IN RE: Bertha LEWIS

Reset A A Font size: Print

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

IN RE: Bertha LEWIS, etc., et al., petitioners-respondents, v. Robert GARFINKLE, etc., et al., respondents, Cesar Trunzo, et al., appellants.

Decided: August 30, 2006

STEPHEN G. CRANE, J.P., GABRIEL M. KRAUSMAN, WILLIAM F. MASTRO, and REINALDO E. RIVERA, JJ.

In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, inter alia, to invalidate certain so-called Wilson-Pakula certificates (see Election Law § 6-120[3] ) issued by the Suffolk County Working Families Party Executive Committee authorizing certain persons who were not enrolled as members of the Working Families Party to appear as candidates on the ballot in a primary election to be held on September 12, 2006, and a general election to be held on November 7, 2006, Caesar Trunzo, s/h/a Cesar Trunzo, Thomas Barraga, Andrew Raia, Robert Ghosio, Jr., s/h/a Bob Ghosio, Charles Pohanka, Donna Lent, and the Working Families Party Suffolk County Committee appeal, by permission, from an order of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Baisley, Jr., J.), dated August 22, 2006, which denied their motion, among other things, to dismiss the proceeding pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5) and Election Law § 16-102(2) as time-barred.

ORDERED that the order is reversed, on the law, without costs or disbursements, that branch of the motion which was to dismiss the proceeding pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5) and Election Law § 16-102(2) as time-barred is granted, and the motion is otherwise denied as academic.

On May 18, 2006, at a meeting of the Suffolk County Working Families Party Executive Committee (hereinafter the Committee), it was resolved that so-called Wilson-Pakula certificates (see Election Law 6-120[3] ) would be issued authorizing certain persons who were not enrolled as members of the Working Families Party to be placed as candidates (hereinafter the nonenrolled candidates) on the ballots for the upcoming primary and general elections.   The certificates were filed with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on May 19, 2006.   On June 7, 2006, the Committee issued so-called Wilson-Pakula certificates authorizing other nonenrolled candidates to be placed on the ballots in the upcoming elections, and those certificates were filed with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on July 13, 2006.

The gravamen of this proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 is that certain candidates were improperly placed on the ballot in Suffolk County due to the allegedly illegal issuance of Wilson-Pakula certificates by the Committee.   As the proceeding seeks to remove candidates from the ballot based on the nomination and designation procedures of Election Law article 6, it is governed by the statute of limitations set forth in Election Law § 16-102(2) (see Matter of Scaringe v. Ackerman, 119 A.D.2d 327, 506 N.Y.S.2d 918, affd. 68 N.Y.2d 885, 508 N.Y.S.2d 944, 501 N.E.2d 593).   Pursuant to Election Law § 16-102(2), July 27, 2006, was the deadline to commence judicial proceedings with respect to petitions designating persons as candidates for public office.   Accordingly, this proceeding, commenced on August 11, 2006, was untimely.   To the extent that Matter of Conservative Party of State of N.Y. v. New York State Bd. of Elections, 231 A.D.2d 481, 646 N.Y.S.2d 891 may be read to the contrary, it should no longer be followed.

In light of the foregoing, we need not consider the parties' remaining contentions.

Copied to clipboard