A court's review of an administrative decision made after an adversarial hearing is limited to considering if the decision is supported by substantial evidence
2017 NY Slip Op 04447, Appellate Division, Second Department
The Commissioner of the City of Mount Vernon Police Department, after a disciplinary hearing conducted pursuant to §75 of the Civil Service Law, found the employee [Petitioner] guilty of certain disciplinary charges and imposed the penalty of termination. Petitioner initiated an Article 78 action challenging the Commissioner's determination.
The Appellate Division affirmed the Commissioner's action and dismissed the proceeding "on the merits, with costs."
The court explained that "Judicial review of an administrative determination made after a hearing at which evidence is taken pursuant to direction of law is limited to a consideration of whether that determination was supported by substantial evidence upon the whole record."
Citing Berenhaus v Ward, 70 NY2d 436, the Appellate Division said that in the event there is conflicting evidence in the record or different inferences can be drawn from the evidence in the record, "the duty of weighing the evidence and making the choice rests solely upon the [administrative agency]. The courts may not weigh the evidence or reject the choice made by [such agency] where the evidence is conflicting and room for choice exists."
Here, said the court, "any credibility issues were resolved by the Commissioner and we find no basis upon which to disturb the determination, which was supported by substantial evidence."
Addressing the penalty imposed on the employee by the Commissioner, termination, the Appellate Division applied the so-called "Pell Doctrine," Matter of Pell v Board of Educ. of Union Free School Dist. No. 1 of Towns of Scarsdale & Mamaroneck, Westchester County, 34 NY2d 222, and held that "the penalty of termination of [Petitioner's] employment was not so disproportionate to the offense committed as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:
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