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June 7, 2012

Appellant required to meet a high burden by showing, with clear and convincing evidence, that the disciplinary hearing officer was partial


Appellant required to meet a high burden by showing, with clear and convincing evidence, that the disciplinary hearing officer was partial
Batyreva v N.Y.C. Dept. of Educ., 2012 NY Slip Op 04234, Appellate Division, First Department

Supreme Court, New York County denied the CPLR Article 75 petition seeking to vacate an arbitration award which found that the New York City Department of Education had just cause to terminate the employee, Olga Batyreva. The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the lower courts ruling.

Explaining that the award was made in accord with due process, is supported by adequate evidence, is rational and is not arbitrary and capricious, the court noted “(e)ach of the sustained specifications was well supported by both documentary evidence and witness testimony.”

Batyreva, said the Appellate Division, failed to meet the high burden of showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that the hearing officer was partial, noting that it had not found any basis in the record to support a finding of partiality. Further, said the court, to the extent that Batyreva’s contention “is premised upon the hearing officer's credibility determinations, her arguments are unavailing because she failed to show that the hearing officer's credibility findings evince a bias against her.”

As to the penalty imposed, termination, the court rejected Batyreva’s claim that it is unwarranted and shocks the conscience.

In the words of the Appellate Division: “Not only does the high volume of sustained specifications of misconduct, standing alone, justify termination … but also [Batyreva] repeated unsuccessful attempts to cast [the employer], the witnesses, the hearing officer, a federal judge, and a Supreme Court Justice as somehow biased against her tend to show her "failure to take responsibility for her actions."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_04234.htm

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