Monday, July 07, 2014

Essential considerations in a court’s review of an administrative decision after an administrative hearing required by law


Essential considerations in a court’s review of an administrative decision after an administrative hearing required by law
Willis v New York State Liq. Auth., 2014 NY Slip Op 04776, Appellate Division, Second Department

In this CPLR Article 78 action challenging a determination of the New York State Liquor Authority adopting the recommendation of an administrative law judge the Appellate Division succinctly sets out the essential elements in a court’s review of a challenge to the determination as follows:

1. "Judicial review of an administrative determination made after a hearing required by law, and at which evidence was taken, is limited to whether that determination is supported by substantial evidence;

2. “Substantial evidence is "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact;

3. Substantial evidence is "[m]ore than seeming or imaginary, it is less than a preponderance of the evidence, overwhelming evidence or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt;

4. "The standard demands only that a given inference is reasonable and plausible, not necessarily the most probable;

5. “The strict rules of evidence do not apply to administrative proceedings and hearsay evidence is admissible; and.

6. “Hearsay evidence may constitute substantial evidence if sufficiently relevant and probative and may, under appropriate circumstances, form the sole basis for an agency's determination, unless it is seriously controverted.”

In sustaining the challenged determination of the State Liquor Authority, the court explained that the Authority’s determination, sustaining three charges was supported by substantial evidence and that testimony at the hearing, consisting of conclusory denials, did not seriously controvert the Authority's showing of substantial evidence in support of the charges.

As to the penalty imposed by the Authority, the Appellate Division said that it was “not so disproportionate to the offenses as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness,” citing S&S Pub, Inc. v NYS Liquor Authority, 109 AD3d 460, and that “[i]n setting a penalty, consideration of the history and previous record … is appropriate,” citing Untitled LLC v NYS Liq. Auth., 82 AD3d 460 among other decisions.
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The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

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