Administrative review of an agency’s decision is conducted pursuant to the Nevada Administrative Procedures Act, codified in NRS Chapter 233B. Chapter 233B also governs judicial review of an administrative law judge’s decision. NRS 233B.135 provides the standard of review:
(a) In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
(b) In excess of the statutory authority of the agency;
(c) Made upon unlawful procedure;
(d) Affected by other error of law;
(e) Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record; or
(f) Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion.NRS 233B.121(8)
provides: “Findings of fact must be based exclusively on substantial evidence.” According to the Torres court, because the Administrative Law Judge’s conclusions of law “will necessarily be closely related to the agency’s view of the facts, [they] are entitled to deference, and will not be disturbed if they are supported by substantial evidence.” State, Dep’t of Motor Vehicles v. Torres, 105 Nev. 558, 560-61, 779 P.2d 959, 960-61 (1989). Substantial evidence has been defined as that which “a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” State, Emp. Security Dep’t v. Hilton Hotels Corp., 102 Nev. 606, 608, 729 P.2d 497, 498 (1986). Additionally, “[s]ubstantial evidence need not be voluminous” and may even be “inferentially shown by [a] lack of [certain] evidence.” Wright v. State. Dep’t of Motor Vehicles, 121 Nev. 122, 110 P.3d 1066, 1068 (2005),
citing, City of Reno v. Estate of Wells, 110 Nev. 1218, 1222, 885 P.2d 545, 548 (1994)(emphasis in original).
In Hilton Hotels, the Nevada Supreme Court further defined the substantial evidence standard:
Substantial evidence was well defined in Robertson Transp. Co. v. P.S.C., 159 N.W. 2d 636, 638
[S]ubstantial evidence [does] not include the idea of this court weighing the evidence to determine if a burden of proof was met or whether a view was supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Such tests are not applicable to administrative hearings. We [equate] substantial evidence with that quantity and quality of evidence which a reasonable man could accept as adequate to support a conclusion . . . . [It] does not permit this Court to pass on credibility or to reverse an administrative decision because it is against the great weight and clear preponderance of the evidence, if there is substantial evidence to sustain it. 102 Nev. at 608 n.1, 729 P.2d at 498 n.1 (emphasis in original).
Thus, regardless of a court’s own assessment of the evidence, a court must affirm the Administrative Law Judge’s decision if it finds that such decision was based upon that quantity and quality of evidence which a reasonable mind could accept as adequate to support the conclusion.
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