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State of New York vs. COVID-19 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo periodically updates New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The latest reports of the number of new cases, the percentage of tests that were positive and many other relevant data points concerning COVID-19 are available at forward.ny.gov.

N.B. §22 of the New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL applies this protocol to individuals referred to in a decision self-identifying as LGBTQA+.

April 26, 2021

Public official sued for allegedly unlawfully blocking an individual from accessing the Official's public Facebook page

A public official [Official] used his Facebook's "Public Page" in his official capacity to communicate information to, and receive comments from, the public on various issues of local and state politics and policy.

Official, however, blocked an individual's [Plaintiff] access to his Public Page after Plaintiff posted accusations it condoned allegedly “flagrant racism” and “ugly comments” posted by other Facebook users on Official's Public Page. Plaintiff then initiated an action in federal district court against Official seeking "declaratory and injunctive relief and for monetary damages."  

The United States Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court's dismissal of Plaintiff's action as moot as Official had expressly represented in two sworn declarations before the district court that “he does not intend to ban or block [Plaintiff's] access" to his Public Page again at any time in the future and had, in fact, "unblocked [Plaintiff] ... 'long before' [Official] moved to dismiss [Plaintiff's] claims."

Citing Lamar Advert. of Penn, LLC v. Town of Orchard Park, 356 F.3d 365, the Circuit Court explained "[w]hen a defendant voluntarily ceases conduct that a plaintiff alleges to be unlawful, the plaintiff’s case usually becomes moot if  'the defendant can demonstrate that (1) there is no reasonable expectation that the alleged violation will recur and (2) interim relief or events have completely and irrevocably eradicated the effects of the alleged violation.'"  

Agreeing with the district court that on this record "it cannot reasonably be expected that [Official] will attempt to block [Plaintiff] from [his] Public Page in the future" as Official had filed two sworn declarations before the district court that “he does not intend to ban or block [Plaintiff's] access to the [Official's] Facebook page again at any time in the future,” the Circuit Court affirmed the district court's judgment.  

Click HERE to access the text of the Circuit Court's decision.


Public Personnel Law E-books

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State set out in a 700 page e-book. For more information click on https://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 442-page e-book focusing on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. Now available in two formats - as a large, paperback print edition and as an e-book. Click on http://booklocker.com/books/7401.html for more information.

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - A 645 page e-book reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - A 1098 page e-book focusing on disability benefits available to public officers and employees employed by New York State and its political subdivisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html