Fire Department v Palleschi, OATH Index #551/11
In this Civil Service Law §75 disciplinary action, an EMT Lieutenant was charged with “bringing the agency into disrepute and showing disrespect to the public.” OATH Administrative Law Judge Joan Salzman said that the Lieutenant admitted the charges “in all material respects” and that the critical issue was her recommendation to as to the appropriate penalty for such misconduct.
Judge Salzman recommended the termination of an EMS lieutenant who admitted that he had posted private and confidential patient information on his Facebook page, "where 460 of his friends could see it for their amusement."
Significantly, Judge Salzman rejected a motion made after the close of the evidence whereby the parties jointly asked to have the Administrative Law Judge “seal the entire record.”
The ALJ explained her reason as follows:
I declined, because this was a public hearing, 48 RCNY §1-49 (Lexis 2009), and there was no reason to seal the entire record. See Mosallem v. Berenson, 76 A.D.3d 345, 348-49 (1st Dep’t 2010) (“Under New York law, there is a broad presumption that the public is entitled to access to judicial proceedings and court records”; public right to access is not absolute, and confidentiality is the exception, not the rule). However, I did indicate to the parties that I was not going to identify the patient in my decision and directed them to review the transcript and exhibits and to redact her identity (meaning name, address, and phone number) from this record should it be sought for publication or filed in court. Even though that information was on the Internet, I see no reason to republish it.
* Remove or black out material in a document prior to its publication or release.
The decision is posted on the Internet at: