Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court
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In this driver's license suspension case, the Supreme Court affirmed the conclusions of the district court and the court of appeals that the implied consent advisory substantially complied with the applicable statute and that any defects in the statute that make the advisory coercive did not prejudice Defendant.Defendant's driver's license was suspended after he refused to submit to a breath test after he was arrested for driving under the influence. On appeal, Defendant argued that evidence of his test refusal should have been suppressed because of an unlawful encounter with law enforcement officers. The court of appeals affirmed without addressing whether the law enforcement encounter was unlawful. The Supreme Court applied the holding of State v. Jarvis, __ P.3d __ (this day decided), and reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) Defendant may argue that his suspension order is invalid and should be set aside under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1020(o)-(q); and (2) the implied consent advisory substantially complied with the applicable statute, and any defects in the statute did not prejudice Defendant. View "Whigham v. Kansas Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals that it lacked jurisdiction to review the failure by the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) to issue a full and complete opinion in an ad valorem tax dispute after the opinion was requested, holding that the court erred when it concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to review the allegation that BOTA illegally failed timely to issue a full and complete opinion.Taxpayers appealed Johnson County's ad valorem tax valuations for the 2016 tax year on seven commercial properties. The BOTA entered a written summary decision ordering lower values for each property. Five weeks later, the County asked BOTA to issue the full and complete opinion. BOTA failed to do so. The County petitioned the court of appeals for judicial review. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded, holding that the court of appeals (1) had jurisdiction over the issue of whether BOTA acted properly in failing timely to issue a full and complete opinion; and (2) correctly dismissed the appeal as it pertained to the County's effort to obtain judicial review of the summary decision. View "In re Equalization Appeals of Target Corp." on Justia Law

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In this controversy arising from emergency proclamation issued by Governor Laura Kelly in response to the global public health crisis related to COVID-19 and her follow-up executive orders the Supreme Court granted in part the Governor's petition in quo warranto, holding that the Legislative Coordinating Council's purported revocation of Executive Order 20-18 was a nullity because the LCC did not act within its lawful authority.On March 12, the Governor proclaimed a state of disaster emergency. The Legislature then adopted House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 5025 extending the Governor's declaration to May 1, 2020. On April 7, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-18 relating to her March 12 emergency proclamation. The executive order temporarily prohibited mass gatherings, including religious gatherings and funerals. On April 8, the LCC revoked Executive Order 20-18. On April 9, Governor Kelly filed this original action in quo warranto challenging the purported revocation of her executive order. The Supreme Court granted the petition in part, holding that the Legislature's alleged revocation of the executive order was a nullity because the LCC lacked authority to do so under the terms of HCR 5025. View "Kelly v. Legislative Coordinating Council" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning the application of the statutory scheme permitting an employer that has provided workers compensation benefits to an injured employee to obtain both a subrogation interest in any recovery the employee receives from a third party and a credit for future benefits, the Supreme Court held that the Workers Compensation Board used the improper method for determining the subrogation lien and the future credit.In Employee's third party negligence action, the jury decided both the fault of Employer and the measure of Employee's damages from his workplace injury. The Board applied the jury's finding of fault to Employee's settlement with one of several defendants in his negligence action to compute the reduction in Employer's subrogation lien and future credit for workers compensation benefits it provided or will provide to Employee. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) consistent with Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-504(b), Employer's credit for future benefits should have been determined using each annual settlement payment to Employee from one of the third-party defendants when the payment was received; and (2) the Board erred in aggregating those payments and relying on the total amount when Employee would not receive the last installment for twenty years. View "Hawkins v. Southwest Kansas Co-op Service" on Justia Law

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In this fee dispute between a hospital that provided medical services to an injured worker and a workers compensation carrier that paid the hospital less than the billed amount for those services the Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the Workers Compensation Appeals Board upholding a hearing officer's ruling in favor of the carrier, holding that the relief sought by the hospital and ordered by the court of appeals could not be granted in this proceeding.In ruling in favor of the carrier, the hearing officer held that the carrier had appropriately paid the amount required by the schedule for maximum medical fees established by the director of the Division of Workers Compensation. The Board affirmed. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Board's enforcement of the maximum medical fee schedule was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable because the applicable fee limiting provision had been accidentally created. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the issue of the rulemaking by the director, and the results of any accidental rulemaking, were not properly before the Board; and (2) the Board's refusal to expand the parameters of the fee dispute statute was not unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious. View "Via Christi Hospitals Wichita, Inc. v. Kan-Pak, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court's decision reversing the revocation of Brenda Rosendahl's driving privileges but affirmed the district court's finding that the statutorily required $50 fee for an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of driving privileges is unconstitutional, holding that the district court correctly found that Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1020(d)(2) is unconstitutional but that this judgment did not impact Rosendahl's suspension.In Creecy v. Kansas Department of Revenue, __ P.3d __ (Kan. 2019), decided on this day, the Supreme Court held that the statutorily required $50 fee for administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of driving privileges is unconstitutional. In the instant case, the Supreme Court held (1) for the reasons set forth in Creecy, the district court here did not err in finding section 8-1020(d)(2) unconstitutional; and (2) the officer not had reasonable grounds to request that Rosendahl submit to an evidentiary breath test, and therefore, the district court erred in finding that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to request a breath test. View "Rosendahl v. Kansas Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's upholding the suspension of Michael Creecy's driver's license by the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDR) but held that Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1020(d)(2)'s monetary requirement to obtain a due process hearing, without any exception for the indigence of the licensee, renders that provision facially unconstitutional.On appeal, Creecy challenged the constitutionality of section 8-1020(d)(2), which requires a motorist whose driver's license has been confiscated by a law enforcement officer as a consequence of a driving under the influence arrest to pay a $50 fee to be granted an administrative hearing on the issue of the license deprivation. The court of appeals affirmed the district court. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the court of appeals and the district court on the constitutionality of section 8-1020(d)(2), holding that the provision is unconstitutional and the remedy is a refund of the $50 fee; and (2) affirmed the suspension of Creecy's driver's license, holding that there was no merit of Creecy's other claims. View "Creecy v. Kansas Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's ruling that a $50 fee mandated by Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1020(d)(2) to gain administrative review of a driver's license suspension is unconstitutional and affirmed the suspension of Warren Meats' driver's license, holding that Meats was not entitled to relief in this appeal.Meats requested an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of his driver's license. An ALJ affirmed the suspension. Meats petitioned for de novo review, arguing, inter alia, that the $50 fee required to obtain an administrative hearing was unconstitutional. The district court affirmed the driver's license suspension but ruled that section 8-1020(d)(2)'s requirement as to the fee was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this Court considered the constitutional argument in Creecy v. Kansas Department of Revenue, __ P.3d ___ (this day decided), and held that the $50 fee requirement in section 8-1020(d)(2) is facially unconstitutional, but because Meats did not appeal the district court's ruling that the issue was moot as to him, Meats was not entitled to relief in this appeal; and (2) there was no merit to Meats' other claims. View "Meats v. Kansas Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court reversing the suspension of Appellant's driving privileges based on her arrest and refusal to take a blood alcohol test, holding that substantial competent evidence supported the district court's factual findings and that the court's legal conclusions were correct.The district judge held that Appellant met her burden of proving both that the arresting officer lacked reasonable grounds to believe that Appellant was driving while impaired and lacked probable cause to arrest her. In reversing, the court of appeals ruled that the totality of the circumstances did not support Appellant's position. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that substantial competent evidence in the record supported the district court's factual findings and that the conclusion derived from those findings was legally correct. View "Casper v. Kansas Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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In this expedited action in quo warranto brought by the State on relation of the Attorney General against Governor Laura Kelly, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, and the Kansas Senate concerning statutory procedures and obligations to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court that the Governor's new appointment after the first appointee purported to withdraw was ineffective.Shortly after the Governor announced the first appointment to fill the Court of Appeals vacancy, the appointee purported to withdraw. This lawsuit was filed. Thereafter, the Governor announced a new appointment to fill the same vacancy. The Supreme Court held (1) the Senate was not a proper or necessary party to this case; (2) the Governor's actions in making the appointment to fill the Court of Appeals vacancy effectively began the statutory sixty-day Senate confirmation process as to the first appointee, and Kan. Stat. Ann. 20-3020(a)(4) makes no provision for a withdrawal once an appointment is made; (3) Kan. Stat. Ann. 75-4315b(c), which authorizes that an appointing authority may withdraw an appointment from consideration by the senate at any time before confirmation, is inapplicable to Court of Appeals vacancies; and (4) the Governor's new appointment is ineffective because there may be only one appointee at a time. View "State ex rel. Schmidt v. Kelly" on Justia Law