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Friday, July 21, 2017

Judicial review of a determination arrived at following a quasi-judicial hearing is typically limited to determining if the decision is supported by substantial evidence


Judicial review of a determination arrived at following a quasi-judicial hearing is typically limited to determining if the decision is supported by substantial evidence
2017 NY Slip Op 05608, Appellate Division, Second Department

In this decision the Appellate Division sets out the basic rules followed by the courts when reviewing an administrative determination arrived at following a quasi-judicial hearing by an appointing authority or its designee. In this instance the appointing authority adopted the report and recommendation of a hearing officer, made after a hearing pursuant to Civil Service Law §75 finding the charged party [Petitioner] guilty of certain disciplinary charges, and terminated the Petitioner's employment.

Confirming the appointing authority's determination is confirmed, the Appellate Division explained:

1. The standard of review of an administrative determination made after a quasi-judicial hearing required by law is limited to considering whether the determination was based on substantial evidence.

2. It is the function of the administrative agency, not the reviewing court, to weigh the evidence, assess the credibility of witnesses, and determine which testimony to accept and which to reject.

3. Where evidence is conflicting and room for choice exists, a reviewing court may not weigh the evidence or reject the choice made by the administrative agency.

Here, said the court, substantial evidence supported the appointing authority's determination that Petitioner was guilty of committing certain acts of misconduct or insubordination.

As to the penalty imposed, dismissal from the position, the Appellate Division, citing Kreisler v New York City Tr. Auth., 2 NY3d 775, concluded that "the penalty of termination of [Petitioner's] employment was not so disproportionate to the offenses as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - The text of this publication focuses on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. Now available in two formats - as a large, paperback print edition, and as an e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/7401.html
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