Imandt v. N.Y.S. Unified Court Sys.

Decision Date30 January 2019
Docket NumberIndex No. 1762/15,2015–10841
Citation168 A.D.3d 1051,93 N.Y.S.3d 343
Parties In the Matter of William S. IMANDT, etc., et al., Respondents-Appellants, v. NEW YORK STATE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM, et al., Appellants-Respondents.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

John W. McConnell, New York, N.Y. (Lee Alan Adlerstein and Pedro Morales of counsel), for appellants-respondents.

Greenberg Burzichelli Greenberg P.C., Lake Success, N.Y. (Seth H. Greenberg and Genevieve E. Peeples of counsel), for respondents-appellants.

CHERYL E. CHAMBERS, J.P., JEFFREY A. COHEN, ROBERT J. MILLER, JOSEPH J. MALTESE, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

ORDERED that the order is reversed insofar as appealed from, on the law; and it is further,

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as cross-appealed from; and it is further,

ORDERED that the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Nassau County, for the entry of a judgment denying the petition and dismissing the proceeding/action; and it is further,

ORDERED that one bill of costs is awarded to the New York State Unified Court System and A. Gail Prudenti.

In O'Neill v. Pfau , 31 Misc.3d 184, 915 N.Y.S.2d 465 [Sup. Ct., Suffolk County], mod 101 A.D.3d 731, 955 N.Y.S.2d 618, affd 23 N.Y.3d 993, 993 N.Y.S.2d 666, 18 N.E.3d 377 (hereinafter O'Neill ), a group of Suffolk County court officers successfully challenged a December 22, 2004, administrative order of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of the State of New York (hereinafter the CAJ). The Court of Appeals determined that the retroactive application of the December 2004 administrative order was arbitrary and capricious. The Court of Appeals issued its decision in O'Neill in June 2014, and the CAJ thereafter made retroactive payments to the Suffolk County court officers in accordance with the decision.

The Court Officers Benevolent Association of Nassau County (hereinafter COBANC) then requested that the CAJ recalculate the salaries of COBANC members in accordance with O'Neill. After no response was received, the President of COBANC and individual Nassau County court officers (hereinafter collectively the court officer parties) commenced this hybrid proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 and action for a declaratory judgment on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, seeking, inter alia, to compel the New York State Unified Court System and A. Gail Prudenti, as Chief Administrative Judge (hereinafter together the State parties), to pay COBANC members a salary adjustment retroactive to December 22, 2004, in the same manner as the State parties did for the O'Neill litigants, and for related declaratory relief. The Supreme Court, inter alia, determined that the petition was not time-barred and granted the petition to the extent of remitting the matter to the CAJ for the purpose of recalculating the salaries of COBANC members serving in the New York State Court Officer title in Nassau County, based on the prospective application of the December 2004 administrative order, as was directed in O'Neill. The court further determined that the declaratory judgment causes of action were without merit, in effect, directing the dismissal of those causes of action. The State parties appeal from so much of the order as partially granted the petition, and the court officer parties cross-appeal from so much of the order as, in effect, dismissed the declaratory judgment causes of action.

A challenge to an administrative determination must be brought within four months of the time the determination is "final and binding upon the petitioner" ( CPLR 217[1] ). A challenge to an administrative body's payment of salary or pay adjustments accrues when the petitioner receives a check reflecting the relevant administrative order (see Matter of O'Neill v. Pfau, 23 N.Y.3d at 995, 993 N.Y.S.2d 666, 18 N.E.3d 377 ; Matter of Maurer v. State Emergency Mgt. Off., 13 A.D.3d 751, 753, 786 N.Y.S.2d 620 ). Like the Suffolk County court officers, COBANC members received their first paycheck reflecting the December 2004 administrative order in April 2005.

While COBANC requested reconsideration of the December 2004 administrative order as applied to its members, a request for reconsideration does not toll or revive the statute of limitations (see Matter of Lubin v. Board of Educ. of City of N.Y., 60 N.Y.2d 974, 976, 471 N.Y.S.2d 256, 459 N.E.2d 481 ; Tornheim v. Fiala, 136 A.D.3d 797, 797, 25 N.Y.S.3d 290 ). Nor may a party circumvent the statute of limitations by demanding that an agency change its determination and seeking mandamus to compel when that demand is refused (see Matter of Metropolitan Museum Historic Dist. Coalition v. De Montebello, 20 A.D.3d 28, 36, 796 N.Y.S.2d 64 ; Matter of Sierra Club v. Power Auth. of State of N.Y., 203 A.D.2d 15, 16, 609 N.Y.S.2d 599 ). Accordingly, to the extent that the court officer parties seek review of the December 2004 administrative order pursuant to CPLR article 78, the petition is untimely by almost 10 years (see Matter of Quirk v. Lippman, 156 A.D.3d 516, 517, 68 N.Y.S.3d 39 ).

The causes of action seeking declaratory relief are similarly time-barred....

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