Administrative Law

Editor:
Daniel R.E. Jordan, Esquire

Separately state findings of fact. Edmonds Dental Company vs. Keener, III; Division of Employment Security, No. 75545 (Mo. App. W.D., May 21, 2013), Howard, J.

Administrative Procedure Act requires tribunal’s decision to state findings of fact separately from conclusions of law. Findings of fact are adequate if they support the conclusions of law, which means findings show which evidence the tribunal believed and which it did not.

Held: Reversed.
Agency’s failure to make findings on element of claim or defense requires remand for that finding so that the reviewing court can determine whether agency findings support agency conclusions.


Time limit is mandatory for agency. Frye vs. Levy, Director, State of Missouri, Division of Social Services, Children’s Division, No. 32307 (Mo. App. S.D., May 9, 2013), Lynch, P.J.

Statute requires child protection agency to give notice of its determination within 90 days. Statute provides no consequence for failing to meet the deadline, but other statutes in same chapter provide extensions of time for other actions, and statutes’ subject matter is child protection. “The statutory language simply cannot be read to allow the [agency] to place investigations on the back-burner and to revisit those investigations at its convenience.” Circuit court reversed agency decision.

Held: Affirmed.
Agency failure to meet time limit deprived agency of authority to act further.


Agency may issue conditional decision. Saxony Lutheran High School, Inc., v. Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Land Reclamation Commission, No. 99038 (Mo. App. E.D., May 14, 2013), Gaertner, Jr., C.J.

During hearing on application for surface mining permit, statutory amendment became effective, changing standards for issuance of permit. Applicant amended application accordingly, which reduced acreage of subject use. Agency granted application conditioned on compliance with new standard. Circuit court reversed agency.

Held: Reversed.
That decision is within agency’s authority under general language authorizing a decision on application. The amendment “did not undermine the public process, it fulfilled it.” As to reduction in proposed usage, Appellant shows no prejudice in lack of notice to public about that change, and did not show that the change would create standing in more persons.


Allegations of irregularity discussed. Madden v. Poplar Bluff R-1 School District, No. 32019 (Mo. App. S.D., May 16, 2013), Bates, J.

Statutes provide that circuit court may review procedural irregularities not shown in record but circuit court did not abuse its discretion in turning away such challenge offered without evidentiary basis.

“There is a presumption that public officials have rightfully and lawfully discharged their official duties until the contrary appears.” Record reflects absence of some agency members but not others, so others are presumed not absent.

Held:
Affirmed.“There is a presumption that public officials have rightfully and lawfully discharged their official duties until the contrary appears.” Record reflects absence of some agency members, but not others, so others are presumed not absent.