In Ambulatory Surgical Associates, Ltd. v. Nolan, 755 A.2d 799, 806 (R.I. 2000) the Supreme Court clarified its requirement that an agency director give deference to an earlier reviewing individual or entity.
In that case, the Court distinguished between the Department of Health's (DOH) advisory body and the adjudicative process required of the DEM. Id.
The Court held that the DEM's hearing officer, unlike the hospital emergency room approval process at issue in Johnston Ambulatory, "is clearly charged with a quasi-judicial role" because the officer conducts hearings and observes testimony and evidence presented. Id.
If the hearing officer used the information gathered through the hearings, testimony, and evidence presented, then the officer's decision was necessarily based on a credibility determination. See id. at 807.