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Mosher v. Maine State Harness Racing Commission

Superior Court of Maine, Kenebec

June 17, 2015

MARC G. MOSHER, Petitioner
v.
MAINE STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION, [1] Respondent

DECISION AND ORDER

Robert E. Mullen, Justice

This matter was brought before the undersigned for oral argument with respect to Petitioner's Complaint for Review of Final Agency Action pursuant to Rule 80C, MR.Civ.P. (hereinafter, "80C Appeal"). After listening to the arguments of counsel and reviewing the Administrative Record (hereinafter "Record") as well as reviewing Title 8 M.R.S. § 283, the legislative history for Section 283, and relevant case law, the Court enters the following Decision and Order for the reasons stated below:

I. Background:

1. On or about April 14, 2014 the Petitioner applied to the Respondent for a license as a driver/trainer. (Record at 83).

1. On July 7, 2014 Respondent denied Petitioner's application for a license as a Driver/Trainer for harness racing in the State of Maine. (Record at 85).

3. The Respondent denied Petitioner's application pursuant to 8 M.R.S. § 283 which states in part that the Respondent shall refuse to license any person who has been refused a license until notification from the jurisdiction that refused to license the person that the person is again eligible for licensing in that jurisdiction.[2]

4. Petitioner had appealed the New York Commission's decision, but the appeal was never heard; instead, due to the delay in hearing the appeal and what the New York Commission described as a "lengthy passage of time since you last applied to participate in New York racing" the Commission decided to rescind its license denial and dismiss the Petitioner's appeal on March 25, 2014. (Record at 94).

5. Petitioner appealed Respondent's denial of his application on July 18, 2014. (Record at 89). The Respondent denied the appeal after hearing, finding that despite the New York Commission's decision to rescind Petitioner's license denial in the State of New York Petitioner had nevertheless failed to introduce sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he was again eligible for licensing in the State of New York subsequent to New York's decision on December 16, 2011 to refuse to license Petitioner. (Record at 3, 70). The Respondent reasoned that 8 M.R.S. § 283 did not "require that a license refusal in another jurisdiction be current but instead created a historical status that needs to be subsequently over come... (O)nce refused a license an applicant must affirmatively show that they are or were subsequently eligible to be licensed by the entity that refused to license them..." (Record at 3).

6. Thereafter Petitioner filed this pending appeal.

II. Issue:

Did the Respondent correctly interpret the provisions of 8 M.R.S. § 283 when it refused to license the Petitioner based upon a prior refusal to license Petitioner in another jurisdiction, even though that refusal was subsequently "rescinded", when there was no evidence offered that the Petitioner was again eligible for licensing in that jurisdiction?

III. Standard of Review:

7. Judicial review of agency decision-making is to be deferential and limited. Friends of Lincoln Lakes v. Bd. of Environmental Protection, 2010 ME 18. The Court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the agency simply because the evidence presented at hearing could give rise to more than one result. Dodd v. Secretary of State, 526 A.2d 583 (Me. 1987).

8. A successful appellant must show not only that there was competent evidence in the record to support appellant's position but also that there was no competent evidence in the record to support an agency's findings. Green v. Commissioner of the Dept. of Mental Health, ...


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