By Lewis Tesser, Partner, and Timothy Nolen, Associate, of Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
A case out of the Nassau County Supreme Court demonstrates the difficulties contractors and businesspeople encounter when seeking or maintaining licenses. The case involves issues of administrative law, licensing, and business operation.
The case, Matter of Malley v. Farley, 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3321, Index No. 05990-2011 (July 7, 2011), involved a contractor who had previously obtained a temporary county Home Improvement License. Following a Complaint by a former customer, the county revoked the contractor’s license without a hearing, noting that the contractor had previously worked for another company which had its license revoked due to a “pattern of unfair dealings with consumers.” After the Complaint was settled, the county continued to refuse to reinstate the contractor’s license. Justice Marber, however, found that Due Process required that the county provide the contractor with a hearing, noting that he had a property right in the license which had been revoked and that the suspension of the license “impedes [the contractor’s] ability to conduct business and as such an injury in fact has been visited upon [the contractor].” Thus, the court lifted the suspension of the license pending a hearing.
Malley highlights the difficulties many businesspeople face in obtaining and maintaining licenses: although licensees may face difficult hearings following alleged misconduct, it can sometimes be difficult even to obtain a hearing in the first place. Moreover, although the contractor may have his license reinstated, he could have lost substantial business during the time that the license was suspended.