August 25, 2021

Failure to exhaust administrative remedies bars judicial review

In this CPLR Article 78 action, the Plaintiff [Petitioner] sought judicial review of two determinations of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board [Board] involving FOIL requests Petitioner had submitted to the Board seeking the production of certain documents from the Board. 

The Board promptly responded to Petitioner's requests, granting in part and denying in part the request. Petitioner then submitted an administrative appeal concerning the "denial in part" elements in his FOIL response. The Board denied the appeal on  the ground that it was untimely. Supreme Court agreed, dismissing Petitioner's Article 78 appeal. 

Subsequently Supreme Court considered Petitioner's application for reargument concerning the matter but adhered to its prior determination, in effect denying the petition and dismissing the proceeding. Petitioner next appealed the lower court's decisions to the Appellate Division.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Supreme Court's rulings, explaining "Public Officers Law §89(4)(a) provides that a person denied access to requested information under New York States Freedom of Information Law [FOIL] must appeal the denial in writing to the head of the entity or other designated person within 30 days."

As Petitioner failed to submit an appeal of the determination within 30 days, "he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and, thus, could not resort to a judicial forum to gain relief."

Click HERE to access the Appellate Divisions decision.

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