Thursday, March 03, 2016

Determining if an administrative agency's decision is arbitrary and capricious


Determining if an administrative agency's decision is arbitrary and capricious
Muhammad v Zucker, 2016 NY Slip Op 01446, Appellate Division, First Department

Dr. Rafeak Muhammad was disciplined after he was found to have falsified workers' compensation forms and treating workers' compensation patients when it was no longer medically indicated in his private practice.

Dr. Muhammad filed an Article 78 petition in which he sought to modify a consent order that limited his license to practice medicine and annul the determination of the Director of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct [the Director] with respect to certain modifications Dr. Muhammad had requested.

Supreme Court denied Dr. Muhammad's petition and dismissed the proceeding. The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Citing the so-called Pell Doctrine,* the Appellate Division explained that the test used by courts to determine if an administrative agency's decision is arbitrary and capricious is whether the determination "is without sound basis in reason and is generally taken without regard to the facts." The court said that upon its review of the record, the Director’s decision not to join in Dr. Muhammad’s application seeking a modification of the underlying consent order "was rational and based on the facts.”

Dr. Muhammad had asked the Director to consider two proposed modifications of the consent order. The first modification would permit Dr. Muhammad to treat workers' compensation patients in the Jamaica Hospital Ophthalmology Clinic. The second modification Dr. Muhammad sought would permit him to treat workers' compensation patients in his private practice.

The Appellate Division noted that the Director concluded that the circumstances described in Dr. Muhammad’s letters of support from the chief financial officer of the hospital and the head of the ophthalmology department warranted only the adoption of first proposed modification.

The Director’s response to Dr. Muhammad's second modification request -- that he be permitted to treat workers' compensation patients in his private practice -- was a limited second modification order that would entail a more gradual release of the license restriction. 

This, said the court, demonstrated that the facts of this matter were considered and that the Director exercised his discretion in advocating an incremental approach, concluding that that this was not a case that would require the court to "surmise or speculate as to how or why an agency reached a particular conclusion."

* Pell v Bd. of Educ. of Union Free School Dist. No. 1 of Towns of Scarsdale & Mamaroneck, Westchester County, 34 NY2d 222

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances - a 618-page volume focusing on New York State court and administrative decisions addressing an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/7401.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/

Caution:

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.

THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader should seek such advice from a competent professional.

Items published in NYPPL may not be used for commercial purposes without prior written permission to copy and distribute such material. Send your request via e-mail to publications@nycap.rr.com

Copyright© 1987 - 2017 by the Public Employment Law Press.



___________________



N.B. From time to time a political ad or endorsement may appear in the sidebar of this Blog. NYPPL does not have any control over such posting.

_____________________

.