Subchapter A: General Rules

Subchapter A

§3-11: Definitions
§3-12: Scope of Rules
§3-13: Filing
§3-14: Form of Documents
§3-15: Computation of Time
§3-16: Appearances
§3-17: Public Information and Access

§3-11: Definitions

As used herein the following terms shall mean:
Appearance. “Appearance” means a communication with the board or its tribunal that is made by a party or the representative of a party in connection with a notice of violation that is or was pending before the board or its tribunal. An appearance may be made in person or by remote methods - for example, by mail, on-line or by telephone.
Board. “Board” means the Environmental Control Board of the City of New York.
Executive Director. “Executive Director” means the executive director of the Environmental Control Board of the City of New York.
Hearing Officer. “Hearing Officer” means a person designated as a hearing officer by the chairman of the board.
Notice of Violation. “Notice of Violation” means the document issued by a petitioner to a respondent which specifies the charges forming the basis of an adjudicatory proceeding before the Environmental Control Board.
Party. “Party” means the person named as petitioner or respondent, or intervening as of right, in an adjudicatory or enforcement action before the board or its tribunal.
Person. “Person” means any individual, partnership, unincorporated association, corporation, limited liability company or governmental agency.
Petitioner. “Petitioner” means the commissioner, department or bureau within a department of the City of New York which commences an adjudicatory or enforcement proceeding before the Environmental Control Board.
Respondent. “Respondent” means the person against whom the charges alleged in a notice of violation have been filed.
Tribunal. “Tribunal” means the hearing officers and staff at the Environmental Control Board under the direction of the executive director charged with holding hearings on notices of violation, or hearings in the course of any special enforcement proceeding by the board.

§3-12: Scope of Rules

The rules contained herein govern the conduct of all adjudicatory hearings at the tribunal brought pursuant to the provisions of §1049-a of the New York City Charter and provisions of the New York City Administrative Code, or as otherwise authorized by law, and the conduct of such special hearings or enforcement proceedings before the board as authorized by Title 24 of the New York City Administrative Code.

§3-13: Filing

All documents required or permitted to be filed with the tribunal or the board shall be filed at the office of the executive director or at the tribunal or a branch thereof when more specifically provided by notice from the tribunal.

§3-14: Form of Documents

(a) All documents filed with the executive director shall contain a caption setting forth the title of the action, the file or docket number assigned to the action and a designation as to the nature of the document.
(b) All documents filed must be signed by the party or by the party's attorney or other duly authorized representative. The signature of an attorney constitutes a certification that he or she has read the document; that to the best of his or her knowledge, information and belief, there is good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for delay.
(c) All documents, other than notices of violation (provision for which is made in § 3-31), required to be served on other parties, shall be accompanied by an affidavit of service when filed. Such affidavit shall recite the date and manner of service as to each party and be executed by the serving party.

§3-15: Computation of Time

(a) Except as otherwise provided herein, computation of any period of time prescribed in these rules shall be as follows:

(1) The start date for the time period shall not be considered in the computation. The next business day is the first day of the time period.

(2) The computation is based on the number of calendar days.

(3) If the last day in the period is a Saturday, Sunday or New York City legal holiday, the period is extended to the next business day.

(b) When mail is used for service of any document (other than a notice of violation) on an opposing party, five additional days shall be granted the opposing party in taking any action or making any response required or permitted by these rules.

(c) Any emergency action taken by the board which requires action within a 24 hour period shall be taken regardless of whether the 24 hour period includes a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

§3-16: Appearances

The following persons are permitted to participate in proceedings before the tribunal:
(a) An individual may appear on his or her own behalf or by an authorized representative, or by attorney licensed to practice in the State of New York.
(b) Subject to the restrictions stated in section 3-16.2 (c), a business entity, not-for-profit organization or government agency may appear by any authorized officer or employee or by attorney licensed to practice in the State of New York, or by any other duly authorized representative.
(c) Any representative who is authorized by a City agency to appear on its behalf before the board or its tribunal may be authorized by any other City agency that issues notices of violation returnable to the board to appear on its behalf. An appearance includes any time an agency appears before a hearing officer to present a case or a motion for adjournment or for any other purpose concerning a notice of violation.
(d) The current owner of a property may appear on behalf of the prior owner of the property if the notice of violation:
(1) names the prior owner,
(2) is a premises related violation and
(3) was issued after title to the property was transferred.
However, the current property owner may only appear for the purposes of presenting a deed indicating when title passed. The current owner of the property may only present a defense on the merits if the current owner agrees to substitute him or herself for the prior owner, waiving service defenses.

§3-16.1 Registered Representatives.

A representative, other than a family member or an attorney admitted to practice in New York State, who represents five or more respondents before the tribunal within a calendar year must:

(a) be at least eighteen (18) years of age;

(b) register with the tribunal by completing and submitting a form provided by the tribunal. The form must include proof acceptable to the tribunal that identifies the representative, and must also include any other information that the tribunal may require. Registration must be renewed annually;

(c) notify the tribunal within ten (10) business days of any change in the information required on the registration form;

(d) not misrepresent his or her qualifications or service so as to mislead people into believing the representative is an attorney at law if the representative is not. A representative who is not an attorney admitted to practice must refer to him or herself as “representative” when appearing before the tribunal;

(e) exercise due diligence in learning and observing tribunal rules and preparing paperwork;

(f) be subject to discipline, including but not limited to suspension or revocation of the representative’s right to appear before the tribunal, for failing to follow the provisions of this subdivision.

§3-16.2 Prohibited Conduct.

(a) Prohibited conduct: A party, witness, representative or attorney must not:

(1) engage in abusive, disorderly or delaying behavior, a breach of the peace or any other disturbance which directly or indirectly tends to disrupt, obstruct or interrupt the proceedings at the tribunal;

(2) engage in any disruptive verbal conduct or action or gesture which a reasonable person would believe shows contempt or disrespect for the proceedings or which a reasonable person would believe to be intimidating;

(3) willfully disregard the authority of a hearing officer or other tribunal employee. This may include refusing to comply with the hearing officer’s directions or behaving in a disorderly, delaying or obstructionist manner as stated in section 3-52 (d);

(4) leave a hearing in progress without the permission of the hearing officer;

(5) attempt to influence or offer or agree to attempt to influence any hearing officer or employee of the tribunal by the use of threats, accusations, duress or coercion, a promise of advantage, or the bestowing or offer of any gift, favor or thing of value;

(6) enter any area other than a public waiting area unless accompanied or authorized by a tribunal employee. Upon conclusion of a hearing, a party, witness, representative or attorney must promptly exit non-public areas;

(7) request any tribunal clerical staff to perform tasks that are illegal, unreasonable or outside the scope of the employee’s job duties;

(8) operate any tribunal computer terminal or other equipment at any time unless the equipment has been designated for use by the public;

(9) submit a document, or present testimony or other evidence in a proceeding before a hearing officer which he or she knows, or reasonably should have known, to be false, fraudulent or misleading;

(10) induce or encourage anyone in a proceeding before a hearing officer to make a false statement;

(11) solicit clients, or cause the solicitation of clients by another person on
tribunal premises;

(12) make or cause to be made a stenographic, electronic, audio, audio-visual or other verbatim or photographic reproduction of any hearing or other proceeding, whether such hearing or other proceeding is conducted in person, by telephone, or other remote methods, except upon application to the hearing officer. This does not include copies of documents submitted to the tribunal during a hearing including written or electronic statements and exhibits. Except as otherwise provided by law, such application must be addressed to the discretion of the hearing officer, who may deny the application or grant it in full, in part, or upon such conditions as the hearing officer deems necessary to preserve the decorum of the proceedings and to protect the interests of the parties, witnesses and any other concerned persons.

(b) Prohibited Communication: All parties must be present when communications with tribunal personnel, including a hearing officer, occur, except as necessary for case processing and unless otherwise permitted by these rules, on consent or in an emergency. All persons are prohibited from initiating communication with a hearing officer or other employee before or after a hearing or before or after a decision on motion, in order to attempt to influence the outcome of a hearing or a decision on motion.

(c) Penalties for misconduct: Failure to abide by these rules constitutes misconduct. The executive director or his or her designee may, for good cause, suspend or bar from appearing before the tribunal an attorney or representative who fails to abide by these rules. The suspension may be either for a specified period of time or indefinitely until the attorney or representative demonstrates to the satisfaction of the executive director that the basis for the suspension no longer exists. However, the executive director may not act until after the attorney or representative is given notice and a reasonable opportunity to appear before the executive director or his or her designee to rebut the claims against him or her. The executive director or his or her designee, depending upon the nature of the conduct, will determine whether said appearance will be in person or by a remote method. This section in no way limits the power of a hearing officer to discipline any person as set out in § 3-52(d) of these rules.

(d) Discipline on other grounds: The executive director may, in addition to the provisions of subdivision (c) of this section, suspend or bar a representative upon a determination that the representative lacks honesty and integrity and that the lack of honesty and integrity will adversely affect his or her practice before the tribunal. Any action pursuant to this subdivision will be on notice to the representative and the representative will be given an opportunity to be heard in a proceeding prescribed by the executive director. Factors to be considered in determining whether a representative lacks honesty and integrity may include, but need not be limited to, considering whether the representative has made intentionally false, misleading or inappropriate statements to parties or tribunal staff.

(e) The decision of the executive director under subdivision (c) or (d) of this section constitutes a final agency action. Judicial review of the decision may be sought pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§3-17: Public Information and Access

(a) The executive director shall maintain files containing all information, documents, evidence, tape recordings, transcripts, and any other items submitted or produced in the course of any adjudicatory or special hearing or enforcement proceeding.
(b) Case files shall be available to the public in accordance with the Public Information Law of the State of New York (Public Officers Law, Art. 6) and the Rules of the City of New York (43 RCNY 1). Case files shall be retained on the premises of the tribunal for one year after the final action in a proceeding and then may be archived or destroyed in accordance with law.