Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) declining to approve the agreement entered into Employer and Employee that Employer would make a lump sum payment to fully satisfy Employee’s award of permanent total disability benefits. Employee received a work-related injury and filed a workers’ compensation claim against Employer. A final award granted Employee permanent total disability benefits to be paid weekly. The parties later agreed that Employee would make a lump sum benefit to fully satisfy the award. The Commission declined to approve the agreement, concluding that the Commission had no authority to approve the agreement either as a settlement under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.390 or as an application for a “commutation” under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.530. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not have the authority to consider or approve the agreement under section 287.390; and (2) the Commission properly refused to approve a commutation pursuant to the agreement. View "Dickemann v. Costco Wholesale Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed an Administrative Hearing Commission (Commission) decision allowing the director of revenue to redistribute tax revenue owed to the City of Lee’s Summit but erroneously paid to Cass County. Cass County sought a writ prohibiting the director of revenue from withholding the tax revenue and redistributing it to Lee’s Summit, arguing that the director lacked the authority to undertake such an action because this was a refund matter and no application for a refund was filed. The court of appeals ruled that a writ was inappropriate because the County had an adequate remedy by appeal to the Commission. On appeal to commission, the County was denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that this was not a refund matter contemplated by Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.190.2, and accordingly, the County failed to demonstrate that the Commission's decision was not authorized by law. View "Cass County, Missouri, v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s determination that because Robert Casey’s exposure to asbestos occurred while he was employed by Employer, its insurer (Insurer), was liable to Dolores Murphy, Casey’s widow, for benefits under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.200.4. Casey died from mesothelioma caused by repeated exposure to asbestos in the workplace. An administrative law judge (ALJ) found Employer liable and awarded section 287.200.4’s enhanced mesothelioma benefits to Murphy and Casey’s eight children. The Commission largely affirmed, limiting recovery to Murphy and determining Murphy to be the sole proper claimant because the amended claim did not identify Casey’s child as dependents or claimants. The Supreme Court modified the Commission’s decision to include Casey’s children in the final award and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) Insurer was liable for the enhanced mesothelioma benefits; (2) section 287.022 is constitutional as applied; and (3) because section 287.200.4 does not limit recovery to dependent children and because the children were properly listed on the amended claim, they should have been included in the final award. View "Accident Fund Insurance Co. v. Casey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Zoning Adjustment of the City of Kansas City (BZA) to deny the request of the Antioch Community Church (Church) for a nonuse zoning variance for a digital display on a sign it erected in front of the church building. The circuit court concluded that the BZA erred in denying the variance because (1) contrary to the BZA’s determination, the BZA had the authority to grant the variance; and (2) the Church adequately established the existence of “practical difficulties” so the denial of the variance was not supported by competent and substantial evidence. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed the BZA, holding (1) the BZA had authority to grant a variance if the other requirements for a variance were met; but (2) the record supported the BZA’s decision that the Church did not show “practical difficulties” in operating without the variance. View "Antioch Community Church v. Board of Zoning Adjustment of City of Kansas City" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administration Hearing Commission (AHC) affirming the Missouri Ethics Commission’s (MEC) imposition of fees arising from the failure to Robin Wright-Jones and Wright-Jones for Senate (collectively, Appellants) to comply with the rules of Mo. Rev. Stat. chapter 130. The court also affirmed the judgment of the circuit court finding that Mo. Rev. Stat. 105.961.4(6) was not unconstitutional. On appeal, Appellants claimed that the monetary fees assessed by the MEC violated Mo. Const. art. I, section 31. Specifically, Appellants argued that, pursuant to section 105.961.4(6), the MEC may not assess fines for violations of state statutes, regulations, or rules. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was no improper delegation of authority to the MEC; (2) the AHC’s decision was supported by the record; and (3) the assessed fees were not excessive. View "Wright-Jones v. Missouri Ethics Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administration Hearing Commission (AHC) affirming the Missouri Ethics Commission’s (MEC) imposition of fees arising from the failure to Robin Wright-Jones and Wright-Jones for Senate (collectively, Appellants) to comply with the rules of Mo. Rev. Stat. chapter 130. The court also affirmed the judgment of the circuit court finding that Mo. Rev. Stat. 105.961.4(6) was not unconstitutional. On appeal, Appellants claimed that the monetary fees assessed by the MEC violated Mo. Const. art. I, section 31. Specifically, Appellants argued that, pursuant to section 105.961.4(6), the MEC may not assess fines for violations of state statutes, regulations, or rules. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was no improper delegation of authority to the MEC; (2) the AHC’s decision was supported by the record; and (3) the assessed fees were not excessive. View "Wright-Jones v. Missouri Ethics Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission denying workers’ compensation for the death of Patricia White’s husband, Ulysses. Ulysses suffered a fatal cardiovascular event while at work. The Commission concluded that Patricia had not met her burden of establishing that the cardiovascular event was caused by an accident. Patricia appealed, arguing that the Commission erred by applying the wrong burden of proof to her claims under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.120 and 287.020. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Patricia failed to establish that an accident was the prevailing factor in causing Ulysses’s injury, as required by section 287.020.3(4). View "White v. Conagra Packaged Foods, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission awarding Employee workers’ compensation benefits representing fifty percent permanent partial disability of the body as a whole and the right to future medical care for her work-related mental injury. On appeal, Employer argued that the Commission misapplied the law and that the award was not supported by sufficient, competent, and substantial evidence. The Supreme Court remanded the cause, holding that the Commission failed to apply the the applicable and clear statutory standards when reviewing Employee’s claim. View "Mantia v. Missouri Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court judgments denying two employers’ requests for permanent writs of mandamus against the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR). The circuit court rejected Employers’ arguments that the MCHR was required to first determine whether Employers’ employees’ complaints of discrimination were timely filed with the MCHR before the MCHR had authority to issue the employees a right-to-sue letter. The Supreme Court held (1) Mo. Rev. Stat. 213.111.1 requires the MCHR to issue a right-to-sue letter and terminate all proceedings related to a complaint if 180 days have elapsed and the employee has made written request for a right-to-sue letter; and (2) because that is what occurred in both of these cases, the MCHR was required to issue the right-to-sue letters, and the circuit court properly refused to issue writs directing the MCHR to perform an act the MHRA prohibits. View "State ex rel. Tivol Plaza, Inc. v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights" on Justia Law

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The Administrative Hearing Commission erred in finding that the St. Louis Rams did not have to pay sales tax on the entertainment license tax (ELT) they included and collected from ticket purchasers as the amount paid for admission during certain periods from 2007 through 2013. The Commission (1) ordered the director of revenue to issue a refund to the Rams for the ELT included in the period from February 2007 through January 2010; and (2) found the Rams were not liable for sales tax based on the ELT collected and remitted from February 2010 through January 2013. The Supreme Court reversed the Commission’s decision and remanded the cause for further proceedings, holding that the Commission erred in finding the portion of the ticket sales the Rams used to pay the ELT was not subject to sales tax because the ELT was included in the amount ticket purchasers paid for admission via the fixed ticket price charged by the Rams. View "St. Louis Rams LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law