Administrative Procedure Act - Standard of Review

Alabama State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Parks, et al., [Ms. 2180227, May 17, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2019). The court (Thompson, P.J.; Moore, Donaldson, Edwards, and Hanson, JJ., concur) reverses a judgment of the Montgomery Circuit Court reducing the punishment imposed by the Alabama Board of Pharmacy for violations of the Alabama Pharmacy Act.

The Board suspended Parks’s pharmacist’s license for five years and imposed an administrative fine against her of $27,000 in addition to aggregate fines of $47,000 imposed against various pharmacies operated by Parks. Ms. *7-8. While affirming the Board’s decision and factual findings and conclusions of law regarding Parks’s violations of the Alabama Pharmacy Act, the circuit court concluded that the sanctions imposed by the Board were “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable and are due to be modified.” Ms. *8. The circuit court reduced the suspension of Parks’s license to three months and reduced the fines to a total of $3,000. Ms. *8-9.

Applying the deferential standard of review of decisions of administrative agencies under the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act, the court held that “we cannot say that the Board acted in an unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious manner in imposing [the] sanctions.” Ms. *14. The standard of review under the APA expressly provides that a reviewing “court shall not substitute judgment for that of the agency ....” Ms. *10.

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