OATH Rule Permitting Financial Hardship Waivers in Restitution Appeals

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Monday, July 20, 2020

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings’ Environmental Control Board (OATH ECB) amends subdivision a and subdivision b of section 6-19 of title 48 of the Rules of the City of New York to allow a respondent seeking to file an appeal to obtain a financial hardship waiver for restitution payments. If a respondent wishes to appeal an OATH ECB hearing decision pursuant to such section 6-19, the respondent must, in addition to meeting other requirements, indicate in writing that any fines, penalties, or restitution imposed by the hearing decision have been paid in full, unless the respondent is granted a waiver due to financial hardship, or another exception applies. Prior to this rule amendment, such a waiver could be granted with respect to the payment of fines and penalties, but not with respect to the payment of restitution. The two sections of this rule change, described below, are necessary to ensure that respondents facing financial hardship can exercise their right to an appeal regardless of the type of sanction imposed upon them by a hearing decision.

Section 1 of this rule amends clause (A) of subparagraph (iii) of paragraph 1 of subdivision a of section 6-19 of title 48 of the Rules of the City of New York to permit a respondent who has been granted a financial hardship waiver to file an appeal of an OATH ECB decision without indicating in writing that any payments of restitution imposed by the decision have been made in full. Prior to this rule change, such alternative would only be available where the decision imposed the payment of a fine or a penalty.

Section 2 of this rule amends subdivision b of section 6-19 of title 48 of the Rules of the City of New York to eliminate the restitution exception for financial hardship waivers. This amendment allows the OATH ECB Chief Administrative Law Judge, or his or her designee, to waive the requirement that a respondent indicate in writing and submit proof that the respondent has paid restitution in full prior to or at the time of filing an appeal, where the respondent has produced evidence of the respondent’s financial hardship.