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December 11, 2023

Conducting an administrative hearing remotely via WebEx teleconferencing during the COVID pandemic

In this CPLR Article 78 action plaintiff [Petitioner] sought a judicial annulment of a decision by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative Appeals Board affirming an adverse determination of an Administrative Law Judge.

The Appellate Division explained that "In order to annul an administrative determination made after a hearing, a court must conclude that the record lacks substantial evidence* to support the determination", citing Matter of Khan v New York State Dept. of Motor Vehs., 215 AD3d 844, and Matter of Lau v NYC DOB, 209 AD3d 858.

Addressing Petitioner's challenge to the administrative hearing having been conducted remotely via a WebEx teleconference during the recent COVID pandemic, the Appellate Division opined that, contrary to the Petitioner's contention:

1. "The Administrative Law Judge did not abuse her discretion by denying Petitioner's untimely request for an adjournment made during the course of the scheduled hearing; and

2. "There is no merit to Petitioner's contention that any purported procedural errors made by the ALJ in conducting the hearing, 'including holding the hearing which took place during the COVID pandemic via WebEx teleconference,' violated certain of his rights, nor has he demonstrated any prejudice that resulted therefrom, that 'so permeate[d] the underlying hearing ... to render it unfair'".

* The Appellate Division note substantial evidence is such relevant proof as "a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact" and substantial evidence is a minimal standard that requires "less than a preponderance of the evidence" and "demands only that a given inference is reasonable and plausible, not necessarily the most probable".

Click HERE to access the Appellate Division's decision posted on the Internet.


 

 

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