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Article 78 Appellate Proceedings

Article 78 Appellate Proceedings

An Article 78 proceeding is used to appeal the decision of a New York State, City or Local Agency to the New York State Courts.

What can I do if I get a decision from a New York agency that I disagree with?
If you disagree with an state, city or local agency decision, you can appeal that decision to the New York State courts by filing what is called an "Article 78 Proceeding." It is named after the section of New York law that sets out the rules for this kind of case: Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules. Most people ask us about this kind of case after they have lost an administrative disciplinary hearing in their employment with the state, city or local agency within the State of New York. All kinds of decisions by government agencies that adversely affect you can be appealed to a court using the Article 78 proceeding.

Do I need a lawyer?
Article 78 Proceedings can be complex both procedurally and in terms of the legal documents necessary to pursue an appeal.  We often need to argue complicated issues of law in application to the facts of a particular case in pursuing an appeal, so it may be difficult for you, although not impossible, to proceed on your own. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you retain an attorney for your appeal. We have litigated many Article 78 appeals, from wrongful discharges from state and city government jobs to improper withholding of wages by the City of New York. If you believe you have been wronged by a government agency, contact us immediately. We can help you evaluate whether you have any grounds for an appeal of the agency decision that adversely affected you and make sure that your appeal is pursued as aggressively and effectively as possible.

Where is my appeal filed?
Your appeal is usually filed in the New York State Supreme Court. Each county has its own Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is usually located at the County Courthouse.

Is there a time deadline for filing an Article 78 proceeding?
Yes. Article 78 Proceedings must be filed within four months of the date you receive the decision you want to appeal. If you do not file within that time period, you will likely be prevented from pursuing your appeal. Therefore, it is very important that you contact us as soon as you get the adverse decision in order for us to evaluate your case within the time frame that the courts will allow us to file your appeal.

Keep in mind that Article 78 proceedings are often difficult cases, because of the legal requirements that the appellate courts have imposed on overturning administrative decisions. We will review your prior administrative decision and tell you if you have a case for appeal that you truly have a chance to win. We will not raise your hopes or waste your time and money if we do not believe that you have a meritorious case for appeal.

What are the issues the court will consider?
One argument we may raise is that the agency didn't follow its own rules when it made the decision. Other arguments the court can consider are whether the decision was "arbitrary and capricious" or not supported by "substantial evidence". These words have special legal meanings. "Arbitrary and capricious" means the decision is not reasonably related to the facts of the case. "Substantial evidence" is evidence that a reasonable person would accept as enough to support the agency's decision. If you lost a hearing, you probably feel that you should win on both of these issues. We understand how much you have at stake in pursuing your appeal and will vigorously assert your legal rights in petitioning the court to correct the improper prior administrative decision rendered against you.

Are there other options besides filing an Article 78 Proceeding?
If your case involves rights protected by the U.S. Constitution or legality of a federal law, we may be able to file a case in the federal court or in the New York State Supreme Court. In that case, you may have up to three years from the date of the administrative decision to file your case. It is, however, always safest to challenge the administrative decision within four months or sooner from the date of the adverse decision anyway, to make sure that you do not miss a time deadline. Contact us to fully evaluate your case.

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