Conducting an administrative hearing
Flood v NYSERS, App. Div., First Dept., 279 A.D.2d 304
Clearly an individual may not be found guilty of disciplinary charges not alleged in the notice of discipline served on the employee. Similarly, a hearing officer in an administrative hearing may not rely on evidence in the record in making his or her determination if the other party was not permitted to challenge or rebut such evidence.
Theresa Flood, a teacher's assistant, was injured aboard a bus during a field trip in November 1990. The New York State Employee's Retirement System denied her application for accidental disability retirement benefits on the grounds that she had not been "incapacitated ... as the natural and proximate result of an accident sustained in ... service". Flood appealed and the issues were framed by the initial Hearing Officer designated to consider the matter as follows:
1. Was there an accident?
2. Is the applicant permanentlyincapacitated? and
3. If so, is the incapacity a proximate result ofthe accident?
The appeal was eventually considered by a different Hearing Officer. Flood's attorney framed the issue before the new hearing officer as simply whether Flood's disability was "the natural and proximate result of an accident sustained in . . . service".
The new hearing officer agreed, cutting off any questioning on "incapacity" on the grounds that there was no "notice to the applicant on that point." He said "causation" was the sole issue to be resolved.
At the conclusion of the hearing the second hearing officer, after acknowledging that the hearings had been limited to the issue of causation, said that "all three questions (accident, incapacity and causation) were once again at issue." His decision, based on the Retirement System's expert's testimony: Flood had failed to establish a "permanent incapacity." That being the case, he denied her appeal without considering the issue of proximate cause.
The Appellate Division vacated the hearing officer's determination, pointing out that Flood "never had an opportunity to pursue or challenge [NYSERS's] testimonial evidence because the issue at the hearing, as framed in the notice, was limited to the question of causation."
The Appellate Division said that "[i]f the issues are to be expanded to cover accident and incapacity as well, then the interests of fairness dictate that [Flood] should have an opportunity to cross-examine the witness and present her own evidence in that respect."
The matter was returned to the Retirement System for a new hearing.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT USED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN THE SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISIONS PREPARED BY NYPPL
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.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
Copyright 2009-2024 - Public Employment Law Press. Email: email@example.com.