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Smith v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


April 1, 2009

NICYCE A. SMITH, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND AED OCEANVIEW OPERATING, LLC, RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, 171,155.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: March 18, 2009

Before Judges Cuff and Fisher.

Claimant Nicyce A. Smith appeals from a final decision of the Board of Review (Board) affirming denial of unemployment benefits. The Board accepted the determination of the Appeals Tribunal that claimant voluntarily left her employment without good cause attributable to her work and that benefits were barred pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). We affirm.

Claimant was employed by AED Oceanview Operating, LLC (Oceanview) as a multi-purpose worker/housekeeper from January 2007 through November 4, 2007. Oceanview operates a halfway house/boarding house for the homeless and mentally ill in Atlantic City. Claimant completed an addiction counseling specialist certification program. She took the job to obtain practical experience in her field. She left her employment because she was dissatisfied with the tasks assigned to her and the opportunities to obtain the experience she sought.

It is well settled that appellate courts have a limited role in reviewing the decision of administrative agencies. Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997). Appellate courts will not reverse an agency decision unless it is "arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable" or it is "'not supported by substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole.'" Barry v. Arrow Pontiac, Inc., 100 N.J. 57, 71 (1985) (quoting Gloucester County Welfare Bd. v. N.J. Civil Serv. Comm'n, 93 N.J. 384, 391 (1983)). In determining whether an agency decision is supported by substantial credible evidence, the reviewing court is obligated to accord deference to administrative agency factfinding. Doering v. Bd. of Review, 203 N.J. Super. 241, 245 (App. Div. 1985).

An appellate court may not vacate an agency's determination because of doubts as to its wisdom or because the record may support more than one result. See Henry v. Rahway State Prison, 81 N.J. 571, 579-80 (1980). If the court finds sufficient credible, competent evidence in the record to support the agency's conclusions, then the court must uphold the agency's findings. See Clowes v. Terminix Int'l, Inc., 109 N.J. 575, 588-89 (1988); Goodman v. London Metals Exch., Inc., 86 N.J. 19, 29 (1981).

Thus, an administrative agency's decision may be disturbed only where it can be demonstrated that the agency's decision is arbitrary or capricious, unsupported in the record, or in violation of express or implicit legislative policies. See N.J. Guild of Hearing Aid Dispensers v. Long, 75 N.J. 544, 562-63 (1978). In Worthington v. Fauver, 88 N.J. 183, 204 (1982), the Court stated:

Arbitrary and capricious action of administrative bodies means willful and unreasoning action, without consideration and in disregard of circumstances. Where there is room for two opinions, action is [valid] when exercised honestly and upon due consideration, even though it may be believed that an erroneous conclusion has been reached.

[Id. at 204-05.]

The record in this case contains substantial credible evidence supporting the determination of the Board that claimant is properly disqualified from receipt of unemployment compensation benefits from November 4, 2007, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), because she left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work.

Affirmed.

20090401

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