This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
REM Greatland, Inc. (Park Heights),
Minnesota Department of Human Services,
Filed February 25, 2003
Department of Human Services
Mary K. Martin, Law Offices of Mary K. Martin, 2411 Francis Street, South St. Paul, MN 55075 (for relator)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Cynthia B. Jahnke, Assistant Attorney General, 900 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2127 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.
Relator REM Greatland, Inc. (REM) brought this certiorari appeal challenging the conditional status placed by respondent Minnesota Department of Human Services (the commissioner) on REM’s license to provide residential-based services to the developmentally disabled. The commissioner imposed the conditional license status on REM because of alleged violations of the terms of an earlier variance, which was granted to permit REM to continue to employ a disqualified individual.
In this appeal, REM seeks to overturn the conditional license sanction, arguing that the commissioner improperly used the individual’s juvenile records to disqualify him and that the commissioner did not have substantial evidence for imposing the conditional license status. Because REM lacks standing to assert rights properly belonging to the disqualified individual and because there is substantial evidence to support the commissioner’s decision, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Any person aggrieved by an agency decision in a contested case may seek judicial review of the decision. Minn. Stat. § 14.63 (2000). Not every person who disagrees with a decision is aggrieved. In order to have standing to petition for review,
a person must assert more than dissatisfaction with an agency’s interpretation of statutes: the person must articulate with a degree of clarity some legally cognizable interest of his which has sustained injury in fact by the agency action – i.e., that he has in fact sustained injury to some interest which differs from injury to the interests of other citizens generally.
In re Complaint Against Sandy Pappas Senate Comm., 488 N.W.2d 795, 797 (Minn. 1992) (citations omitted).
REM argues that it has standing because the conditional license status imposed on it was based on the improper use of juvenile records. The commissioner’s use of the juvenile records, improper or not, aggrieves only the disqualified individual who sustained injury by the violation of his privacy. Juvenile records are private to protect the juvenile and to further the state’s rehabilitative goals and purposes with respect to juvenile offenders; juvenile criminal records are accessible only to the individual, except in narrowly defined circumstances. See Minn. Stat. § 299C.095, subd. 1 (2000); Minn. Stat. § 13.02, subd. 12 (2000) (private data is not public and is accessible to the individual subject of the data). Thus, the loss of this privacy is an injury only to that individual.
The cognizable interest here is the disqualified individual’s loss of a privacy right. REM may well feel it improper that the commissioner obtained this information, but its dissatisfaction with the provenance of the information does not give it standing to assert the individual’s privacy right.
2. Substantial Evidence
REM argues that the commissioner’s decision is not supported by substantial evidence. An agency’s quasi-judicial decision can be overturned if not based on substantial evidence. Carter v. Olmsted County Hous. & Redev. Auth., 574 N.W.2d 725, 729 (Minn. App. 1998). Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence, some evidence, or any evidence.” Id. at 730 (quotation omitted).
This court must determine whether the agency has explained how it arrived at its conclusion and whether the conclusion is reasonable, based on the record. Minn. Power & Light Co. v. Minn. Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 342 N.W.2d 324, 330 (Minn. 1983). Substantial deference is given to agency factfinding. Info Tel Communications, LLC v. Minn. Pub. Utils. Comm’n., 592 N.W.2d 880, 884 (Minn. App. 1999), review denied (Minn. July 28, 1999). If there is a reasonable basis for an agency’s decisionmaking, this court will affirm, “even though it may have reached a different conclusion had it been the factfinder.” Cable Communications Bd. v. Nor-West Cable Communications P’ship., 356 N.W.2d 658, 669 (Minn. 1984) (citations omitted).
The issue before the commissioner here was whether REM violated the terms of the variance that permitted it to employ a disqualified individual for direct contact services so long as the disqualified individual remained within sight or hearing of another staff person while performing direct contact services. In concluding that the disqualified individual was not always within sight or hearing of another staff person, the commissioner relied on the following evidence: (1) two employees of REM stated that the individual provided services in the men’s wing of the facility while the only other staff person was in the women’s wing; (2) an inspector for the Department of Health submitted a letter stating the individual was not always within sight or hearing of another during a department inspection; (3) work records showed that the individual had worked on 46 occasions with only one other staff person on the schedule; and (4) the floor plan of the facility showed that the two wings were about 80 feet apart and were physically separated by common areas.
Although REM submitted affidavits from two employees stating that it was possible to hear someone in one wing of the facility conversing in a conversational tone from the other wing of the facility, the commissioner was permitted to make credibility determinations and to determine what weight to give that testimony. See Quinn Distrib. Co. v. Quast Transfer, Inc., 288 Minn. 442, 448, 181 N.W.2d 696, 700 (1970).
Given the evidence submitted and the inferences the commissioner could draw from it, substantial evidence supports the conclusion that REM violated the terms of its variance by allowing the disqualified individual to perform direct contact services while not within sight or hearing of another staff person. The commissioner’s decision is therefore affirmed.