When it comes to restaurant grades, not all A’s are created equal.
Dozens of eateries had all of their health inspection violations tossed because of botched paperwork, automatically giving them an A and saving them thousands in fines, according to an amNewYork analysis of health tribunal hearings between July 2010, when the letter grading system began, and September 2011.
Kevin O’Donoghue, a partner at restaurant law firm Helbraun and Levey, said 90% of the cases he’d seen dismissed were due to an inspector error, like writing the restaurant’s name or address incorrectly.
“The judges will often just say, ‘There’s too much here and I can’t be sure this is the right,’“ said O’Donoghue, who has fought more than 100 inspections and has had a few totally dismissed. “A full dismissal is mostly going to come on the basis of there not being sufficient evidence to sustain the charges.”
Because it takes inspectors months to check all of Gotham’s eateries, more than a third of the restaurants that had their violations dismissed haven’t been re-inspected, leaving them with an A in their windows.