by Gene Doyle, LMSW
In a December 12, 1995 Letter to People Organized for Our Rights, Inc. (P.O.O.R.), Russell J. Hanks, Deputy General Counsel for Administrative Hearings, addressed a series of questions concerning the issuance of corrected and amended Decisions After or Without Fair Hearings under 18 NYCRR § 358-6.6(a) and the reopening of Fair Hearing records under 18 NYCRR § 358-6.6(b).
Mr. Hanks clarified (at p. 2, ¶ 4) that these regulations do not impose any time limit for requesting the issuance of corrected/amended decisions or the reopening of fair hearing records:
"4. No time limit is specified for the Commissioner's review of a previously issued decision since such review and a determination to correct or reopen are solely within the Commissioner's discretion. The Statute of Limitations for judicial review imposed by the Civil Practice Law and Rules is a factor considered in the Commissioner's determination."
The Statute of Limitations, to which Mr. Hanks referred, is found in Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) § 217.
With regard to recordkeeping, Mr. Hanks noted (at p. 2, ¶ 5) that "Heard and closed cases are retained by this office for a minimum of three years from date of decision issuance."
When OAH receives a request to correct a decision or to reopen a record, Mr. Hanks stated (at p. 2, ¶¶ 8-9) that the request can be reviewed by a variety of staff:
"8. Review of issued decisions can involve the hearing officer who issued the decision, the hearing officer's supervisor, the supervisor's supervisor, and myself.
"9. The determination to amend or correct a decision or to reopen a hearing is made on a case-by-case basis, after considering the evidence of record."
Lastly, Mr. Hanks noted (at p. 2, ¶ 10) that
"Any materials related to the determination to review an issued decision and related to the determination made as a result of the review (i.e., to issue a corrected decision or reopen the hearing) are made a part of the record of the hearing."
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