Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Appeal of a Section 3020-a Hearing Decision Must be Filed within 10 Days

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Appeal of a Section 3020-a disciplinary determination must be perfected within the ten-day statute of limitations set by law

Matter of Watkins v Board of Educ. of Port Jefferson Union Free School Dist. 2006 NYSlipOp 01023, Appellate Division, Second Department

Watkins filed a petition pursuant to Article 78 challenging his termination following a disciplinary hearing held pursuant to Section 3020-a of the Education Law. He contended that “he had been denied a fair hearing, and that the hearing officer's determination was ‘arbitrary capricious and not supported by substantial evidence.’"

Supreme Court granted the Board's motion to dismiss the proceeding as time-barred. The Appellate Division sustained a lower court’s dismissal of Watkins' petition.

First the Appellate Division commented that Watkins’ allegations that the Section 3020-a hearing officer's determination was arbitrary and capricious and that it was not supported by substantial evidence is not reviewable pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules [CPLR] Article 78. The court pointed out that the School Board's role under Education Law § 3020-a (4)(b) is only to implement" the decision of the hearing officer. Watkins was required to appeal the disciplinary determination in accordance with the provisions of Section 3020-a (5). Such a challenge to the hearing officer's determination must be processed in accordance with the provisions of CPLR Article 75.

The court next pointed out that Section 3020-a sets out a short statute of limitations for an aggrieved party to file his or her Article 75 appeal. The Appellate Division said “that proceeding was required to be commenced within the 10-day time limitation set forth in Education Law §3020-a (5).”
Finally, the Appellate Division held that although the Supreme Court Justice had the authority to treat the CPLR Article 78 proceeding as an application pursuant to CPLR Article 75, had it been brought in a timely fashion, “the limitations period applicable to that proceeding is governed by Education Law § 3020-a (5), and the Supreme Court properly concluded that it had no authority to extend that limitations period.”

By Harvey Randall, Esq. on Tuesday, January 09, 2007

See, for reference, "A Guide To Work Rules in the New York City Public Schools" 1993

No comments: