Traffic Tickets

Matter of Matter of Nestle Waters N. Am., Inc. v City of New York, 2014 NY Slip Op 05609 [1st Dept. 2014]

The Court of Appeals has required strict compliance with the requirements of VTL § 238(2). For example, in Ryder Truck Rental, the Court of Appeals reversed the Appellate Division and reinstated the Supreme Court's decision annulling a PVB Appeals Board decision which upheld notices of violation that failed to include the expiration date for the vehicle's registration, as required by the statute. The Court said: "The provisions explicitly prescribed by the Legislature in the statute are mandatory . . . To hold all these elements directory only would evidently be to eviscerate the legislative enactment" (id. at 669—670).

Further, in Matter of Wheels, the Court of Appeals amplified its decision in Ryder Truck by holding that the five mandatory identification elements, which may not be omitted from a parking summons if it is to avoid dismissal, may also not be misdescribed (80 NY2d 1014). Thus, a misdescription of any of the five mandatory identification elements also constitutes a jurisdictional defect mandating dismissal (id.).

Similarly, this Court is bound by the plain language of VTL 238(2). We must conclude that the New York City Parking Violations Bureau's policy of deeming "IRP" an accurate description of out-of-state "APPORTIONED" license plates for purposes of adjudicating parking violations violates the statute. As indicated, VTL § 238(2) requires that a notice of parking violation shall include the "plate type as shown by the registration plates of said "vehicle" (emphasis added). It is undisputed that each ticket here described the "vehicle type" as "IRP," while the corresponding license plate described the vehicle type as "APPORTIONED." The choice of the words in the statute "as shown" by the vehicle plate is evidence that the legislature intended strict compliance with the statute, and "new language cannot be imported into a statute to give it a meaning not otherwise found therein" (McKinney's Cons Laws of NY, Book 1, Statutes § 94, at 190); see Matter of Raritan Dev. Corp. v Silva, 91 NY2d 98, 104—105 [1997], quoting § 94).

We are cognizant that the terms "IRP" and "APPORTIONED" are used interchangeably by the New York City Parking Violations Bureau as a convenience. For instance, the automatic coding machines issued to New York City parking enforcement personnel contain the short cut key of "IRP," whereas "APP" or "APPORTIONED"' must be keyed in manually. Nevertheless, the statute simply does not allow for such administrative expedience, and neither this Court nor an administrative agency is permitted to effectively amend a statute to permit such shortcut. That is a task for the Legislature, if it sees fit.

In short, the petition should have been granted because the final determination made by respondent to adjudicate petitioners guilty on each of the summonses was contrary to well established law. Dismissal of the traffic summonses was warranted since they failed to comply with the mandatory requirements of VTL § 238(2) (see Matter of Wheels, 80 NY2d 1014; Ryder Truck Rental, 62 NY2d 667).

Accordingly, the judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County (Eileen A. Rakower, J.), entered March 8, 2013, which denied the petition and dismissed the hybrid CPLR article 78 and declaratory judgment proceeding challenging respondents' policy of deeming "IRP" an accurate description of out-of-state "APPORTIONED" license plates and registrations for purposes of adjudicating parking summonses, should be reversed, on the law, without costs, the petition granted, the determination annulled, the violations vacated and dismissed, and it is declared that respondents' policy of deeming "IRP" an accurate description of "Apportioned" license plates issued outside of New York State is violative of § 238 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

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