The Petitioner [Plaintiff], a retiree, in this CPLR Article 78 challenged the appointing authority's [Town] decision denying his request to change his health insurance provider. The Town moved to dismiss Plaintiff's action, contending that it was untimely.
Supreme Court granted Town's motion for summary judgment and, in effect, dismissed the proceeding. Petitioner appealed but the Appellate Division affirmed the lower court's ruling, with costs.
In affirming the lower court's ruling, the Appellate Division:
1. Noted that an Article 78 proceeding must be commenced within four months after the administrative determination sought to be reviewed becomes final and binding upon the petitioner;
2. Explained that an administrative determination "becomes final and binding when 'the agency ... reache[s] a definitive position on the issue that inflicts actual, concrete injury and ... the injury inflicted may not be prevented or significantly ameliorated by further administrative action or by steps available to the complaining party'";
3. Pointed out that the party seeking to assert the statute of limitations as a defense has the burden of establishing that the petitioner was notified of the determination more than four months before the proceeding was commenced; and
4. Observed that "... a request for reconsideration of an administrative determination does not extend or toll the statute of limitations or render the otherwise final determination non-final unless the agency's rules mandate reconsideration."
Here, said the court, the Town's determination denying Plaintiff's request to change his health insurance provider became final and binding no later than February 8, when the Plaintiff received notice of the denial by telephone and email. Accordingly, the Appellate Division concluded that Plaintiff's petition, filed in September, was untimely.
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