In a recent decision by the Appellate Term, First Department, Judge Susan Avery held that the proper method to challenge a determination made by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), is through a CPLR Article 78 proceeding [1].  This article will first discuss the recent Appellate Term decision and then provide additional information about CPLR Article 78 proceedings.

In Masaryk Towers Corp, the Court found that the Respondents were precluded from relitigating their succession claims in a licensee holdover proceeding because their successor tenancy applications were denied by HPD [2].  The Court’s reasoning behind its finding was that HPD is vested with exclusive jurisdiction to determine remaining occupant claims in city-aided housing and its issue of a denial of the Respondents’ succession rights and a certificate of eviction cannot be attacked in a subsequent summary proceeding [3].

An Article 78 proceeding is the proper proceeding to use when a party seeks to appeal a decision of a New York State or local agency to the New York Courts [4].  An appeal is brought by means of an Article 78 proceeding, which is filed in the New York State Supreme Court [5].  The proceeding is termed “an Article 78 proceeding” because the rules that govern it are found in Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) [6].  

In regards to legal representation in the context of Article 78 proceedings, you do not need a lawyer but it is recommended since a lawyer usually files the proceeding and it may be difficult to file the necessary papers since the papers and their terminology can be technical. Further, Article 78 proceedings must generally be filed within 4 months of the date of the unfavorable decision and therefore it is again recommended that you get a lawyer if you are a party to such a proceeding [7].  

In terms of arguments to raise when appealing the agency decision, a party can make numerous arguments such as the agency that rendered the decision did not follow its own rules when making the decision [8].  Other arguments that the court may consider are whether the decision was arbitrary and capricious or if the decision was not supported by substantial evidence [9].  This list is not exhaustive, but just some of the many arguments a party may make at an Article 78 proceeding.

The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws relating to agency decisions and appealing agency decisions are complex especially in the context of Article 78 proceedings. If you are a party to a matter concerning an Article 78 proceeding or an agency decision or otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, SINGH & RANI, LLP can assist you.

[1] See generally Masaryk Towers Corp. v. Xiao Feng, NY Slip Op 50392(U) (App. Term, First Dept, 2019).

[2]  Id.

[3]  Masaryk Towers Corp. v. Xiao Feng, NY Slip Op 50392(U) (App. Term, First Dept, 2019) (citing City of New York v. Montefusco, 29 Misc. 3d 126[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 51659[U] (App Term, 1st Dept. 2010)).  

[4]  https://www.lawny.org/node/62/article-78-proceedings-–-how-appeal-agency-decision

[5]  Id.

[6]  Id.

[7]  Id.

[8]  Id.

[9]  Id.

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Bikram Singh

Mr. Singh has been practicing law in the New York State and Federal Courts for almost 10 years. He was a principal attorney at Bikram Singh Law, P.C., after graduating with honors from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 2008.