What Is the Definition of Arbitrary and Capricious ?
In order to determine whether an appellant sufficiently alleged facts of "arbitrariness and capriciousness," we first must define what is meant by those terms.
"Decisions contrary to law or unsupported by substantial evidence are not within the exercise of sound administrative discretion, but are arbitrary and illegal acts." Department of Health v. Walker, 238 Md. 512, 523, 209 A.2d 555 (1965).
See also Hackley v. City of Baltimore, 70 Md. App. 111, 116, 519 A.2d 1354 (1987). BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY (6th ed. 1990) defines the term "arbitrary" as including something done "without adequate determining principle," "nonrational," and "willful and unreasoning action, without consideration and regard for facts and circumstances presented"; and the term "arbitrary and capricious" as "willful and unreasonable action without consideration or in disregard of facts or law or without determining principle."
In Hurl, 107 Md. App. at 306 we were addressing whether the Board of Education's actions had been arbitrary and capricious. We stated that "the State Board regulations define decisions of a county board as being 'arbitrary' where 'contrary to sound educational policy' and/or where a 'reasoning mind could not have reasonably reached the conclusion the county board reached.' Id.
In that case, we were unable to find any evidence that the Superintendent acted arbitrarily or capriciously in any way in transferring appellant, a veteran teacher.
We stated, "First, appellant has not shown, nor have we found, anything to indicate that a superintendent is forbidden from making a transfer decision based on his subjective professional judgment.
Second, even if his or her subjective rationale is without merit, that does not mean the decision is arbitrary." Id. at 309. We also stated that appellant "had been given reasons for her transfer. Although the reasons were not to her liking, this does not make the decision itself arbitrary." Id. at 310.