and its impact on the integrity of the firm, -- matters relevant to a withdrawal under Section 278.1 of the regulations. No other document refers to "disqualification."
During oral argument on plaintiff's application for a stay, I questioned the United States' attorney about this inconsistency. He indicated that the original cite was an error but emphasized to the Court that all other documents correctly refer to the action as a withdrawal of authority. Plaintiff did not indicate that she suffered any prejudice from the distinction.
Accordingly, I find that the government's error in this case was inconsequential. All actions taken would have been the same whether the determination was a disqualification or a withdrawal of authority, and it appears that the plaintiff suffered no adverse consequences as the result of the typographical error.
Thus, while the government made one small error, I find the error to be inconsequential. In all other respects the regulations were followed correctly: plaintiff received notice by certified mail of the withdrawal, the reasons therefore, and instructions on how to appeal the decision. Plaintiff has correctly proceeded to challenge the determination. Thus, I find that the FCS's actions were substantially in conformance with its regulations. See 7 CFR § 278.1(k).
Finally, plaintiff asserts that the sanction is too harsh. As noted above the standard of review for determining whether the sanction is appropriate is whether the FCS's determination was arbitrary and capricious. See De La Nueces v. United States, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3179, 1992 WL 58851 at *2; Ibrahim v. United States, 650 F. Supp. at 165. To be arbitrary or capricious, the agency's action must have been 'unwarranted in law or without justification in fact.' Under this standard, when the agency's action adheres to the guidelines, it may not be overturned as arbitrary or capricious. See De La Nueces, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3179, 1992 WL 58851 at *2; see also Young Jin Choi v. United States, 944 F. Supp. 323 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).
Here, the regulations governing withdrawals of authority (7 CFR § 278.1(k)) are silent as to duration. Unlike disqualifications, which must be for specified time periods, Courts have interpreted withdrawals of authority to be indefinite in duration. See Rorex v. United States, 661 F. Supp. 406 (E.D. Ark. 1987); Bush v. United States, 473 F. Supp. 715, 720 (E.D.Pa. 1979). Because the FCS determination does not specify a period of withdrawal, I interpret the withdrawal to be indefinite and in accordance with the law and regulations. Thus, it is not arbitrary or capricious and must be sustained.
Plaintiff has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she is entitled to relief from the FCS determination. For all the above reasons, the FCS determination is sustained; plaintiff's authority to accept and redeem food stamps is hereby withdrawn. The stay previously entered by this Court is hereby vacated.
Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DAVID G. LARIMER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Dated: Rochester, New York
April 16, 1997.