Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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At issue was whether consent is required from would-be affected counties before the Missouri Public Service Commission can issue a line certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) pursuant to the statute governing line CCNs, Mo. Rev. Stat. 393.170.1. Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC filed an application for a line CCN with the Commission seeking the Commission’s approval of Grain Belt’s proposed construction of an interstate electrical transmission line and associated facilities. The Commission denied the application for a line CCN, concluding that it was bound by In re Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois (ATXI), 523 S.W.3d 21 (Mo. App. 2017), which purported to require prior consent from each county affected by the proposed construction. The Supreme Court reversed the Commission’s order, holding (1) the Commission’s reliance on ATXI was error because section 393.170.1 does not require prior consent from affected counties; and (2) to the extent that ATXI suggests consent from every would-be affected county is required before the Commission can grant a line CCN, it should not be followed. View "Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC v. Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Missouri Public Service Commission determining that the term “methodology” as used in Rule 20.093(1)(F) means not only the formula used to compute a sum (i.e., the variables to be used) but also the values of those variables. Staff of the Commission filed a complaint alleging that Union Electric Co. (Ameren) violated a rule of the Commission when it failed to use certain 2014 data to calculate Ameren’s net shared benefits under an energy-efficiency plan approved by the Commission in 2012. The Commission granted Staff’s motion for summary determination. Ameren appealed. The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Commission, holding because the Commission’s erroneous determination of the meaning of term “methodology” played a central role in its decision, the matter must be remanded to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Missouri Public Service Commission v. Union Electric Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Respondents in this declaratory and injunctive relief action challenging a series of regulatory amendments proposed by the Missouri Conservation Commission that banned the importation of cervids in an attempt to eradicate chronic wasting disease. Appellants sued Respondents to prevent the amended regulations from going into effect. The circuit court declared the challenged regulations invalid and enjoined the Commission from enforcing them. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Commission has authority under Mo. Const. art. IV, 40(a) to regulate Respondents’ captive cervids as “wildlife” and “game”; (2) Respondents’ captive cervids are subject to regulation by the Commission under article IV, section 40(a) because they are “resources of the state”; and (3) and circuit court erred in concluding that the regulations were invalid and could not be enforced because they impermissibly infringed on Respondents’ right to farm under Mo. Const. art. I, 35. View "Hill v. Missouri Department of Conservation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment granting summary judgment in favor of the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and dismissing Appellant’s first amended petition for review under Mo. Rev. Stat. 536 on the grounds that Appellant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Appellant’s employment with the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control was terminated following a disciplinary action. Appellant filed a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission. The Commission dismissed the complaint, finding that Appellant was not a merit employee entitled to a hearing before the Commission and that the Division had internal appeal procedures for its employees. Thereafter, Appellant filed an amended petition for review. The circuit court dismissed the petition with prejudice because Appellant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly dismissed Appellant’s action because it lacked authority to review the Division’s administrative decision as a “contested case” pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 536.100, as alleged in the first amended petition. View "Nowden v. Division of Alcohol & Tobacco Control, Missouri Department of Public Safety" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment granting summary judgment in favor of the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and dismissing Appellant’s first amended petition for review under Mo. Rev. Stat. 536 on the grounds that Appellant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Appellant’s employment with the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control was terminated following a disciplinary action. Appellant filed a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission. The Commission dismissed the complaint, finding that Appellant was not a merit employee entitled to a hearing before the Commission and that the Division had internal appeal procedures for its employees. Thereafter, Appellant filed an amended petition for review. The circuit court dismissed the petition with prejudice because Appellant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly dismissed Appellant’s action because it lacked authority to review the Division’s administrative decision as a “contested case” pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 536.100, as alleged in the first amended petition. View "Nowden v. Division of Alcohol & Tobacco Control, Missouri Department of Public Safety" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court quashing its preliminary writ in mandamus and denying Bryan Robison’s request for a permanent writ against the director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration (Department), holding that Robison failed to demonstrate he was entitled to mandamus relief. One month before Robison’s license as a general bail bond agent was set to expire, he applied to renew his license with the director of the Department. As a result of Robison’s outstanding forfeitures and judgments, the director denied Robison’s application for renewal. Rather than exercising his right to file a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission, Robison filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, alleging that the director denied his renewal application without proper notice and an opportunity to be heard. The circuit court quashed its preliminary writ and denied Robison’s request for a permanent writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion because the director properly exercised her discretion by refusing the renewal request pursuant to her statutory authority and this Court’s rules. View "State ex rel. Robison v. Lindley-Myers" on Justia 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