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OCTAVIA HICKS-BRAYE v. MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES

Administrative law — Termination of employment — Substantial evidence

The Maryland Department of Human Resources (“DHR”), appellee, filed a Notice of Termination against Octavia Hicks-Braye, appellant, charging her with several violations of the Code of Maryland Regulations (“COMAR”), and terminating her position as Staff Assistant to the State’s Citizen’s Review Board for Children (“CRBC”). Ms. Hicks-Braye appealed her termination to the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (“DBM”), and DBM forwarded the appeal to the Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”) for a hearing. After an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) at the OAH affirmed Ms. Hicks-Braye’s termination, she petitioned for judicial review in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. The circuit court affirmed the ALJ’s decision.

On appeal, Ms. Hicks-Braye raises several questions for our review, which we have rephrased, as follows:

1. Was there substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s finding that termination of Ms. Hicks-Braye was permissible given her failure to obey a lawful order from her superiors?

2. Did the ALJ permissibly admit and rely on an undated memorandum authored by a witness available for cross-examination?

Read the opinion here: