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SUB CLASS B
You are a Sub Class B Member if you are included in the following definition:
All subjects of indicated reports where, ... between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007, either (1) the records regarding the Subject were changed to reflect entry of a determination after hearing of Waived or (2) the records regarding the Subject were changed to reflect entry of a determination after administrative review or fair hearing of withdrawn.
Thus, if you were told that you have been listed on the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment and if you made a Request for a hearing and that Request was closed out or terminated (you never got your hearing) between 2003 and 2007 you are a Sub Class B Member.
To be clear, the allegations against you may have occurred before 2003, but your request for a hearing was closed out after 2003.
2. WHAT IS THE CLASS B SETTLEMENT ABOUT?
In early 2000 there were substantial backlogs in scheduling hearings that had been requested. Thousands of people were awaiting hearings that they had requested years earlier. During our investigation we discovered that at sometime between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007 approximately 20,000 of these Requests for Hearings were closed out, without a hearing ever being held by the SCR. (See link to Third Amended Complaint). We have now reached a settlement on behalf of those whose claims were wrongfully terminated.
Under the terms of the settlement (CLICK HERE to Class B Settlement), if you requested a hearing and your hearing was terminated as “waived” or ‘withdrawn” between 2003 and 2007, you may request to have your hearing request reopened. There were about 20,000 requests for hearings that were closed out in this way during the five-year period. Each one of these 25,000 people will receive a notice letter (the “Notice Letter”) of their right to request that their hearing be reopened. If a class member returns the Notice Letter responding that they want to have their hearing reopened, the circumstances of the closing of their original request will be reviewed. If the Register does not have records that show, by a written decision from an Administrative Law Judge, that the person did not show up for a scheduled hearing (waived) or that the person requested to stop the hearing (withdrawn), a new hearing will be scheduled.
3. WHAT BENEFITS DO YOU RECEIVE AS A SUB CLASS B MEMBER?
A. What are the Rights you will Receive?
If you are a Class Member and you want your hearing request re-opened, you must return the Notice Letter within ninety days after you receive it. SCR will then review their records to see if you are entitled to the hearing.
Because of the number of people who are affected, beginning August 2010 SCR will mail the Notice Letters over a fifteen-month period. Some people will get the Notice Letter sooner than others. After 15 months all Sub Class B Members will have received the Notice of their rights to ask that their hearing be reopened. If you have not received a Notice Letter you may CLICK HERE (download letter and return to us. Be sure you include your name, address and I.D. number.)
B. If you never withdrew your request but the request was withdrawn by the employer or Agency to which you applied for a job or a license you have a right to a hearing.
Some Requests were closed out not by you but by the SCR when the employer or agency told the Register that they were not longer interested in you as an applicant. The employer’s lack of interest was understandable as the clearance inquiry had been made years earlier (at the time you applied for the job or license) and the employer was unable to keep the job position open as the hearing was not scheduled until years later. ONLY YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO WAIVE OR WITHDRAW YOUR RIGHTS.
Under the settlement if your review or hearing was closed out because an employer or agency said they were no longer interested in you as an applicant, you will get a new hearing.
The New York State Office of Child and family Services has also agreed that in the future a request for a hearing will never again be terminated just because the employer or licensing agency is no longer considering you for employment or licensing.
4. STATUS OF CLASS B
To date over 10,000 Notice Letters have been sent. Eight hundred people have requested to have their hearings re-opened. So far the State has agreed to re-open more than 400 hearings.
5. HOW IS CLASS COUNSEL MONITORING THE STATE’S COMPLIANCE WITH THE SETTLEMENT?
A. Class counsel will make sure the Notice Letters to the class members are sent.
B. Class counsel will randomly review records to make sure that a decision by SCR not to grant a new hearing is supported by documents in the file.
C. Class counsel will make sure that those who are entitled to a hearing will have a hearing.
D. The Court will continue to have jurisdiction to insure that the New York State Office of Children and Family Services is complying with the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
E. The oversight by Class Counsel will be for up to three years after the settlement is approved by the Judge. If the New York State Office of Children and Family Services can show that it has substantially complied with the Settlement Agreement, then the oversight may end after two years.
6. ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS
If you change your address or telephone number during the next 24 months you must notify the Class Counsel of your new address or telephone number as soon as possible.
7. ARE YOU ENTITLED TO RECEIVE MONETARY COMPENSATION
A class member is not entitled to any monetary award under either Class A or Sub Class B. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin has ruled that the State of New York is immune under the 11th Amendment of the United States Constitution for a damage award. Judge Scheindlin also decided that the State of New York’s employees named as defendants are also not liable for money damages under the legal principle of “qualified immunity.” (See 7/3/2007 Decision link). Class A or Sub Class B Members are not entitled to any money from the State defendants.
8. WHO ARE THE SUB CLASS B REPRESENTATIVES
AND WHO IS THE CLASS COUNSEL
A. Who are the Class Representatives?
The plaintiffs Barbara Finch, Carol Jordan and Barbara Ortiz will be acting as the class representatives.
B. Who are the Attorneys Representing the Class?
The attorney designated as counsel for the Class is:
Thomas Hoffman, Esq. of Law Offices of Thomas Hoffman, P.C.
250 West 57 Street, Suite 1020, New York, NY 10107
Tel. No. 212 974 1170
9. WHO IS PAYING THE ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND
LITIGATION EXPENSES OF CLASS COUNSEL
You will not pay any of the attorneys’ fees and expenses of the attorneys Representing the class. Class counsel will request that the State pay the costs and legal fees. (If you hire your own attorney to represent you concerning this settlement. However, you will need to pay those fees and expenses.)
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