Thursday, March 26, 2015

The employer may reject the findings and recommendations of a hearing officer if its decision is supported by substantial evidence


The employer may reject the findings and recommendations of a hearing officer if its decision is supported by substantial evidence
2015 NY Slip Op 02474, Appellate Division, Second Department

The Fire District’s Board of Commissioners rejected the recommendation of a hearing officer and denied a firefighter’s application for benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-a(2).

The Appellate Division sustained the Board’s decision, explaining that it was entitled to make a finding contrary to the hearing officer's recommendation as long as substantial evidence supported the determination. The court said that the Board was free to credit the expert of the Fire District over the firefighter's expert so long as testimony of the Fire District's expert was consistent and supported by the medical evidence.

Noting that 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 said that "Substantial evidence means more than a mere scintilla of evidence, and the test of whether substantial evidence exists in a record is one of rationality, taking into account all the evidence on both sides."

Further, said the court, "When there is conflicting evidence or different inferences may be drawn, the duty of weighing the evidence and making the choice rests solely upon the [administrative agency]” and the courts may not weigh the evidence or reject the choice made by the administrative agency where “the evidence is conflicting and room for choice exists."

Finding that the Board's determination was supported by substantial evidence, the Appellate Division confirm the Board’s rejection of the firefighter’s application for GML §207-a(2) benefits.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


Disability Benefits for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and similar statutes providing benefits thereunder. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html


Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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