Sirignano v. Sunderland

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New York)
Citation196 Misc.2d 831,766 N.Y.S.2d 786
Decision Date04 August 2003
PartiesIn the Matter of GEORGE A. SIRIGNANO, JR., Petitioner,<BR>v.<BR>CAROLEE C. SUNDERLAND et al., as Commissioners of the Board of Elections of the County of Westchester, et al., Respondents.

196 Misc.2d 831
766 N.Y.S.2d 786

In the Matter of GEORGE A. SIRIGNANO, JR., Petitioner,
v.
CAROLEE C. SUNDERLAND et al., as Commissioners of the Board of Elections of the County of Westchester, et al., Respondents.

August 4, 2003.


Bashian, Enea & Sirignano, LLP, White Plains (George A. Sirignano of counsel), for petitioner.

Charlene M. Indelicato, County Attorney, White Plains (Matthew I. Gallagher of counsel), for Carolee C. Sunderland and another, respondent.

DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Tartaglia Wise & Wiederkehr, LLP, White Plains (Alan D. Scheinkman of counsel), for Kevin J. Quaranta, respondent.

[196 Misc.2d 832]

OPINION OF THE COURT

THOMAS A. DICKERSON, J.

The Bedford Town Justice

The petitioner, George A. Sirignano, is a Town Justice in the Town of Bedford and is seeking reelection in this year's general election to be held on November 4, 2003. The Independence Party designated the petitioner as its candidate for the office of Bedford Town Justice and filed nominating petitions on his behalf with the respondent, the Westchester County Board of Elections (the Board). The respondent, Kevin J. Quaranta (respondent candidate), would also like to be a Bedford Town Justice and in that regard Independence Party nominating petitions were circulated on his behalf and were filed with the Board on July 8, 2003.

The Objections and the Board's Decision

The petitioner timely filed general and specific objections with the Board challenging the respondent candidate's Independence Party petitions as being insufficient, ineffective, false, fraudulent, invalid and null and void. On July 23, 2003 the Board ruled on the petitioner's objections finding 10 of the 27 filed signatures invalid but otherwise finding the respondent candidate's Independence Party nominating petitions valid.

"The petition, as filed, contained twenty-seven (27) signatures. The Board sustained ten (10) objections. Since thirteen (13) signatures were necessary and the petition contains seventeen (17) valid signatures, the petition remains valid and the name of Kevin J. Quaranta will appear on the September 9, 2003 ballot for the Independence Party for the office of Town Justice, Town of Bedford."
The Petition Seeking Judicial Review

On July 25, 2003 the petitioner filed a petition, brought on by order to show cause, seeking judicial review of the Board's July 23, 2003 decision validating the respondent candidate's Independence Party nominating petitions. At a conference held before this court on July 30, 2003 the parties were directed to address the threshold jurisdictional issue of the timeliness of the filing of the petition at a subsequent hearing. On August 1, 2003 the parties appeared at a hearing and after extensive argument this court dismissed the petition for the following reasons.

[196 Misc.2d 833]

Election Law § 16-102 (2)

Election Law § 16-102 (2) applies to this case and provides as follows:

"A proceeding with respect to a petition shall be instituted within fourteen days after the last day to file the petition, or within three business days after the officer or board with whom or which such petition was filed, makes a determination of invalidity with respect to such petition, whichever is later * * *."
The 14-Day Filing Rule

A judicial proceeding to validate or invalidate a petition must be brought within 14 days after the last date to file a petition with the Board which in this case was July 10, 2003. A failure to file within the 14-day period is a fatal jurisdictional defect requiring dismissal on the grounds of untimeliness (see e.g., Matter of Eckart v Edelstein, 185 AD2d 955, 956 [2d Dept 1992] ["Thus, it was not timely commenced, and the court lacked jurisdiction to consider the merits of the petitioners' claims"]; Matter of Miller v Canary, 133 AD2d 199, 200 [2d Dept 1987]; Matter of Moss v D'Apice, 138 AD2d 436 [2d Dept 1988]; Matter of Augustine v D'Apice, 153 AD2d 714 [2d Dept 1989]).

It is clear that the petitioner filed the petition on July 25, 2003 and, hence, failed to file his petition within 14 days of July 10, 2003. As such the petition must be dismissed as untimely.

A Common-Law Exception: The Three-Day Extension Rule

To protect candidates whose petitions were found to be invalid by Boards of Elections after the 14-day time period to file a petition had run the Court of Appeals created an exception to the 14-day filing rule in Matter of Pell v Coveney (37 NY2d 494, 496 [1975] ["Here, the petitioners received notice of the Election...

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1 practice notes
  • Murawski v. Pataki, No. 06 Civ. 12965(RJH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 26, 2007
    ...last day to file a petition, or within`three business days of the State BOE's decision, whichever is later. See Sirignano v. Sunderland, 196 Misc.2d 831, . 836, 766 N.Y.S.2d 786 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.2003) (stating that failure to file within the statutory time period is a "fatal jurisdictional defec......
1 cases
  • Murawski v. Pataki, No. 06 Civ. 12965(RJH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 26, 2007
    ...last day to file a petition, or within`three business days of the State BOE's decision, whichever is later. See Sirignano v. Sunderland, 196 Misc.2d 831, . 836, 766 N.Y.S.2d 786 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.2003) (stating that failure to file within the statutory time period is a "fatal jurisdictional defec......

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