Matter of Smith v. New York City Department of Education
This Article 75 case was brought about by Petitioner, Theodore Smith, to challenge the decision and penalty, a one-year suspension without pay. Petitioner was a tenured New York City physical education teacher who had multiple allegations of misconduct, insubordination, incompetence and dereliction. The Arbitrator trying the case found Petitioner guilty of most of the specifications.
Mr. Smith challenged this decision, arguing that virtually every aspect of the disciplinary process violated his due process right to a fair and unpartial hearing. Specifically, the performance of the second Arbitrator, Edelman, who made his decision based solely on the transcript of the proceedings before the first Arbitrator. The first Arbitrator recused himself of the case due to an alleged death threat made by Mr. Smith. This information was then passed along to the second Arbitrator. Arbitrator Edelman did not grant Smith a hearing de novo and based his findings on considerations of credibility without seeing and hearing the witness.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court granted the petition, vacated the decision by Arbitrator Edelman, and remanded the matter for a new hearing.