Appealing an adverse decision of the Board of Appeals requires filing a complaint in Superior Court within thirty (30) days of the decision. After service of the administrative record of the proceedings under appeal, you must file a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and an accompanying Memorandum of Law. All legal pleadings must be filed in accordance with court rules and standing orders.
As the party who is appealing the administrative decision to the Superior Court, you bear the burden of proving that the Board’s decision is legally or factually invalid. In the vast majority of cases, appealing an adverse Board of Appeal decision to Superior Court is a waste of time and money, especially when it comes to the denial of a hardship license.
There are only certain grounds upon which to get a Board of Appeal decision refused and a Superior Court’s review of an agency decision is confined to the administrative record. This means that you cannot introduce any new evidence that was not part of the Board of Appeal hearing. The courts are restricted by law as to their review powers over an action by an administrative agency such as the Massachusetts Board of Appeal of Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds. For example, courts are prohibited from holding a new trial, hearing any additional testimony, taking evidence or making new factual findings different from the Board’s. These are not simply suggestions or expectations: they are the law, which all Superior Court Judges are required to follow. Thus, as you can see, Superior Court appeals are difficult to win.
To get a factual determination overturned, you must prove that the decision was not supported by substantial evidence. It requires that the Board s action lack any rational explanation that reasonable persons might support. This is a very difficult standard to meet. Additionally, for a reviewing court to find that the Board abused its discretion, its decision must be found to have been based on whimsy, caprice, or arbitrary or idiosyncratic. This, too, is a very difficult standard to meet.
Nevertheless, if you believe that you have viable grounds to appeal a decision of the Massachusetts Board of Appeal of Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds, please feel free to contact me for a review of your case. When it comes to errors of law, I have been successful in overturning Board of Appeal decisions in Superior Court and I have assisted other lawyers with their Superior Court appeals.