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If you have been denied the renewal of a driver’s license, insurance adjuster’s license, workers’ compensation representative license, pistol permit, attorney license, medical license or any other type of license issued by a New York agency and you have exhausted all the administrative appeal procedures, you might then consider challenging the denial of your renewal application in the New York State Supreme Court pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. When challenging an agency’s denial of a license renewal application, the Supreme Court’s review is generally restricted to determining whether the agency’s decision not to re-new your particular license was arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion [CPLR 7803(3)].

“The arbitrary or capricious test chiefly relates to whether a particular action should have been taken or is justified and whether the administrative action is without foundation in fact. Arbitrary action is without sound basis in reason and is generally taken without regard to the facts.” Pell v. Board of Education, 34 N.Y.2d 222, 231 (1974). “Under this standard, [the Court’s] inquiry is whether the administrative determination has a rational basis supported by fact.” Brown v. New York State Dep’t of Health, 235 A.D.2d 957, 958 (3rd Dept. 1997).

An “agency has an obligation to insure that the information relied upon is reliable and accurate.” Georgian Motel Corp. v. New York State Liquor Auth., 184 A.D.2d 853 (3rd Dept. 1992). In the Georgian Motel Corp. case, the Court annulled the suspension of a liquor license because it was based upon information contained in an Administrative Law Judge’s report the reliability of which the State Liquor Authority had not confirmed in anyway. The Court noted that “the material relied upon by the ALJ is devoid of information suggesting any indicia of reliability.” Id.

Before an agency can simply decide not to renew one’s license, they have to have some type of reliable evidence. The record must contain facts establishing some indicia of reliability. McIntosh v. Coughlin, 155 A.D.2d 762 (3rd Dept. 1989)(In reversing Department of Corrections determination, the court held that the evidence was so lacking in relevance and probative value that no reasonable mind could have accepted it to support a conclusion or ultimate fact). An administrative decision “will not be set aside by the courts unless it is unsupported by proof sufficient to satisfy a reasonable man, of all the facts necessary to be proved in order to authorize the determination.” Pell v. Board of Education, 34 N.Y.2d 222, 231 (1974).

For more information about Article 78s and challenging administrative decisions in New York, feel free to contact Tilem & Associates toll free at 1-877-377-8666 or visit us on the web at

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