Tesser Ryan Blog

State Supreme Court Finds that Former Bus Driver’s Claims Under Collective Bargaining Agreement are Barred for Failing to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

By Lewis Tesser, Partner, and Timothy Nolen, Associate, of Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP

A recent Dutchess County Supreme Court decision demonstrates the need to act promptly when challenging administrative decisions.  The litigation concerned issues of administrative law, contract law, and labor and employment law.

The case, Mason v. City of Poughkeepsie, 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3108, No. 3478-11 (Sup Ct. Dutchess County, June 29, 2011), involved a bus driver who was discharged by the city of Poughkeepsie. The bus driver filed an Article 78 motion challenging the termination, and the city responded by claiming that the action was untimely. Justice Pagones accepted the city’s position, noting that the plaintiff failed to pursue the Article 78 motion—a judicial challenge to an administrative decision—within four months of the city’s mailing the plaintiff a termination letter, as required by statute. Additionally, the Court noted that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, noting that the plaintiff’s collective bargaining agreement provided for a “Grievance” procedure which the plaintiff failed to pursue in a timely manner before filing suit.  Therefore, the Court dismissed the bus driver’s Article 78 motion.

Mason is a good example of the danger of waiting too long to pursue administrative action: in Mason, the plaintiff was without a remedy since he failed to pursue a Grievance within 30 days of when he should have received his termination letter.

Tesser, Ryan & Rochman regularly represents clients before regulatory and administrative agencies. We recognize the importance of thorough preparation to ensure that challenges to administrative decisions are handled in an effective and timely manner.

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