Thursday, July 15, 2010
An administrative determination will be sustained by the court unless it is shown to be arbitrary or capricious and without a rational basis
Pereira v Nassau County Civ. Serv. Commn., 2010 NY Slip Op 51209(U), Decided on June 14, 2010, Supreme Court, Nassau County, Judge Thomas Feinman, [Not selected for publications in the Official Reports]
The Nassau County Civil Service Commission disqualified Victor Pereira for appointment as a Police Officer after he had passed the written test for the position. Claiming that the Commission’s decision “was made in violation of lawful procedure, was arbitrary and capricious, as abuse of discretion, and effected by law, and not supported by substantial evidence, Pereira as the court to vacated the Commission’s action.
The basis for the Commission’s action was that Pereira failed to meet the physical agility examination for the position.
Pereira was in an age group of applicants that were required to complete 35 sit-ups in one minute in order to avoid disqualification and move on to the final test, a1.5 mile run.
However, Pereira examiner determined that he only completed 28 sit-ups in the necessary and correct form, and therefore, he was disqualified from further evaluation for the appointment as a police officer. Pereira, on the other hand that he had completed 44 sit-ups and that the monitor failed to give him the appropriate credit for his performance.
Judge Feinman said that the Commission’s determination is subject to review under the "arbitrary and capricious" standard of CPLR §7803(3). In applying this standard, said Judge Feinman, an administrative determination will not be disturbed unless the record shows that the agency’s action was "arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational or indicative of bad faith."
"Arbitrary action is without sound basis in reason and is generally taken without regard to the facts" and the court’s inquiry is limited strictly to a determination of whether a rational basis exists for the agency’s actions.
After considering the evidence presented by the Commission concerning the administration and rating of Pereira’s sit-ups during the physical agility test, the court ruled that the Commission’s determination was neither arbitrary nor capricious and had a rational basis for its determination and dismissed Pereira’s petition.
The decision is posted on the Internet at: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_51209.htm