NYC’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (responsible for summonses formerly heard under the Environmental Control Board – ECB) has adjusted their policies in light of NYC’s gradual reopening. Here’s what you need to know:
Physical Office Closure
According to their latest update, “OATH’s physical offices will remain closed until at least August 1, 2020, except where an in-person appearance is requested and approved by OATH.” All hearings for approved appearances will take place at the 66 John St., 10th Floor offices. This is separate from the Trials Division, where appearances will take place at 100 Church Street.
An in-person hearing request may be granted ” if the OATH Hearings Division determines that there is a compelling need for an in-person proceeding and the proceeding can be conducted while providing sufficient social distancing and other public health protections to comply with state and local government public health guidelines.” Requests can be made by emailing email@example.com, and providing additional details on why it’s not possible to participate in a hearing via telephone. Scheduling for any requests that are granted will be coordinated via the OATH Hearings Division.
Update On Scheduled Hearings, Defaulted Hearings
- Respondents must respond to their summons on or before the hearing date – hearings are no longer automatically being rescheduled. This is a big change from their policy to automatically reschedule defaulted hearings from March through June. While the Missed Hearings page still has the language about automatic rescheduling in place, the Chief Judge’s Order makes it clear that this policy ended on July 1, 2020.
- The Chief Judge also notes that OATH “may accommodate requests to adjourn and requests to reschedule…in instances where a party indicates an inability to participate by telephone due to the COVID-19 emergency.”
- If you had a hearing from 7/2 that was unattended, you can file a motion to vacate the default judgment up to 75 days from the date of the scheduled hearing.
- Requests for a new hearing made within this 75-day period will be automatically granted, with a new hearing date sent in the mail.
- The extension to file appeals for any decisions or responses to appeals served on or after 2/19/20 is still in place, with 60 days if the decision was issued in person, and 65 days if it was mailed. Further requests for extension will be granted for good cause shown.
Schedule Hearings By Telephone, Mail, or Online
- The same email addresses exist for scheduling hearings by telephone, the primary method for hearings at the moment – view emails for each borough office here.
- You must contact OATH before the hearing date to schedule via telephone.
- View details you need to provide for a hearing by telephone (summons numbers, respondent name, etc.) here
- You can also respond to a summons online or by mail, if your summons is eligible – enter your summons number for online eligibility here and mail eligibility here.
Agency Help and Resources
For questions about your hearing or payment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (844) OATH-NYC (628-4692). If you would like a one-on-one consultation about your rights and the hearing process, call the Help Center at (212) 436-0845 or email Manhelpcenter@oath.nyc.gov. For dedicated small business assistance you may also email Smallbizhelp@oath.nyc.gov.
We’ll keep you posted on any additional changes & adjustments. Of course, if you have any questions, reach out to our team at email@example.com. We’re happy to help you understand how these changes will impact your team and any upcoming hearings.