may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Michael Wiggin and Roger Neubauer,
d/b/a Move Right Movers,
6219 38th Avenue North, Crystal, Minnesota 55422,
for Household Good Mover Permit Authority.
File No. HHG 187329/A96-243
Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, Kathy Meade Hebert, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondent Commissioner of Department of Transportation)
Andrew R. Clark, Kalina, Wills, Gisvold & Clark, P.L.L.P., 941 Hillwind Road Northeast, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55432 (for respondent Berger Transfer & Storage)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.
Relators challenge the commissioner's denial of their petition for a household goods mover permit. We affirm.
Berger Transfer & Storage, Inc. took exception to the ALJ's recommendation. The matter was considered by the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, who denied Wiggin and Neubauer's permit request. This appeal followed.
(a) In violation of constitutional provisions; or
(b) In excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the agency; or
(c) Made upon unlawful procedure; or
(d) Affected by other error of law; or
(e) Unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted; or
(f) Arbitrary or capricious.
Minn. Stat. § 14.69 (1996). On appeal, an agency's decision is presumed correct. City of Moorhead v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm'n, 343 N.W.2d 843, 846 (Minn. 1984). Courts should defer to an agency's expertise and its "special knowledge in the field of [its] technical training, education, and experience." Reserve Mining Co. v. Herbst, 256 N.W.2d 808, 824 (Minn. 1977).
Wiggin and Neubauer argue that the commissioner did not give adequate support for its decision and therefore the decision was arbitrary or capricious. An agency decision is arbitrary or capricious if it is a product of the agency's will and not the agency's judgment. Petition of Minnesota Power for Auth. to Change Its Schedule of Rates for Retail Elec. Serv., 545 N.W.2d 49, 51 (Minn. App. 1996).
Household goods mover permits are controlled by Minn. Stat. § 221.121, subd. 6a (1996). The statute requires that: (1) the petitioner is fit and able to conduct the proposed operations; (2) the petitioner's vehicles meet the safety standards established by the department, (3) the area to be served has a need for household goods movers; and (4) that existing household goods mover permit holders have failed to demonstrate that they can meet the needs of the area. Minn. Stat. § 221.121, subd. 1(b) (1996). Petitioners have the burden of proving the first three conditions; if they meet their burden, the burden shifts to the protesting parties to prove that the fourth condition does not exist. Appeal of Signal Delivery Serv., Inc., 288 N.W.2d 707, 712 (Minn. 1980).
After the initial hearing, the ALJ found: "Petitioners have demonstrated that they are fit and able to conduct the proposed operation." "Fit and able" is defined by Minnesota administrative agency rules as
financially able to conduct the proposed business; that the applicant's equipment is adequate and properly maintained; that the applicant is competent, qualified, and has the experience necessary to conduct proposed business; that the applicant is mentally and physically able to comply with rules and statutes of the commission.
Minn. R. 7800.0100, subpt. 4 (1995). The commissioner determined, in reviewing the ALJ's decision, that the ALJ did not address Wiggin and Neubauer's financial ability to conduct their moving business. The commissioner estimated that the start-up expenses for the business would be $4,150 and monthly operating expenses would be about $2,725. There was not adequate documentation by Wiggin and Neubauer to support their assertion that they would be able to meet these expenses. Because we agree with the commissioner that Wiggin and Neubauer failed to establish that they are financially able, the denial of their permit application was not arbitrary or capricious. In light of our conclusion, we do not address other issues raised by Wiggin and Neubauer.