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April 10, 2024

Seeking a Writ of Mandamus to compel a particular action by a public official

In deciding a CPLR Article 78 action, the Appellate Division, First Department, addressed the efforts of one of the parties in the action to obtain a Writ of Mandamus to compel a particular action by a public official.

Citing Klostermann v Cuomo, 61 NY2d 525, the court observed that mandamus "is an extraordinary remedy that, by definition, is available only in limited circumstances". 

The Appellate Division's decision also notes that mandamus "will lie only to compel the performance of a ministerial act, and only where there exists a clear legal right to the relief sought", citing Matter of Wyche v Haywood-Diaz, 206 AD3d 748. In addition, the decision points out that the remedy of mandamus "does not lie to compel an act which involves an exercise of judgment or discretion" by the official.

Further, the Appellate Division's decision notes that Supreme Court "properly denied a branch of the petition" because "the petitioners failed to exhaust their administrative remedies before commencing this proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, and there is no basis in the record to determine that any exception to the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement would apply."

The Appellate Division then opined that "to the extent the petitioners' challenge ... was predicated upon a constitutional claim," that claim "hinges upon factual issues reviewable at the administrative level [which] must first be addressed to the agency so that a necessary factual record can be established," and thus, the petitioners were not excused from the obligation to pursue administrative remedies prior to commencing this proceeding.

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

 

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