City of New York
Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings
Notice of Public Hearing and Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Rules
What are we proposing? The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) proposes to modify various adjudication procedures at OATH and to allow the OATH Hearings Division to adjudicate summonses formerly heard at the Environmental Control Board and the Taxi and Limousine Tribunal. These changes reflect organizational changes at OATH and will simplify, clarify and expedite the adjudications process.
When and where is the Hearing? OATH will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule. The public hearing will take place at 10:30 AM on May 16, 2016. The hearing will be in the Conference Room located at 66 John Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038.
How do I comment on the proposed rules? Anyone can comment on the proposed rules by:
Website. You can submit comments to OATHthrough the NYC rules website at: http://rules.cityofnewyork.us.
Email. You can email written comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail. You can mail written comments to: OATH, Attention: Helaine Balsam, 100 Church Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10007.
Fax. You can fax written comments to OATH at: 212-933-3079.
By Speaking at the Hearing. Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed rule at the public hearing must sign up to speak. You can sign up before the hearing by calling Stacey Turner, Executive Assistant to the Deputy General Counsel, at (212) 933-3007. You can also sign up in the hearing room before the hearing begins on May 16, 2016. You can speak for up to three (3) minutes.
Is there a deadline to submit written comments? You may submit written comments up to May 16, 2016.
Do you need assistance to participate in the Hearing? You must tell OATH staff if you need a reasonable accommodation for a disability at the Hearing. You must tell us if you need a sign language interpreter. You can tell us by mail at the address given above. You may also tell us by telephone at (212) 933-3007. You must tell us by May 9, 2016.
Can I review the comments made on the proposed rules? You can review the comments made online on the proposed rules by going to the website at http://rules.cityofnewyork.us/. A few days after the hearing, a transcript of the hearing and copies of the written comments will be available to the public at 100 Church Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10007.
What authorizes OATH to adopt this rule? Section 1049 of the New York City Charter (“Charter”) authorizes OATH to adopt this proposed rule. OATH’s regulatory agenda for this Fiscal Year anticipated that rulemaking may be necessary to amend its existing Rules of Practice to achieve greater efficiency, fairness, consistency and access to justice.
Where can I find OATH’s rules? OATH’s rules are found in Title 48 of the Rules of the City of New York, available at http://rules.cityofnewyork.us/.
What laws govern the rulemaking process? OATH must meet the requirements of Section 1043(b) in the Charter when creating or changing rules. This notice is made according to the requirements of sections 1043(b) and 1049 of the Charter.
Statement of Basis and Purpose
Section 1049 of the New York City Charter (Charter) authorizes the Chief Administrative Law Judge of OATH to “direct the office…with respect to its management and structure” and to “establish rules for the conduct of hearings.” This proposed rule modifies OATH’s procedural rules, which are found in Title 48 of the Rules of the City of New York (RCNY), as follows:
- Sections 1 through 55 would amend the OATH Trials Division rules to clarify when a party is required or allowed to take specific actions. They would also clarify that language assistance will be provided to parties and witnesses. In addition, parties, prior to participating in a settlement conference, may now be required to submit to an administrative law judge a letter summarizing settlement negotiations and offers. They would also now be required to submit a pre-motion request for an informal conference prior to making a written motion that might allow for disposal of the case without a trial.
- Sections 56 through 79 would allow the OATH Hearings Division (Hearings Division) to adjudicate summonses formerly heard at the Environmental Control Board (ECB) and the Taxi and Limousine Tribunal (TLT).
More specifically, proposed changes in sections 56 through 79 include revisions to Chapters 3, 5 and 6 of Title 48 of the RCNY:
- Subchapters A through F of Chapter 3 and Chapter 5 are proposed to be repealed and redrafted. Many sections contained in these Chapters and Subchapters are now contained in Chapter 6, which governs proceedings before the Hearings Division. (For example, rules pertaining to registered representatives and attorneys have been eliminated from Chapters 3 and 5, and additional requirements have been added to Chapter 6 to address concerns raised by incidents occurring over the past several years.)
- New Chapter 3 would include additional rules that are specific to hearings formerly heard before ECB.
- New Chapter 5 would include rules that are specific to hearings before the former TLT.
- Chapter 6, which contains rules governing procedures at the Hearings Division, is proposed to be amended to provide for adjudication of all cases before the Hearings Division. With respect to cases that were previously adjudicated by ECB, decisions by the Hearings Division are recommendations to the ECB. If an appeal is not filed, such decisions become final orders of the ECB that may be docketed pursuant to section 1049-a(d)(1)(g) of the Charter.
- Chapter 6 is also proposed to be amended to modify the current requirement to pay penalties and fines in full within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision. Full payment of penalties and fines will not be required within thirty (30) days if the agency responsible for collecting the payment enters into a payment plan with the respondent. The requirement to pre-pay fines or penalties prior to appeal has also been modified to permit no prepayment if OATH grants a waiver due to financial hardship, or the agency responsible for collecting penalties waives pre-payment (such as in the case of summonses previously adjudicated at the Taxi and Limousine Tribunal) or enters into a payment plan with the respondent. However, if the decision orders payment of restitution, the amount of restitution must be deposited with the issuing agency prior to acceptance of an appeal.
- Where the rules in Chapters 3 and 5 conflict with the rules in Chapter 6, the rules in Chapters 3 and 5 take precedence.
This reorganization will promote the fairness, efficiency, and consistency of adjudications. It will also allow new types of cases to be adjudicated at OATH in the future.