Remote Hearings Become New Normal for OATH
By Renee Sosnowski
Since mid-March, the City of New York Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) has been operating remotely, including hearings, trials, settlement conferences, mediations, and more. During this time, OATH has conducted more than 2,600 remote help sessions and issued more than 8,000 decisions.
The success of OATH’s remote operations has prompted the city’s independent administrative law court to continue the practice after its offices reopen. All hearings will continue to take place remotely through the end of the year. Only certain pre-approved cases will be scheduled for in-person appearances.
OATH Policy on Appearances
All hearings on summonses will take place by telephone or, in cases where the enforcement agency does not appear, by submitting a written defense to OATH by email or mail before the hearing date. Most summonses issued by the Departments of Sanitation, Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation, and the New York Police Department are eligible for written defense submissions.
OATH will conduct certain in-person hearings and trial proceedings that are scheduled in advance, if such requests are submitted and approved by OATH before the scheduled hearing or trial. Either the respondent or the enforcement agency may request an in-person hearing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and explaining why it is not possible to participate by telephone.
Effective July 1, 2020, respondents and enforcement agencies will each be allowed one reschedule, provided that OATH receives the request before the scheduled hearing. OATH may choose to accommodate more than one reschedule request by a respondent if he or she cannot participate in the hearing due to the COVID-19 emergency.
As of July 1, 2020, a case will enter default status if a respondent fails to do any of the following:
- Reschedule the hearing date
- Contact OATH to schedule the telephonic hearing on or by the hearing date
- Submit a written defense on or before the hearing date
Defaulted summonses can receive a new hearing date if the respondent requests a new hearing from OATH within 60 days of the missed hearing. (Such leniency only extends to the first request for a new hearing.)
Either party may file an appeal of a decision issued by an OATH Hearings Division or a response to an appeal served on or after February 19, 2020, within 65 days.
OATH Trials Division
Parties scheduled to appear before OATH’s Trials Division should email OATHCalunit@OATH.NYC.gov.
For more information on OATH hearings, please contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.