Lack Of Remorse Not Sufficient To State A Claim To "Shocking The Conscience"

Individual’s “lack of remorse and refusal to take responsibility” for misconduct considered by the court in affirming hearing officer’s disciplinary determination

Cipollaro v New York City Dept. of Educ., 2011 NY Slip Op 03131, Appellate Division, First Department

Barbara Cipollaro was served with disciplinary charges pursuant to §3020-a of the Education Law by her employer, the New York City Department of Education, alleging that she had knowingly defrauded Department of $98,000 over a two-year period by enrolling two of her children in New York City public schools while she and her family lived in Westchester County.

The hearing officer found Cipollaro guilty of the charges and she was terminated from her position.

Cipollaro filed a petition pursuant to Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules seeking a court order vacating hearing officer decision and the penalty imposed.

The Appellate Division ruled that there was no basis to disturb the Hearing Officer's determination. Significantly the court said that in view of Cipollaro’s “lack of remorse and failure to take responsibility for [her] actions, as well as the harm caused by her actions, the penalty of dismissal, even if there was an otherwise adequate performance record, cannot be said to shock the conscience” [of the court].

The decision is posted on the Internet at: