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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A "global settlement contract" that, among other things, settled the underlying grievance renders the appeal pending before the court moot


A "global settlement contract" that, among other things, settled the underlying grievance renders the appeal pending before the court moot
2015 NY Slip Op 519109, Appellate Division, Third Department

A deputy sheriff injured his back during a foot pursuit in the course of his employment and received full pay for eight days of missed work immediately after the incident pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c, as well as intermittent days during the next several months but ultimately was told that his benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c had been terminated. The deputy’s union filed a grievance on behalf of the deputy "and all similarly situated uni[on] members," charging a violation of the collective bargaining agreement between union and the County and demanded that the matter be submitted to arbitration.

The County filed a petition pursuant to CPLR §7503(b) seeking a stay of arbitration. Supreme Court granted the County’s application and the union appealed. While this appeal was pending before the Appellate Division, the deputy sheriff and union entered into a "global settlement contract" that, among other things, settled the deputy’s General Municipal Law §207-c claim, whereupon the County contended the appeal was moot and sought to have the appeal dismissed.

The Appellate Division agreed with the County that the “global settlement contract” rendered the union’s appeal moot, explaining that “In the absence of an exception to the mootness doctrine — that is, where an issue is likely to recur, presents novel or significant questions, or typically evades appellate review — ‘an appeal will be considered moot unless the rights of the parties will be directly affected by the determination of the appeal and the interest of the parties is an immediate consequence of the judgment.’"

In so ruling, the Appellate Division said that it was “unpersuaded by [the union’s] contention that it was not a party to the settlement and that similarly situated employees represented by [the union] would be affected by the outcome of this appeal.”

The court pointed out that the parties "are now operating under the terms of an expired contract, limiting the potential for similar disputes in the future." Further, said the Appellate Division, the union “participated in the grievance procedures that led to the settlement, and by means of its counsel's representation of both [the union] and the deputy throughout the proceedings, may also have been apprised of the terms of the agreement that ‘fully, finally and globally’ settled the claim.

Dismissing the union’s appeal, the Appellate Division ruled that the settlement contract contained no provisions reserving any issues for appeal and the record was devoid of any indication that there are similarly situated employees who lost benefits available to them pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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