By Lewis Tesser, Partner, and Timothy Nolen, Associate
A recent opinion from the Nassau County Supreme Court demonstrates the reluctance of courts to interfere with the internal administrative affairs of a not-for-profit organization. The litigation included issues of administrative law, civil practice and constitutional law.
The case, Adams v. Imm, 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4429 (Sup. Ct. Nassau County, August 31, 2011) involved an Article 78 proceeding seeking to review a determination by the board of the Sheriff Officer’s Association to discipline the petitioner. The petitioner argued that the Board’s action—disciplining him pursuant to newly-enacted by-laws—was improper because the by-laws were not enacted in accordance with the Sheriff Officer’s Association’s amendments and the newly enacted by-laws were tantamount to a retroactive restrictive covenant. Rejecting this argument, the Court stressed that courts avoid interfering with not-for-profit internal affairs, but may review whether the petitioner received “fair play” from the organization. Since the petitioner had, the Court declined to stay the disciplinary proceedings.
Administrative proceedings are often complicated and involve unique and complex regulations or by-laws. At Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, our attorneys regularly represent clients before administrative agencies. Our experience can help clients navigate the often stressful experience of challenging an administrative decision, or litigating an Article 78 proceeding.