An Article 78 proceeding is used to appeal the decision of a New York state or local agency to the New York courts.
What can I do if I get a decision from a New York agency that I disagree with?
If you disagree with an agency decision, you can appeal the decision to the New York courts. This case that you file to appeal the decision 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 a fair hearing decision against the Department of Social Services (DSS). Some other kinds of decisions by government agencies, such as New York Department of Education U Rating can also be appealed to a court using the Article 78 proceeding.
Do I need a lawyer?
In what court do I file my appeal?
You usually have to file your appeal 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. Check with a lawyer as soon as you can to find out if your deadline is even shorter.
What do I have to do to win?
Many people lose Article 78 proceedings, even in cases that seem very unfair. Only a lawyer who listens to the facts of your case can give you a good answer about whether you may win your case.One argument you can raise is that the agency didn't follow its own rules when it made the decision. Two of the other things the court can consider are 1) whether the decision was "arbitrary and capricious" or 2) 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. New York courts very often decide in favor of the agency if the agency has written down some reason for its decision, even if many people would think the decision was wrong.
Can I do anything else besides filing an Article 78 proceeding?