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How do I File an Article 78 in New York?

Posted by Peter Tilem || 4-May-2015

Clients will contact me and ask me how to file an Article 78. First of all, it’s important to understand what an Article 78 is. An Article 78 is a way that a citizen can ask the court to order the government to do something or to restrain the government from doing that which they’re not permitted to do. Essentially, Article 78 is the codification of what was called the Rite of Prohibition or Rite of Mandamus before there was such a thing as an Article 78.

These types of situations can come up quite often. You have a government agency that won’t do something that you feel they should do. For example, you want a pistol license, and you applied for a pistol license. You’re otherwise qualified for a pistol license, and the agency or the police department won’t issue you a pistol license. The way to seek court review of that decision is by bringing in Article 78.

The same can true of zoning board decisions or other decisions of government body such as The Department of Motor Vehicles or any state or local agency. Article 78 is a fairly complex proceeding. They have to be brought in the supreme court of New York State, and they are against the government body that is generally going to vigorously defend themselves against the Article 78.

There is no easy form to fill out. These are not preform cases, but rather they are litigation that have to be drafted by a lawyer that’s experienced in bringing an Article 78 against the government.