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April 29, 2011

Statute of limitations for judicial review of a final administrative decision neither tolled nor extended by filing a request for reconsiderationll the statute of limitations for filing a timely judicial challenge to the determination

Statute of limitations for judicial review of a final administrative decision neither tolled nor extended by filing a request for reconsideration
Matter of Chapman v New York State Teachers' Retirement Sys., 2011 NY Slip Op 02994, Appellate Division, Third Department

Cheryl Hogg-Chapman, a former school counselor, applied for disability retirement benefits after falling on the stairs at work.

Following a review of Hogg-Chapman's medical records, the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System’s Medical Board concluded that there was no basis upon which to grant her request for disability retirement benefits. Hogg-Chapman was advised of the Medical Board’s determination and ultimately TRS informed petitioner it would be recommending such to respondent. Thereafter, NYSTRS notified Hogg-Chapman that it accepted the Medical Board's recommendation, and her application for disability retirement benefits was denied.

Hogg-Chapman filed an Article 78 petition challenging NYSTRS’ August 2008 determination. Supreme Court dismissed her petition, finding that the challenge was barred by the applicable four-month statute of limitations.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

The court pointed out that §217(1) of the Civil Practice Law and Rules requires that "a proceeding against a body or officer must be commenced within four months after the determination to be reviewed becomes final and binding upon the petitioner."

Explaining that "an administrative determination becomes final and binding when it definitively impacts and aggrieves the party seeking judicial review," the Appellate Division said that there is no dispute that NYSTRS notified Hogg-Chapman in August 2008 that her application for disability retirement benefits was denied. Although Hogg-Chapman sent the Medical Board additional medical evidence and requested that it reconsider its recommendation, this did not serve to toll the statute of limitations period or make NYSTRS’ determination any less final.

Thus, said the court, as Hogg-Chapman’s Article 78 petition was filed more than four months after NYSTRS rendered its determination, Supreme Court properly dismissed the petition as time barred.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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