Restaurant Law Blog

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Health Department Violations “Nearly Impossible” to Overturn: True or False?

The New York Post recently reported that Health Department violations issued against restaurants were upheld 97% of the time in administrative hearings. While this statistic is certainly outrageous, it may not come as a surprise to anyone in the restaurant industry. One likely explanation for this has to do with the Department of Health’s “settlement offers” which allow restaurant owners to accept a lower fine rather than attempt to fight the violations. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has already implemented changes that will lower fines for restaurant owners, and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has expressed the need for change in the existing inspection system. Hopefully, a true overhaul is underway.

In the meantime, what should you do if your restaurant receives a violation from the Department of Health? Should you just concede and pay the fines after learning about this dismal statistic? The answer is: it depends. With the current system in place, it sometimes makes sense to pay when it is a non-letter grade inspection. However, when the violations affect your letter grade, much more is at stake; if you have a credible argument, an appearance at the hearing by you or an attorney may be worth it. Each Department of Health inspection report is different, and each restaurant owner has different things to consider.

If you have had a recent visit from the Department of Health and want us to review your inspection report, contact DiPasquale Law Group for a free consultation. Our attorneys can explain your options and allow you to choose what is best for you and your restaurant.

SOURCE:  http://nypost.com/2013/12/16/nearly-impossible-to-get-a-sanitary-restaurant-violation-overturned/


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