January 08, 2020

Publication of its investigation report by the New York City Office of Special Commissioner of Investigations on the Internet challenged by a party named in the report


An investigation report prepared by the New York City Office of Special Commissioner of Investigations [SCI] substantiated allegations that a contractor [Plaintiff] had engaged in "theft of services" and recommended that he be deemed ineligible to work as a contractor for New York City Department of Education [DOE]. The report was subsequently posted by SCI on its Internet site. Plaintiff then initiated a CPLR Article 78 seeking a court order compelling SCI to remove the report from its website.
Supreme Court denied the petition filed by Plaintiff and dismissed the proceeding. The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the lower courts ruling. The Appellate Division ruling that SCI's decision not to remove the report upon Plaintiff's request was not arbitrary and capricious, citing Matter of Peckham v Calogero, 12 NY3d 424. The court also noted that the record demonstrated that SCI considered Plaintiff's "refusal to participate in its investigation, the nature of the conduct it substantiated, and the public interest in exposing the misconduct."
Thus, said the court, "[i]t was not unreasonable for SCI to conclude that [Plaintiff's] untimely rebuttal, submitted to the DOE months after it adopted SCI's recommendations, and the almost 10 years that passed from the report's publication before [Plaintiff's] current request, did not compel the report's removal," Further, said the Appellate Division,  the Special Commissioner is authorized to "issue such reports regarding corruption or other criminal activity, unethical conduct, conflicts of interest, and misconduct, that he or she deems to be in the best interest of the school district," sustaining the SCI's power to publish it report on the Internet.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:  http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2020/2020_00033.htm


CAUTION

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 DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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 in this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor members of the staff are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to seek such advice from a competent professional.