This bill would impose certain procedural requirements on the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) in relation to hearings on violations of New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) laws or regulations. The bill would require the petitioner to appear in person, through a representative or remotely at a hearing and mandate that the petitioner appear; explicitly grant OATH administrative law judges and hearing officers the discretion to reduce penalties in the interest of justice; require such judges and hearing officers to dismiss a duplicate notice of violation; require that a hearing begin within three hours and prohibit TLC involvement in the appeal of OATH penalty decisions with an exception for respondent petitions to lower TLC penalties. The purpose of this legislation is to alleviate the administrative and financial burdens that livery drivers subject to OATH hearings face.
Int. No. 748
By Council Members Cabrera, Diaz and Yeger
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to certain taxi and limousine commission-related hearing procedures of the office of administrative trials and hearings
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Title 19 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new chapter 9 to read as follows:
SPECIAL HEARING PROCEDURES APPLICABLE TO VIOLATIONS OF TAXI AND LIMOUSINE COMMISSION LAWS OR REGULATIONS
§ 19-901 Definitions. For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
ALJ. The term “ALJ” means an administrative law judge appointed by the chief administrative law judge of OATH pursuant to section 1049 of the charter.
Appeals unit. The term “appeals unit” means the unit authorized under section 6-19 of title 48 of the rules of the city of New York to review ALJ and hearing officer decisions.
Commission. The term “commission” means the New York city taxi and limousine commission.
Hearing officer. The term “hearing officer” means a person designated by the chief administrative law judge of OATH, or such judge’s designee, to carry out the adjudicatory powers, duties and responsibilities of the tribunal.
OATH. The term “OATH” means the office of administrative trials and hearings.
Petitioner. The term “petitioner” means the city agency authorized to issue notices of violation returnable to the tribunal.
Respondent. The term “respondent” means the person against whom the charges alleged in a summons have been filed.
Summons. The term “summons” means the document, including a notice of violation, that specifies the charges forming the basis of an adjudicatory proceeding before the tribunal.
Tribunal. The term “tribunal” means the OATH hearings division, which includes the administrative tribunal referenced in section 19-506.1.
§ 19-902 Appearance of petitioner at commission-related hearing. a. Notwithstanding any rule promulgated by OATH or the commission, at a hearing before the tribunal on a violation of a law or regulation enforced by the commission, the petitioner shall appear in one of the following ways:
1. In person;
2. By sending an authorized representative who is an attorney admitted to practice law in New York state or another authorized representative as OATH permits by rule; or
3. When the tribunal offers the opportunity to do so, by remote methods as OATH permits by rule.
b. Such hearing shall not proceed without the appearance of the petitioner.
c. The tribunal shall dismiss such violation if a petitioner fails to appear or to make a timely request to reschedule pursuant to section 6-05 of title 48 of the rules of the city of New York. The tribunal shall carry out such dismissal in conjunction with the hearing deadline set forth in section 19-905.
§ 19-903 ALJ and hearing officer discretion to reduce commission penalties. a. If an ALJ or hearing officer finds a violation, such ALJ or hearing officer may in the interest of justice reduce a penalty set by the commission after determining that such reduction is appropriate because one or more compelling considerations or circumstances clearly demonstrates that imposing such penalty would constitute or result in injustice. In determining whether such compelling consideration or circumstance exists, the ALJ or hearing officer shall, to the extent applicable, consider, individually and collectively, the following factors:
1. The seriousness and circumstances of the violation;
2. The extent of harm caused by the violation;
3. The evidence supporting or refuting the violation charged, whether admissible or inadmissible at a hearing;
4. The history, character and condition of the respondent;
5. The effect of imposing upon the respondent the penalty set by the commission;
6. The impact of a penalty reduction on the safety or welfare of the community;
7. The impact of a penalty reduction on public confidence in the commission, OATH and the implementation of laws by the city;
8. The position of the petitioner regarding the proposed fine reduction with reference to the specific circumstances of the respondent and the violation charged; and
9. Any other relevant fact indicating whether a decision to impose the penalty set by the commission on the respondent would serve a useful purpose.
b. Upon reducing a penalty set by the commission, the ALJ or hearing officer shall set forth the reasons for such reduction in the record.
§ 19-904 ALJ and hearing officer dismissal of a duplicate notice of violation. a. An ALJ or hearing officer shall dismiss a notice of violation in relation to a hearing before the tribunal on a violation of a law or regulation enforced by the commission upon determining that such notice of violation is in contravention of subdivision e of section 19-507.1.
b. In order for such ALJ or hearing officer to determine whether or not to dismiss such notice of violation, the respondent shall provide proof to such ALJ or hearing officer at such hearing in the form of summonses pertaining to the duplicate or substantively identical violations.
§ 19-905 Commission-related hearing deadline. A hearing before the tribunal on a violation of a law or regulation enforced by the commission shall begin within three hours of the assigned time set forth in the summons. If such hearing does not begin within such three-hour period, the tribunal may immediately assign the respondent a new date, time and location to appear for a hearing or dismiss the notice of violation.
§ 19-906 Appeal of tribunal decision pertaining to commission penalties. A determination of the appeals unit of the tribunal on penalties in relation to a hearing on a violation of a law or regulation enforced by the commission becomes the final determination of the tribunal, except when the respondent seeks further review to lower a penalty set by the commission. Notwithstanding any rule promulgated by OATH or the commission, neither the petitioner nor the respondent shall petition the chairperson of the commission or such chairperson’s designee to adopt, reject or modify such a determination, except that the respondent may petition the chairperson or such chairperson’s designee to lower a penalty set by the commission. Aside from further review pertaining to the exception described in this section, the chairperson of the commission or the chairperson’s designee shall not review any penalty-related determinations of the appeals unit of the tribunal.
§ 2. This local law takes effect 180 days after it becomes law, except that the office of administrative trials and hearings and the New York city taxi and limousine commission shall take such measures as are necessary for the implementation of this local law, including the promulgation of rules, before such date.
LS #5737, 5765, 5768, 5777, 6120