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Court reviews standard for overturning administrative judge's decision

In Johnson v. State Employees' Retirement Board, the Court of Appeals reiterated that a Circuit Court cannot overturn an administrative agency's decision if the decision is supported by competent evidence, unless the agency decision reflects a material error of law,  is arbitarary and capricious, or a clear abuse of the agency's discretion.  The Court should defer to the agency's administrative expertise in all other cases, even though it would have reached a different result.  In reliance upon this standard, the Court of Appeals held that the trial judge in Ms. Johnson's case had erred in reinstating a retiree's disability benefits after they were denied by the Retirement Board based on its finding that her disability was not permanent.  The trial judge was not accorded the right to reach an independent decision about the permanence of Johnson's disability.

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