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July 24, 2012

Appointing authority’s decision to terminate an employee found guilty of misconduct may not be set aside if supported by substantial evidence


Appointing authority’s decision to terminate an employee found guilty of misconduct may not be set aside if supported by substantial evidence
Guerrero v Scoppetta, 53 AD3d 615

The New York City Fire Commissioner, adopting the recommendation of a hearing officer, found a New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Technician [EMT] guilty of a number of charges of misconduct and terminating his employment.

The Appellate Division said that the finding that finding that the employee was guilty of the charges was supported by substantial evidence.

Substantial evidence, said the court, is "less than a preponderance of the evidence, overwhelming evidence or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt" and here New York City Fire Department records, the testimony of numerous witnesses and the EMT, and a videotape of the incidents on which the determination was based, provided "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate"

Judicial review of an administrative determination made after a hearing required by law is limited to whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence. The Appellate Division dismissed the EMT’s appeal, holding that as the Commissioner’s determination was supported by substantial evidence, it may not be set aside.

The full text of the decision is posted at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_06375.htm


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