enrolled," and states, in relevant part, that "[y]ou may request a change from individual coverage to [f]amily coverage . . . [t]o provide coverage for a newly acquired spouse."

As there is nothing in the collective bargaining agreement to indicate that "you" in this provision was not intended to include retired employees, the Appellate Division said that “Reading the relevant provisions as a whole, we agree with Supreme Court that the agreement permitted the retiree to add his spouse to his health insurance.”

The full text of the decision is posted at:

Appointing authority’s decision to terminate an employee found guilty of misconduct may not be set aside if supported by substantial evidence


Appointing authority’s decision to terminate an employee found guilty of misconduct may not be set aside if supported by substantial evidence
Guerrero v Scoppetta, 53 AD3d 615

The New York City Fire Commissioner, adopting the recommendation of a hearing officer, found a New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Technician [EMT] guilty of a number of charges of misconduct and terminating his employment.

The Appellate Division said that the finding that finding that the employee was guilty of the charges was supported by substantial evidence.

Substantial evidence, said the court, is "less than a preponderance of the evidence, overwhelming evidence or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt" and here New York City Fire Department records, the testimony of numerous witnesses and the EMT, and a videotape of the incidents on which the determination was based, provided "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate"

Judicial review of an administrative determination made after a hearing required by law is limited to whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence. The Appellate Division dismissed the EMT’s appeal, holding that as the Commissioner’s determination was supported by substantial evidence, it may not be set aside.

The full text of the decision is posted at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_06375.htm


Monday, July 23, 2012

A factual demonstration to support allegations that an individual was denied a fair hearing by an administrative tribunal is critical to rebutting the presumption of honesty and integrity accorded to administrative bodies



A factual demonstration to support allegations that an individual was denied a fair hearing by an administrative tribunal is critical to rebutting the presumption of honesty and integrity accorded to administrative bodies
Dutrow v New York State Racing & Wagering Bd., 2012 NY Slip Op 05699, Appellate Division, Third Department

One of the issues in this appeal challenging a disciplinary action taken against an individual by the New York State Racing & Wagering Board was a claim that the target of a disciplinary action by the Board was deprived of a fair hearing as a result of the refusal of Board’s chair, John Sabini, to recuse himself from the proceeding.

Sabini, in addition to serving as the Board’s chair, was an unpaid officer of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, an organization devoted to maintaining a multi-jurisdictional database of licensed horse racing professionals' disciplinary histories.Sabini, however, had no prior official involvement with, and made no appearance in, this case stemming from his position with the Association. 

The Association’s president, however, had informed Sabini that a United States Senator's office had inquired about the case. The Association's president also had publicly urged the Board to assess individual’s "suitability to continue his participation in racing." The court, however, observed that [1] Sabini was not bound to follow any suggestions made by the Association or its president and [2] there was nothing in the record indicating that Sabini took any action based upon these communications or otherwise "gave the impression that [he] had prejudged the facts."

The Appellate Division said that such a “bare allegation” that these communications led to bias is insufficient absent "a factual demonstration to support the allegation . . . and proof that the [adverse] outcome flowed from it."

As the accused individual had failed, in the words of the court, "to rebut the presumption of honesty and integrity accorded to administrative bodies," the Appellate Division held “it cannot be said that he was denied a fair hearing.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_05699.htm

Employee terminated for violating employer’s written policy ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits


Employee terminated for violating employer’s written policy ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits
Pagan v Commissioner of Labor, 53 AD3d 964

The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board disqualified an applicant for unemployment insurance benefits following his termination for accepting a designation to run as a candidate for the State Assembly, ruling that his employment was terminated due to misconduct.

The individual, employed by the New York City Housing Authority, had violated the Authority written policy prohibiting its staff members from running for political office in a partisan election.*

Noting that “It is well settled that "[v]iolation of an employer's reasonable policies may constitute disqualifying misconduct," the Appellate Division said that the Authority’s guidelines were established “to assure compliance with the Hatch Act (5 USC §1501 et seq.) and the City of New York’s Conflicts of Interest Board Rules.”

As the record indicated that the individual was aware of the Authority's guidelines prior to his termination and that he was afforded an opportunity to comply with the policy before any adverse action was taken against him by it, the court ruled that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination finding him guilty of disqualifying misconduct for the purposes of unemployment insurance benefits.

* A candidate seeking election to a school board is typically deemed to be seeking office in a “non-partisan” election.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_06414.htm

Employee entitled to go for a cancer-screening examination without loss of pay or charge to leave accruals


Employee entitled to go for a cancer-screening examination without loss of pay or charge to leave accruals
Moran v City of Saratoga Springs, et al, 21 Misc 3d 195

In Cruz et al v Wappingers CSD, Supreme Court, Dutchess County, Judge James V. Brand, Index #2197 /08 [not selected for publication in the Official Reports] a State Supreme Court ruled that Civil Service Law §159-b* requires employees to be paid for absences for cancer-screening examinations without charge to leave accruals and ordered the school district to restore sick leave accruals to three of its employees whom the district forced to use leave accruals in connection with absences for breast cancer screening.

In Moran, State Supreme Court Judge Thomas D. Nolan came to the same conclusion.

An City of Saratoga Springs employee took an hour off during the workday from her position in the City's accounts department to have a mammogram and reported this "leave of absence" on her weekly time report. The City's payroll department, however, advised Moran that she would not be paid for the one hour "leave", but if she wanted to be paid, she could charge the time against her accrued sick, personal or vacation leave.
The employee charged her absence to her leave accruals.

The Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000 (CSEA) asked the City restore those two hours to her accrued sick leave, stating that the §159-b leave was "to be paid leave" and that the City was in violation of the Civil Service Law when it required to charge her leave accruals or be deemed "on unpaid leave." The City refused to restore the employee’s leave credits to her and CSEA sued.

Judge Nolan said that the City's interpretation, though plausible, does not further the law's principal goal of encouraging public sector employees to be regularly screened for breast cancer. “Certainly,” said the court, “the screening leave was not intended to result in any financial detriment to the employee.” In addition, the court pointed out that the State's Civil Service Department's interpretation is that the statute provides for paid leave for New York State officers and employees with respect to the State as an employer.

Finding that the “legislative history” of §159-b is clear, the court concluded that the Legislature intended not only that annual cancer screening examinations would be excused and not be charged against any other leave, but also, that it would be a "paid" leave.**

In support of his conclusions, Judge Nolan cited two recent trial level court decisions – Cruz v Wappingers Cent. School Dist., [supra] and Fringuello v Wappingers Cent. School Dist., (Sup Ct, Dutchess County, July 15,2008, Dolan, J., index No. 2231/08, [Not selected for publication in the Official Reports].

Judge Nolan ruled that the City's determination to deny the employee paid leave of absence in connection with her absence for breast cancer screening "is arbitrary and capricious and cannot stand." Granting CSEA’s petition, the court order the City “to credit two hours to [the employee’s] sick leave accruals.

* §159-b.1, Excused leave to undertake a screening for breast cancer, provides, in pertinent part: “Every public officer, employee of this state, employee of any county, employee of any community college, employee of any public authority, employee of any public benefit corporation, employee of any board of cooperative educational services (BOCES), employee of any vocational education and extension board, or a school district enumerated in section one of chapter five hundred sixty-six of the laws of nineteen hundred sixty-seven, employee of any municipality, employee of any school district or any employee of a participating employer in the New York state and local employees' retirement system or any employee of a participating employer in the New York state teachers' retirement system….”

** The court's role in interpreting legislation was summarized in Matter of Monroe County Pub. School Dists. v Zyra (51 AD3d 125, 130

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Selected Reports issued by the Office of the State Comptroller during the week of July 16 - 22, 2012


Selected Reports issued by the Office of the State Comptroller during the week of July 16 - 22, 2012
Source: Office of the State Comptroller

DiNapoli to Audit SUNY Downstate Medical Center

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced Tuesday that his office has commenced an independent financial review of the financially–troubled State University of New York Downstate Medical Center and its affiliates.

DiNapoli: Queens Special Education Contractor Overcharged State $1.5 Million

Bilingual SEIT & Preschool Inc., a Queens–based provider of special education services, inappropriately charged New York City’s Department of Education by nearly $1.5 million for salaries, vehicle leases and items such as cosmetics and children’s furniture, according to an audit released Thursday by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The findings were referred to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases School Audit

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli Friday announced his office completed an audit of the Mayfield Central School District.

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli Friday announced his office completed the following audits: the Clarksville Volunteer Fire Company; the Town of Homer; the City of Kingston Police Department; and, the Village of Sodus.

Comptroller DiNapoli Announces Upcoming Training for Local Officials

Two webinars providing critical training for local government officials will be held in August.

A webinar providing an Update on the Property Tax Cap and a Demonstration of Multiyear Financial Planning will be held on August 7th, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participants will learn about common errors made during the 1st year of calculating the property tax levy limit and tips for avoiding those errors. They will also benefit from a demonstration of OSC’s multi–year financial planning tool. Local officials should register at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/838061582.

An Information Technology Governance webinar will be held on August 15th, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participants will gain an understanding of their responsibilities in managing government technology systems and how to properly protect electronic resources, data, and access to systems. Local officials should register at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/213023830.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Compensation for 12-hour work shifts and vacation and days off canceled not considered in determining retirement allowance


Compensation for 12-hour work shifts and vacation and days off canceled not considered in determining retirement allowance
Port Auth. Police Benevolent Assn., Inc. v Anglin, 54 AD3d 495

The New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System determined that an Port Authority Police Sergeant’s final average salary was $166,432.83, a figure that did not include any of the premium payments the Sergeant had received for having to work instead of taking vacation days, etc., after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. All Port Authority police officers, including the Sergeant, were required to work daily 12-hour shifts and all vacation and days off were cancelled following the attack.

When the Sergeant retired, the Retirement System did not include any of the premium payments he had received for having to work instead of taking vacation days in calculating his retirement allowance. At the hearing held pursuant  the Sergeant's request for recalculation of this amount to include this additional compensation, the Hearing Officer found that the premium payments for lost vacation days were properly excluded from the calculation of his final average salary. The Deputy Comptroller adopted the decision of the Hearing Officer, denying the Sergeant’s application for recalculation of his final average salary. The Sergeant  appealed.

The Appellate Division sustained the Deputy Comptroller’s determination.

The court said that the Comptroller is vested with exclusive authority to determine applications for retirement benefits within the meaning of the applicable statutes. Accordingly, it said "we will uphold a determination of what constitutes a retiree's final average salary as long as it is not irrational."

The Appellate Division then noted that Retirement and Social Security Law §302(9)(d) and §431(1) expressly exclude lump-sum payments for accumulated vacation credit, and it has previously held that this exclusion applies even though the payments are made biweekly rather than in a lump sum upon retirement.

In this instance the Sergeant was seeking to have included in his final average salary payments that were made pursuant to the vacation provisions of a collective bargaining agreement that were invoked when his vacation days were cancelled. These premium payments were made in lieu of vacation and in addition to the regular, straight rate of pay that he received for working his normal eight-hour shift and the overtime pay he received for the hours he worked each day after his normal shift.

According to the decision, the fact that “a national emergency required [the Sergeant] to forgo his vacation time does not render the payments any less extraordinary” and the relevant statutes “attach no significance to whether the extra compensation was for vacation time lost voluntarily or involuntarily.”

Dismissing the Sergeant’s appeal, the court said that the Retirement System’s conclusion that such payments were compensation for lost accrued vacation credit, rather than for overtime work under General Municipal Law §90, cannot be said to be irrational.

For the full text of the opinion, go to:

Not reporting for drug test without submitting documentation showing employee was unable to report constitutes a refusal to submit to drug testing


Not reporting for drug test without submitting documentation showing employee was unable to report constitutes a refusal to submit to drug testing
OATH Index No. 1977/08

OATH Administrative Law Judge Faye Lewis sustained a charge that a sanitation worker had refused to comply with an order to report to the clinic for random drug testing.

The employee submitted a doctor's note requesting excusal from work for seven days due to back pain. The doctor's note, however, did not indicate, that the employee was unable to travel to the clinic for his drug test.

ALJ Lewis credited Department's argument that since the worker was able to visit his own doctor's office, he should have been able to travel to the clinic the next day.

The penalty recommended by the ALJ under the facts of this case: Termination.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another FOIL Lesson: Be mindful of your audience


Another FOIL Lesson: Be mindful of your audience

Source Patrick M. Malgieri, Esq. – Posted on the NYMuniBlog* July 18, 2012 - Reprinted with the permission of NYMuniBlog

Another FOIL Lesson: Be mindful of your audience by Patrick M. Malgieri could be sub-title “Another example of the Doctrine of Unintended Consequences.”

Mr Malgieri writes:

“In a recent decision of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court determined that records exchanged by a state agency with a federal agency were not entitled to an exemption from disclosure under the state’s Freedom of Information Law set out in Article 6 of the New York Public Officers Law.**  In the case of Waterford v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 18 N.Y.3d 652, 944 N.Y.S.2d 429 (March 22, 2012), the town of Waterford sought to obtain from the DEC records relating to the joint DEC and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency project in the Hudson River dredging PCBs deposited in the Hudson River.  While DEC complied with a portion of the request, it denied access to certain records that had been exchanged between it and the EPA, claiming that the “inter-agency” exception set out in Section 87(2)(g) of the Public Officers Law exempted those records from disclosure.

“The court, in an opinion by Chief Judge Lippman, found that the term 'agency' as defined in Section 86(3) of the Public Officers Law included only state and municipal agencies.  As such, the EPA, as a federal agency, did not constitute an agency for purposes of FOIL.  Consequently, the inter-agency exemption did not apply to the materials exchanged between the state and federal agencies.

“DEC also argued that the 'intra-agency' exemption would be applicable to these records.  The Court of Appeals had long ago found that, in furtherance of the deliberative process, the intra-agency exception could extend to records exchanged between a public agency and outside consultants engaged by that agency. 
However, the court in Waterford declined to apply the exemption, finding that, in this instance, the EPA was the lead agency on the project and ‘was not retained by the DEC and does not function as its employee or agent.’

“Public officials would do well to keep in mind that all public records and communications are presumptively subject to disclosure unless the record or the circumstance falls within one of the relative handful of express exceptions set out in the Public Officers Law or an exception to disclosure set out in another statute or is covered under a statutory or common law privilege (such as the attorney-client privilege).  One of the easiest traps in which public officials may fall is when they communicate with or share a record with someone to whom the exception or privilege does not extend.  In Waterford, that someone was a federal agency which, although concededly a governmental entity, was not among the governmental agencies identified in the FOIL statute. 

“Another ready trap is when a record or communication is shared with or made to a group of individuals and/or entities (such as an e-mail to a large number of recipients), not all of whom fall within the exception or privilege. One stray recipient can unwittingly subject the entire record to disclosure.”

* You may register to receive the NYMuniBlog via e-mail at:

**  NYPPL Notes: The basic concept underlying FOIL is that all government documents and records, other than those having access specifically limited or prohibited by statute, are to be made available to the public. The custodian of the records or documents requested may elect, but is not required, to withhold those items that otherwise fall within the ambit of the several exceptions to such disclosure permitted by FOIL.

School officials have a duty to report suspected child abuse to the appropriate government agency


School officials have a duty to report suspected child abuse to the appropriate government agency
J.H. v. County of Nassau, 20 Misc 3d 1142(A)

J.H. v. County of Nassau the court considered the question of the fallout if school personnel file a report of alleged child abuse that is ultimately found to be incorrect. Could the employee be held liable for defamation if the report proved to be “unfounded?”

Citing Rine v. Chase, 309 AD2d 796, the court ruled that as the school was required to report the alleged abuse of maltreatment of a child to the appropriate child protective agency, neither the school nor the individual filing the report were liable notwithstanding the fact that ultimately the allegation was found to be “unfounded” as filing such reports were mandated by law

Not only do school personnel enjoy a qualified immunity in connection with reporting suspected child abuse in good faith, their failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

In Hoey v PERB, App. Div., 284 A.D.2d 633, teacher aides were given specific instructions to report any concerns about classroom matters -- they were to immediately bring them to the attention of the supervisor of special education or the school principal.

According to the decision, the aides becoming aware that a teacher had engaged in bizarre and inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature with one of the students.

About a month later they reported the teacher's suspected conduct to one of their union representatives rather than school administrators. Two days later the union representative told school administrators of the aides' report.

A number of other aides were terminated after being found guilty of insubordination for failing to follow a supervisor's directive and jeopardizing the safety of a child under their supervision by failing to timely report suspected child abuse.

Special officer found guilty of wrongfully showing her badge


Special officer found guilty of wrongfully showing her badge
OATH Index No. 1968/08

Administrative Law Judge John Spooner found that a special officer wrongfully displayed her badge in three off-duty incidents: once during a dispute with a laundromat attendant, and twice in discussion with a police sergeant, whom she asked to void a parking ticket because she is an officer.

The ALJ recommended that sixty-day suspension without pay be imposed as the penalty for the misconduct.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Determining if a quorum required to conduct official business is present


Determining if a quorum required to conduct official business is present
Formal Opinions of the Attorney General 2008-F1

It is not uncommon for a public board or council to have both voting members and ex officio non-voting members. In this instance the Attorney General was asked to advise the New York State Independent Living Council as to what constituted a quorum for the purpose of its conducting official business. The Council consisted of 24 voting members and a number of ex officio members, i.e., an individual holding membership on the Council by reason of his or her holding another position. The ex officio member in this instance was representative of State agencies that provided service for individuals with disabilities.

The Attorney General advised the Council that thirteen voting members of the Council were required to be present for the purposes of having a quorum and at least thirteen voting members must approve a motion for it to pass. 

Accordingly, the ex officio members could not be included among the thirteen members necessary to constitute a lawful quorum.

The full text of the opinion is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.oag.state.ny.us/bureaus/appeals_opinions/opinions/2008/Formal/2008-F1%20pw.pdf


Request for reconsideration of an administrative decision does not toll the statute of limitation


Request for reconsideration of an administrative decision does not toll the statute of limitation
Lavin v Lawrence, 54 AD3d 412

The Nassau County Civil Service Commission disqualified Andrew Lavin for appointment to a position as a Nassau County Police Officer on August 8.

The Appellate Division dismissed Lavin’s challenge to the Commission’s decision as time-barred pursuant to CPLR 217(1). The court said that the Commission’s decision became final and binding upon him on August 22, at the latest, when Lavin’s attorney received a letter from the Commission indicating that that it had reviewed the Lavin's “submissions in response to the original disqualification notice and adhered to that earlier determination.”

Noting that an individual’s request for additional time to take an administrative appeal and the Commission's review of the letters of recommendation sent by the individual did not act to toll the statute of limitations, the Appellate Division ruled that Lavin’s appeal filed on January 4 of the following year was untimely.

In contrast to the legal effect of an individual merely submitting a “request for reconsideration,” assume that the administrative body actually agrees to reconsider the matter and thereafter issues a new determination. In such a situation the statute of limitations will begin running from the date of the new “final determination.” This is the case even if the new “final determination” confirms the original administrative decision [see Raykowski v NYC DOT, 259 A.D.2d 367].

The full text of the Lavin decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_06644.htm

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Applicant for accidental disability retirement benefits must show that the disability resulted from “sudden mischance” unrelated to the ordinary risks of the job


Applicant for accidental disability retirement benefits must show that the disability resulted from “sudden mischance” unrelated to the ordinary risks of the job
Reynolds v DiNapoli, 2012 NY Slip Op 05374, Appellate Division, Third Department

A police officer was permanently disabled as the result of injuries sustained while attempting to subdue a suspect who had been handcuffed and placed in the rear of a police car. Although the officer’s application for performance of duty disability retirement benefits was approved, his application for accidental disability retirement benefits was denied by the Retirement System on the ground that the incident did not constitute an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law.

The officer appealed but the Appellate Division confirmed the System’s administrative decision.

The court said that in order to establish entitlement to accidental disability retirement benefits, an individual must demonstrate that the incident giving rise to the injuries was a sudden mischance unrelated to the ordinary risks of performing his or her job.

The decision noted that the denial of accidental disability retirement benefits when a law enforcement officer sustains an injury in the course of restraining a disruptive individual, as that type of physical contact is inherent in the performance of an officer's duties, has been consistently upheld by the court.

As the officer’s testimony indicated that he was injured in the course of attempting to subdue an unruly suspect, the Appellate Division said that it found that substantial evidence supported the Retirement System's determination.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

=======================

General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder and other disability retirement issues is available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click on http://section207.blogspot.com/ for additional information about this electronic reference manual.

========================



Law Blogs with a New York focus


Law Blogs with a New York focus

Of the 6,715 Blawgs in 75 subcategories cataloged reported by Justia on July 17, 2012, 277 are classified as Law Blogs with a New York focus. These 277 Law Blogs are listed below in the order of their “popularity” as reported by Justia.

[Note: This is a reposting of an earlier NYPPL post that was inadvertently “removed” from the Internet.]

Provides summary and commentary on selected court and administrative decisions and related matters affecting public employers and employees in New York State. By Harvey Randall, Esq.
Last Updated: July 16, 2012 - Rank Today: 11

Includes news, cases and commentary on real estate and property law in New York and nationwide. From Finkelstein Newman LLP.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 28

Covers New York medical malpractice, car accident and construction accident laws. By Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC.
Last Updated: July 01, 2012 - Rank Today: 37

Covers the relationship between art and law with a focus on intellectual property, nonprofit tax-exempt organizations, free speech, and contemporary art. By Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 62

Covers legal developments involving new technologies and the Internet. By Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 84

Provides a summary of an Appellate Division case of special interest to New York practitioners.
Last Updated: July 16, 2012 - Rank Today: 88

Covers medical malpractice and accident law in New York. By Gerry Oginski.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 125

Published by Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Last Updated: July 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 171

Covers virtual worlds and social media issues. By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
Last Updated: July 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 172

Covers personal injury law. By the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 173

Covers family law and traffic ticket information. By the Law Office of James B. Lesperance, Jr.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 182

Covers employeee benefits, ERISA, and employment law. By Stanley D. Baum.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 183

Covers futures, commodities and forex regulation. By Shipkevich Law Firm.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 201

Covers entertainment and publishing law. By Lloyd Jassin.
Last Updated: June 19, 2012 - Rank Today: 213

Covers business law, labor & employment, real estate and securities and finance topics. By Scarinci Hollenbeck.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 226

Covers New York insurance coverage cases and issues. By Roy A. Mura.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 229

Covers New York divorce law. By David Centeno.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 245

By the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 245

By the Langel Firm.
Last Updated: July 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 260

Discusses age, employment, racial, and sexual discrimination. By the Ottinger Firm.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 265

Covers business startup law. By Samuel C Berger, PC.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 279

Covers employment discrimination, severance, wage violations, sexual harassment and civil rights. By The Harman Firm, P.C.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 282

Features news, commentary and thoughts on the law of the securities markets. By Mark Astarita.
Last Updated: July 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 285

Covers commercial law and litigation, employment contracts, and consumer law. By The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman.
Last Updated: June 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 290

Covers long term disability news and updates. Published By New York attorneys, Frankel & Newfield, PC.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 298

By Leonard E. Sienko, Jr.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 299

Covers New York criminal law topics such as criminal procedure, DWI and traffic offenses, drugs and narcotics, fraud related offenses, and violent crimes. By New York criminal defense attorney, Jeremy Saland.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 304

Covers probate news, procedures and resources. By Philip M. Bernstein.
Last Updated: May 31, 2012 - Rank Today: 306

Covers motor vehicle accidents, injury law and workers' compensation. By Stark & Stark.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 319

By Neil Cahn, PLLC.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 339

Covers medical malpractice news in New York. By Stephen Bilkis.
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 340

Covers national and international agriculture issues. By Rincker Law PLLC.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 347

Covers criminal law topics. Published by New York attorney, Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 358

News and information gateway to web based services provided by the New York State Supreme Court Criminal Term Library in New York County.
Last Updated: December 14, 2010 - Rank Today: 359

Published by Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Last Updated: July 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 366

Covers New York business, internet and commercial real estate law.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 373

Covers workers' compensation law and drug injuries. By Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 375

Covers auto accidents, civil rights, construction accidents and personal injury. By Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 410

Covers health law and compliance issues. By The Health Law Partners.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 419

Covers immigration law topics. By Chris Gafner.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 480

Provides news and analysis of outsourcing, insourcing and beyond. By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 491

Covers knowledge management. By V. Mary Abraham.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 541

Covers legal malpractice basics, cases and news. By Andrew Lavoott Bluestone.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 542

Covers NYC criminal matters. By Joseph Potashnik.
Last Updated: July 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 550

Covers New York criminal law news. By Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 554

Covers sports law. By Callahan & Fusco LLC.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 576

Covers burn injury treatment and care, as well as the legal rights of burn injury victims. By Kramer & Pollack, LLP.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 589

Covers DWI and criminal law news. By The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, Esq.
Last Updated: June 20, 2012 - Rank Today: 596

Covers New York construction accidents, worker's compensation, premises accidents, and other New York personal injury cases. By David Perecman.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 615

Covers motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and municipal liability. By Michaels & Smolak, P.C.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 622

Covers construction law, government contracts, infrastructure and public-private partnerships. By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 641

Covers personal injury law issues associated with spinal injuries. By Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: June 19, 2012 - Rank Today: 699

Covers benefits and compensation, employment law, immigration, intellectual property, litigation, securities, tax planning, and transactional issues affecting technology companies. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: June 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 702

From the Forum on Law, Culture & Society at Fordham Law.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 737

Covers news and developments in NY Federal Criminal Law. By Joseph Potashnik.
Last Updated: June 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 762

Covers family law topics. Published by New York attorney, Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 763

Covers dissolution and other disputes among New York corporations, LLCs and partnerships. By Peter A. Mahler.
Last Updated: July 16, 2012 - Rank Today: 778

Covers social media and litigation.
Last Updated: May 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 798

Published by Ettinger Law Firm
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 814

Covers New York divorce and family law decisions and legislation. By Joel R. Brandes.
Last Updated: June 19, 2012 - Rank Today: 825

Provides breaking news and analysis of communications law and business. By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
Last Updated: July 03, 2012 - Rank Today: 850

Covers case law, regulation and legislation affecting the insurance industry. By Barger & Wollen LLP.
Last Updated: July 03, 2012 - Rank Today: 853

Features news from the UB Law Library.
Last Updated: July 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 871

Published By Villanueva & Sanchala Attorneys At Law
Last Updated: June 26, 2012 - Rank Today: 871

The New York State Bar Association's official blog for solo and small firm attorneys.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 902

Covers accidents that cause brain trauma, contusions and concussions. By the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 929

Provides updates of law, news and developments in insurance and reinsurance. By Dan Gerber and Jeff Kingsley.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 951

Musings from the librarians of the Cornell Law Library on library resources, research tips and news.
Last Updated: July 03, 2012 - Rank Today: 954

Covers civil rights opinions of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. By Bergstein & Ullrich, LLP.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 975

New York Injury Talk Blog covers topics such as automobile accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, personal injury, product liability & recalls, workers' compensation, and workplace injuries. By New York injury lawyers Wingate, Russoti & Shapiro.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 983

Covers consumer protection matters with a focus on bankruptcy. By Pipitone Law.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 988

Published By Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 1010

Covers birth injuries, including brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Erbs palsy and Horners syndrome. By the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 1015

Covers bankruptcy, family law, foreclosure, and real estate law in New York.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 1024

Covers litigation, foreclosures, and business law. By The Silber Law Firm LLC.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 1027

Covers foreclosure litigation, qui tam, insider trading and business lawsuits. By the Ferraro Law Firm.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 1059

A family friendly site where people can come to learn about Law, Government, and the Judicial System. By Anthony J. Colleluori.
Last Updated: June 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 1096

Covers toxic tort litigation topics, including product liability, environmental litigation, contamination, pollution, toxicity, toxicology, diminution of property value, Value Assurance Plans, and medical monitoring. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: July 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 1102

Covers child custody, child support, divorce, equitable distribution, marriage, spousal maintenance, and visitation. By Daniel E. Clement.
Last Updated: July 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 1109

Covers the civil justice system, New York Courts, injury law cases and news. Published by Attorney Eric Turkewitz.
Last Updated: June 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 1116

By the Law Offices of Maya Risman, P.C. Focuses on employment issues in New York.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 1117

Provides a defense attorney's perspective on New York's No-Fault law. By Jason Tenenbaum.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 1136

Covers issues in the law of torts, products liability, evidence, and expert witnesses. By Nathan A. Schachtman, Esq., PC.
Last Updated: June 16, 2012 - Rank Today: 1184

Offers commentary on civil rights issues, recent decisions and other areas of interest to New York civil litigators and criminal practitioners. By Nicole L. Black.
Last Updated: July 16, 2012 - Rank Today: 1189

Covers real estate law and business law. By Peter Moulinos.
Last Updated: June 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 1191

Covers NY Truck Accidents, updates and commentary. Published by Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 1207

Covers employment agreements, employment discrimination and compensation issues. By Salvatore G. Gangemi.
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 1227

Covers New York criminal law. By Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC.
Last Updated: June 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 1251

Provides environmental law news and updates. By Sive, Paget & Riesel.
Last Updated: June 27, 2012 - Rank Today: 1263

Covers wage and hour law developments. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: July 03, 2012 - Rank Today: 1275

Covers personal injury law topics, including car accident, defective product and insurance issues. By Michael H. Ranzenhofer.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 1288

Covers foreclosures, co-ops, condos and mortgage modification. By the Law Offices of Weiss & Weiss.
Last Updated: July 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 1328

Published By Fogelman and Fogelman LLC
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 1329

Covers NYC federal criminal matters. By Joseph Potashnik & Associates PLLC.
Last Updated: July 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 1340

Covers disputes and developments in the film, television, publishing, theatre, music, art, gaming, and fashion industries. By the Frankfurt Kurnit Litigation Group.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 1373

Covers patents, trademarks and copyright news. By Vincent G. LoTempio.
Last Updated: July 01, 2012 - Rank Today: 1374

Covers bankruptcy law, practice and procedure. By Craig Robins.
Last Updated: June 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 1390

By Emiily Maruja Bass.
Last Updated: May 30, 2012 - Rank Today: 1397

By Law Offices of Stuart M. Kerner, P.C.
Last Updated: June 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 1407

Covers employment discrimination, employee rights and sexual harassment. By Derek T. Smith Law Group, P.C.
Last Updated: June 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 1439

Covers immigration law, news and commentary. By Matthew L. Kolken.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 1522

Covers immigration court proceedings, deportation defense, and issues of inadmissibility and deportability.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 1523

Offers information and articles related to injury and accident law, criminal law, and immigration law in New York. Published by Mark Siesel.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 1563

Provides commentary and breaking news about criminal law and policy. By Nathaniel Burney.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 1690

Provides updates and insights on legal issues facing fund managers and investors. By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
Last Updated: June 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 1701

Covers New York criminal law regarding larceny, embezzlement, extortion and theft. By Crotty & Saland PC.
Last Updated: July 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 1711

Provides social security information for claimants in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. By Insler & Herman, LLP and Turley Redmond Rosasco & Rosasco, LLP.
Last Updated: June 19, 2012 - Rank Today: 1721

Covers employee regulation, wage and hour laws, and buying and selling a business in the food services industry. By the Law Offices of David A. Gabay, PC.
Last Updated: June 14, 2012 - Rank Today: 1722

A NY journalist turned attorney with an opinion about everything! By Lisa Fantino.
Last Updated: June 16, 2012 - Rank Today: 1775

Covers U.S. tax law, New York nonprofit corporate law, corporate governance, charitable giving, economics, policy and current events in the nonprofit universe. By Thomas W. Simcoe.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 1796

Covers the law of restrictive covenants, unfair competition and trade secrets. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: June 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 1840

Provides commentary and news on developing legal issues in advertising, promotional marketing, Internet, and privacy law. By the Lustigman Firm, P.C.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 1845

Presents current developments in federal and New York State special education law. By H. Jeffrey Marcus.
Last Updated: June 25, 2012 - Rank Today: 1880

Covers New York personal injury topics. By Carol L. Schlitt.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 1925

Random thoughts and helpful links and resources from Buffalo lawyer Jeremy Colby.
Last Updated: June 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 1932

Covers FLSA, disability discrimination, labor relations, and retaliation. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 1940

Covers employment law issues in the restaurant industry. By Berke-Weiss & Pechman LLP.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 1943

Covers estate planning, estate administration and estate taxes. By Ettinger Law Firm.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 1944

Covers US immigraiton issues, focusing on those that typically arise at a US land border point-of-entry relating to admissibility. By Sarah E. Murphy.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 1971

Covers significant tort and insurance coverage decisions in New York's Appellate Courts, cases which have been granted leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, and other practice tips or information regarding appeals to New York's Appellate Courts. By Mauro Lilling Naparty LLP.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 1997

Covers federal and state income taxes, and business taxes. By Scarinci Hollenbeck.
Last Updated: July 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 2003

Covers biker law, bikes, and other fun stuff from a lawyer who rides. By Adam Gee.
Last Updated: June 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 2005

Covers news and updates on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and DWI Topics Of Interest. Published by The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, Esq.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 2008

Covers the United States Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals and other federal and state appeals courts. By Professor Vincent Martin Bonventre.
Last Updated: July 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 2040

Covers securities and investment fraud. By Malecki Law.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 2081

Covers transactional real estate, development/redevelopment, and environmental law. By Gibbons.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 2097

Covers corporate law, securities law, intellectual property, and social entrepreneurship. By Arina Shulga.
Last Updated: July 08, 2012 - Rank Today: 2109

Cover qui tam law and the process of bringing a case. By Getnick & Getnick.
Last Updated: June 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 2114

Published By Frommer Lawrence & Haug
Last Updated: July 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 2119

Covers criminal law, environmental law, immigration law, international law, law and technology, as well as special posts for law students, legal research and writing, and professional responsibility.
Last Updated: July 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 2155

Covers intellectual property issues in academia. By Bond Schoeneck & King.
Last Updated: June 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 2163

Review of copyright law, copyright litigation, art litigation and relevant current events. Discussions of recent case law and federal rules of civil procedure. By Ray Dowd.
Last Updated: July 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 2180

Covers stockbroker fraud.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 2181

Covers current events and issues in personal injury and medical malpractice law. By Levine & Slavit.
Last Updated: June 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 2201

Covers criminal law.
Last Updated: July 03, 2012 - Rank Today: 2210

Covers divorce and family law. By Albie Myburgh.
Last Updated: June 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 2215

Covers the law of selling or purchasing a business. By Nissenbaum Law Group.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 2261

Published by Nationally Focused Mesothelioma Attorneys. Ferraro Law Firm
Last Updated: June 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 2269

Covers workplace discrimination, and employee rights news and updates. By Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 2281

Covers New York business, criminal, employment, estate planning, family and real estate law.
Last Updated: June 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 2352

Covers employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases. By Phillips & Phillips.
Last Updated: July 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 2352

Covers environmental law and green building news. By Kramer Levin.
Last Updated: June 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 2365

Covers New York family law and divorce law. By Andrea Vacca.
Last Updated: June 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 2370

Thoughts on all things digital from the Assistant Director of Technical Services for Library Systems at New York Law School's Mendik Library.
Last Updated: June 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 2381

Covers securities law for growing businesses. By Vanessa Schoenthaler.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 2386

Covers injury and accident case updates and news. Published By New York injury firm Gallivan & Gallivan.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 2400

Covers tax law. By an NYU LL.M. student.
Last Updated: June 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 2456

Covers business development, networking, mentoring and work-life balance. By EpsteinBeckerGreen.
Last Updated: June 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 2468

Published By LeCours, Chertok & Yates, LLP
Last Updated: June 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 2476

Covers traffic ticket laws and news. By Matthew J. Weiss.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 2478

Covers New York age, employment, gender, genetic, pregnancy, racial and sexual orientation discrimination. By Schwartz & Perry LLP.
Last Updated: June 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 2482

Comments on developments in copyright and trademark law. By Andrew Berger.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 2491

Covers New York matrimonial and family law. By John R. McFadden III.
Last Updated: June 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 2494

Law related talks from the Pace community.
Last Updated: June 04, 2012 - Rank Today: 2532

Covers New York elder law, estate law, and real estate legal issues. By Robert Friedman.
Last Updated: June 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 2543

Covers employment law topics such as age, employment, gender, racial, and sexual orientation discrimination, as well as sexual harasment. Published by New York employment law lawyers, Schwartz & Perry LLP
Last Updated: June 04, 2012 - Rank Today: 2548

Provides an overview of New York medical malpractice and products liability involving medical devices. By Andrew J. Barovick.
Last Updated: June 03, 2012 - Rank Today: 2563

Covers birth defects caused by environmental hazards and prescription drugs. By Oshman & Mirisola, LLP.
Last Updated: July 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 2575

By Carl Spector.
Last Updated: June 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 2577

Features news about Heraty Law, its clients, and issues relating to businesses and professionals in the creative industries.
Last Updated: May 31, 2012 - Rank Today: 2594

Covers recent court decisions and injury topics. Published By New York injury lawyer, Mark A. Eskenazi
Last Updated: June 01, 2012 - Rank Today: 2613

Covers New York social security disability and long-term disability law. By Insler & Hermann, LLP.
Last Updated: May 30, 2012 - Rank Today: 2622

Discusses recent cases and developments pertaining to New York trusts and estates law. By Farrell Fritz.
Last Updated: May 31, 2012 - Rank Today: 2639

Provides analysis, learn­ing and discussion relating to copyright law. By Paul Fakler.
Last Updated: May 31, 2012 - Rank Today: 2643

Covers labor and employment laws and policies that affects the hospitality industry. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: July 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 2662

For entrepreneurs considering buying, starting or terminating a franchise. By Charles Internicola.
Last Updated: May 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 2672

Covers adverse possession, environmental law, municipal law, zoning and land use. Published by Silverberg Zalantis.
Last Updated: May 28, 2012 - Rank Today: 2707

Covers climate change, greenhouse gases, and environmental regulations. By Silverberg Zalantis LLP.
Last Updated: May 27, 2012 - Rank Today: 2720

By Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC. Covers legal developments affecting nonprofit organizations.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 2742

Covers legal issues and legal developments affecting television, film and music production. By Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 2746

Covers recent developments in Construction Law. By Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 2751

Covers New York estate planning, probate, elder law and health care issues. By Dutcher & Zatkowsky.
Last Updated: May 23, 2012 - Rank Today: 2795

Covers legal issues and legal developments relating to Intellectual Property Law. By Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 2821

Covers business operations, debt collection, and contract disputes. By the Law Firm of Grasing & Associates.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 2869

Legal Information (and other Insights) for small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups. By Imke Ratschko.
Last Updated: May 23, 2012 - Rank Today: 2875

Covers landlord-tenant and consumer law. By the Major Law Firm.
Last Updated: May 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 2901

Provides news and commentary daily on the civil justice system in the U.S., focusing mainly on mass torts, employment discrimination, and injury law. By Morelli Ratner PC.
Last Updated: May 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 2948

Covers New York divorce and family law. By Charles Messina.
Last Updated: May 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 2958

Covers criminal law, white collar cases. Published By Ambrosio & Tomczak
Last Updated: May 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 3004

Covers the defense of misclassification claims and class actions, audits and investigations by the IRS and state tax and workforce agencies. By Pepper Hamilton LLP.
Last Updated: May 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 3010

Covers violations of overtime and other federal and state wage and hour laws.
Last Updated: May 15, 2012 - Rank Today: 3020

Covers compliance counseling and whistleblowing defense claims. By Epstein Becker Green.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 3028

Provides New York criminal law updates and commentary. By Easton Thompson Kasperek.
Last Updated: June 27, 2012 - Rank Today: 3048

Covers regulatory and statutory updates from the healthcare industry. By O'Connell & Aronowitz.
Last Updated: June 26, 2012 - Rank Today: 3067

By the Felicetti Law Firm.
Last Updated: May 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 3087

Covers immigration news, deportations, and visas. By Samuel C Berger, PC.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 3101

Covers regulatory and enforcement representation, as well as broker / dealer advisory services. By Gusrae Kaplan Nusbaum PLLC.
Last Updated: May 08, 2012 - Rank Today: 3123

Covers estate planning and special needs trusts. By Ellen A. Victor.
Last Updated: May 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 3126

Covers New York workers' compensation and personal injury law. By Paul Giannetti.
Last Updated: May 07, 2012 - Rank Today: 3134

Covers legal news affecting Long Island, New York residents, including civil rights, real estate matters, constitutional issues, and more.
Last Updated: June 25, 2012 - Rank Today: 3155

Covers zoning law. By Jeffrey A. Chester.
Last Updated: April 30, 2012 - Rank Today: 3172

By LeCours, Chertok & Yates, LLP.
Last Updated: April 30, 2012 - Rank Today: 3180

Covers legal and regulatory issues affecting healthcare providers in New York and New Jersey. By Sauchik Law Group, P.C.
Last Updated: May 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 3186

Covers developments in estate planning and wealth transfer taxes. By Hani Sarji.
Last Updated: April 30, 2012 - Rank Today: 3214

Covers discrimination, retaliation and sex harassment cases. By Peters Hamlin LLC.
Last Updated: April 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 3234

Covers national and New York based elder neglect and nursing home abuse news. Published By Gallivan & Gallivan.
Last Updated: July 11, 2012 - Rank Today: 3245

Legal news and analysis of current U.S. and foreign events, including financial, international, antitrust and corporate law. By Laurent Deis.
Last Updated: April 26, 2012 - Rank Today: 3257

Covers criminal defense, DWI, and the economics of small office law practice. By Warren Redlich.
Last Updated: April 25, 2012 - Rank Today: 3261

Covers child support, domestic relations, and family law in New York. By Alexander Korotkin.
Last Updated: April 22, 2012 - Rank Today: 3299

Covers personal injury, medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents. By Rudner & Paleudis, LLC.
Last Updated: July 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 3301

Covers pain and suffering verdicts and settlements. By John M. Hochfelder.
Last Updated: June 22, 2012 - Rank Today: 3348

Covers consumer class actions and mass torts from a defense lawyer's perspective. By Russell Jackson.
Last Updated: April 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 3353

Covers data security, HIPAA, identity theft and workplace privacy. By Jackson Lewis.
Last Updated: July 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 3361

Covers debt collection and consumer law.
Last Updated: April 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 3383

Published By Jeffrey T. Rosenberg, Esq.
Last Updated: April 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 3414

Covers current trends in immigration law. By Joshua Bardavid and Bardavid Law.
Last Updated: April 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 3415

Published By Nirenberg Law Firm, LLC
Last Updated: July 06, 2012 - Rank Today: 3421

New York Criminal Attorney Blog covers DWI/DWAI, traffic violations, gun crimes, weapon crimes, prostitution, and other criminal offenses. By New York attorneys, Tilem & Campbell.
Last Updated: March 27, 2012 - Rank Today: 3439

Covers the transition from student status and worker status to legal permanent residency and/or citizenship. By Amanda R. Goodman.
Last Updated: April 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 3442

Features immigration news, policies and discussion. By Pozo Goldstein & Miranda, LLP.
Last Updated: March 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 3464

Published By Jules Martin Haas, Attorney at Law
Last Updated: July 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 3466

Covers New York real estate insurance, regulation, and litigation. By Klose & Associates.
Last Updated: March 22, 2012 - Rank Today: 3503

Covers medical malpractice, birth injuries, car accidents, construction accidents and products liability. By Bottar Leone, PLLC.
Last Updated: March 20, 2012 - Rank Today: 3526

Reports on New York medical malpractice and birth injury issues. By Bottar Leone, PLLC.
Last Updated: March 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 3538

Covers business immigration law and employment-based visas. By Kramer Levin.
Last Updated: June 12, 2012 - Rank Today: 3539

Published by Russell Mace & Associates, P.A.
Last Updated: July 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 3542

Covers business disputes and dissolutions, shareholder rights, and conflicts of interest. By The McDaniel Law Firm, P.C.
Last Updated: March 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 3563

Covers intellectual property issues of particular interest to importers, exporters and distributors. By the McDaniel Law Firm, P.C.
Last Updated: March 13, 2012 - Rank Today: 3566

Covers NY Criminal news and Family law. Published by Riebling, Proto & Sachs
Last Updated: March 09, 2012 - Rank Today: 3577

Covers New York DWI laws and chemical tests. By the Law Offices of James F. Hughes.
Last Updated: March 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 3596

Covers health care compliance, fraud, HIPAA, and laws. By Iseman, Cunningham, Riester & Hyde, LLP.
Last Updated: June 29, 2012 - Rank Today: 3618

Published By Tilem & Campbell
Last Updated: February 22, 2012 - Rank Today: 3652

Focuses on contract, employment and personal injury litigation. By Scott J. Kreppein.
Last Updated: May 23, 2012 - Rank Today: 3679

Covers decisions affecting corporate bankruptcy, restructuring and turnarounds. By Kramer Levin.
Last Updated: June 01, 2012 - Rank Today: 3704

Covers New York motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability issues. By Law Office of Shane D. Scott, P.C.
Last Updated: January 24, 2012 - Rank Today: 3751

Covers court decisions, news and developments affecting federal criminal practice in New York. By JaneAnne Murray.
Last Updated: January 21, 2012 - Rank Today: 3771

Covers age, race, and disability discrimination. By Moira C. Brennan.
Last Updated: January 18, 2012 - Rank Today: 3780

Published By Case Cash, LLC
Last Updated: January 17, 2012 - Rank Today: 3786

Covers disability insurance claim and bad faith information. By Quadrino Schwartz.
Last Updated: January 10, 2012 - Rank Today: 3812

Covers the guardianship process and life as a guardian. By the Law Office of Daniel A. Jimenez P.C.
Last Updated: January 05, 2012 - Rank Today: 3827

Covers aviation safety law and litigation. By Kreindler & Kreindler LLP.
Last Updated: January 04, 2012 - Rank Today: 3831

Covers New York state law specifically, and law and philosophy generally.
Last Updated: January 02, 2012 - Rank Today: 3838

Covers business entities, small business and startups. By Ellen A. Victor.
Last Updated: December 31, 2011 - Rank Today: 3847

Focuses on wind energy legal developments, including land use, zoning, and environmental concerns. By Cooper Erving & Savage LLP.
Last Updated: December 23, 2011 - Rank Today: 3860

Covers New York wrongful death cases involving auto accidents, hospital negligence, and medical malpractice. By Leland T. Williams.
Last Updated: December 13, 2011 - Rank Today: 3885

Covers securities fraud, and other areas of securities law and banking and finance law. Published by Rich, Intelisano & Katz, LLP.
Last Updated: December 09, 2011 - Rank Today: 3897

Covers New York contract, debt collection practices, employment and real estate litigation. By Silverberg Zalantis LLP.
Last Updated: December 07, 2011 - Rank Today: 3899

Covers foreclosure procedures and legal defenses available to debtors. By the Nissenbaum Law Group.
Last Updated: November 23, 2011 - Rank Today: 3926

This blog covers all aspects of long term disability advocacy. Topics include long term disability benefits and claimant tips. By Riemer & Associates.
Last Updated: November 22, 2011 - Rank Today: 3928

Published by Ronai & Ronai, LLP
Last Updated: October 28, 2011 - Rank Today: 3970

Covers accidents and injuries. By Leav & Steinberg, L.L.P.
Last Updated: April 26, 2012 - Rank Today: 3982

Answers questions medical malpractice victims may have when seeking to hire an attorney. By Gerry Oginski.
Last Updated: October 15, 2011 - Rank Today: 3997

Covers racial and sexual harassment and education law. By Law Offices of Joshua Friedman.
Last Updated: October 01, 2011 - Rank Today: 4021

Covers the law of Internet Defamation. By Nissenbaum Law Group.
Last Updated: September 29, 2011 - Rank Today: 4030

Updates and commentary on U.S. and European developments in Intellectual Property law. By Gareth Dickson.
Last Updated: September 21, 2011 - Rank Today: 4038

Attempt to capture the thoughts and experiences of an attorney with almost no experience in this area of law, representing victims of domestic violence By the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Last Updated: September 06, 2011 - Rank Today: 4071

Covers obstetrical malpractice that result in premature births, cerebral palsy and brachial plexus injuries. By Bottar Leone, PLLC.
Last Updated: August 28, 2011 - Rank Today: 4088

Covers current developments in business litigation and identifies best management practices. By Rogers & Tartaro.
Last Updated: March 27, 2012 - Rank Today: 4095

Focuses on New York State motor vehicle safety tips, motor vehicle laws, news commentaries, and public service announcements.
Last Updated: August 18, 2011 - Rank Today: 4100

Covers real estate and housing issues.
Last Updated: July 21, 2011 - Rank Today: 4150

Covers New York criminal law and DWI information. By John P. Pettinella.
Last Updated: July 07, 2011 - Rank Today: 4176

Covers New York personal injury law and cases. By Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool.
Last Updated: July 01, 2011 - Rank Today: 4184

A forum for New York Appellate Law, Civil Procedure, Insurance Coverage and Defense. By Matthew Lerner.
Last Updated: June 16, 2011 - Rank Today: 4211

Covers New York auto insurance, medical malpractice and workers compensation. By the Ziff Law Firm.
Last Updated: June 01, 2011 - Rank Today: 4232

Covers DWI law, criminal law and and traffic law news. By David Galison, P.C.
Last Updated: April 16, 2011 - Rank Today: 4287

Covers family law. By Keith Orenstein.
Last Updated: March 30, 2011 - Rank Today: 4320

This blog covers legal topics such as commentary and opinion, criminal law and justice, information technology, library organization and planning, news from organizations, publication announcement and reviews. By New York Law Librarian, David Badertscher
Last Updated: March 26, 2011 - Rank Today: 4323

Published By The Paleudis Law Firm.
Last Updated: January 14, 2011 - Rank Today: 4394

Published By The Law Offices of Timothy A. Green
Last Updated: December 17, 2010 - Rank Today: 4417

Covers New York no-fault insurance law news, analysis and commentary. By Damin J. Toell and Erik B. Lutwin.
Last Updated: December 16, 2010 - Rank Today: 4419

The official blog of The Kong Firm PLLC, focusing on current topics of interest in the fields of Employment Law, Litigation and Federal Government Contracting
Last Updated: October 13, 2010 - Rank Today: 4469

Covers estate planning. By Todd Engel.
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Covers New York wills, trusts, estates, and elder law. By Saul Elnadav.
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Features observation of a Brooklyn lawyer in the digital age. By Alex Roshuk.
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Discussion of bankruptcy law and bankruptcy-related issues. By Andy Winchell.
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Offers ideas and updates on law, procedure, and tactics to aid trial lawyers (and others) involved with allegations of wrongdoing. By Anthony Colleluori.
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Tracks legal events that affect consumers, injured persons, and their attorneys. By Eric Dinnocenzo and Jordan Rutsky.
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Covers intellectual property and technology law and news. By Kelly D. Talcott.
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Provides estate planning advice. By Kenneth R. Haas.
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Covers bankruptcy and bankruptcy alternatives for individuals and businesses. By Starr & Starr, PLLC.
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Covers patent infringement and litigation.
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Legal research updates from around the world and new and interesting research resources and web sites of interest. From Syracuse University College of Law.
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Covers technology and the legal profession. By Nicole Black, Matthew Lerner and Gregory Bell.
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Covers developments in New York Law. By Thomas Swartz.
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Brooklyn Law School is proud of its many students who will be working this summer in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and South America at law firms, and private and public interest organizations. The students have launched this blog to share their experiences.
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Covers recent court decisions, pending legislation, real estate updates and business matters.
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Justia posts its material on the Internet at:

Handbooks focusing on New York State and Municipal Public Personnel Law:

The Discipline Book, - a concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State. A 1900+ page e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - a 435 page handbook reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 600+ page guide to penalties imposed on public employees in New York State found guilty of selected acts of misconduct. For more information, click on http://booklocker.com/books/7401.html

General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html

Caution:

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.

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