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Administrative Hearing Commission

Richard Maseles, Esquire 

Private Investigator Board lacked grounds to deny license to applicant who published private driver license information about others-regulation requiring private investigators to obey all criminal laws was invalid, because it lacked a statutory basis. Gurley v. Board of Private Investigator Examiners, No. 10-0588 PI (Mo. AHC, December 14, 2010), Chapel, C.
Gurley obtained personal information from Missouri driver license records about people with whom he had had online disputes, and published the information on his blog. The Board denied Gurley's application for a private investigator's license because of his alleged violation of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 2721 et seq., and Gurley appealed the decision. The Commission decided that the Board lacked cause to deny Gurley a license. While 20 CSR 2234-7.010(2)(E)1 requires private investigators to obey all criminal laws, the regulation itself was  invalid, as it was promulgated without statutory authority. While Section 324.1128.1 would have given grounds for refusal of Gurley's license had it been in effect at the time of Gurley's actions, it was not in effect at that time.  


Monthly payment fees, filing charges, and policy reinstatement fees are premiums under Section 148.370 and subject to premium tax; insurer not entitled to deduction of accounting fees paid pursuant to the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration's request for access to insurer's records, because they were not paid under any law of this state. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. v. Director of Revenue, No. 09-1317 RG (Mo. AHC December 23, 2010), Winn, C.
(a) Shelter charged fees to policyholders who paid premiums monthly instead of in a lump sum, filing charges to long-haul vehicle operators, and policy reinstatement fees to policyholders whose policies lapsed. It paid premium tax under Section 148.370 on those amounts, then applied for a refund. The Director denied the refund request, and Shelter appealed. The Commission denied the refund request as well. The payments in question were premiums under Missouri law because they were consideration paid to Shelter for the contract of insurance.
(b) Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) scheduled a regular examination of Shelter's records. Shelter's accounting firm provided access to Shelter's records, which billed Shelter for fees incurred. Shelter sought to deduct those fees from its taxes, but the deduction was disallowed, and a refund claim for the amount of the fees was denied by the Director. The Commission denied the refund request as well. While examination fees paid under any law of this state could be deducted from tax, the fees in question were not paid under any such law. The only deductible fees were for those incurred under Sections 374.202 through 374.207, when accountants are engaged by DIFP to examine an insurer's records. (See also summary under Taxation, infra).

The Missouri Bar Courts Bulletin, 11-Jan