Can An Appellate Court Disturb An Agency's Adjudication Based Upon a Capricious Disregard of Evidence ?
In Leon E. Wintermeyer, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Marlowe), 571 Pa. 189, 812 A.2d 478 (2002), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a consideration of the capricious disregard of material, competent evidence is an appropriate component of appellate review in any case in which the question is properly raised before the court.
The court stated, however, that this limited aspect of appellate review merely serves as a check on whether the agency conducted its adjudication within lawful boundaries rather than acting as an intrusion upon the agency's fact finding role and decision-making authority.
The Supreme Court reiterated in Leon E. Wintermyer, Inc. that when substantial evidence exists to support an agency's factual findings, which in turn support the agency's conclusions, it should be a rare instance where an appellate court disturbs the agency's adjudication based upon a capricious disregard of the evidence.
Because this Court has held that the Commission's decision is supported by substantial evidence in the record, no basis exists for holding that it capriciously disregarded competent, or material, and unrefuted evidence.