Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri
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The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's judgment on the pleadings in favor of Governor Michael Parson and Michelle Hallford, the custodian of records for the governor's office (collectively, the Governor's Office) and dismissing the underlying lawsuit, holding that the Governor's Office was not entitled to judgment, as a matter of law, on the face of the pleadings. This lawsuit stemmed from two public records requests Plaintiff made under the Sunshine Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. 610.010-.035. Plaintiff argued that the Governor's Office violated the Sunshine Law when it required Plaintiff to prepay an estimate of costs for his first request, arbitrarily refused to waive fees associated with his first request, failed to explain its estimated delay in producing certain requested records, and impermissibly redacted certain records. The circuit court entered judgment on the pleadings in favor of the Governor's Office. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that the circuit court erred in sustaining the Governor's Office's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to several issues. View "Gross v. Parson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission awarding permanent total disability (PTD) benefits to Jonathan Parker under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.220.2, holding that the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission erred in applying subsection 2 of section 287.220 rather than subsection 3 of the statute, and remand was required.Before the Supreme Court, the Second Injury Fund argued that Parker should be denied benefits under subsection 3. Parker, in turn, argued that the Supreme Court should award him benefits under subsection 3. The Supreme Court vacated the Commission's decision, holding (1) under Mo. Const. art. V, 18, the Supreme Court is permitted to review only the decisions and findings of the Commission, not to make such decisions in the first place; and (2) therefore, remand to the Commission was required to determine whether Parker was entitled to benefits under subsection 3. View "Treasurer of State as Custodian of the Second Injury Fund v. Parker" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision and order of the Judicial Finance Commission (JFC) dismissing the Franklin County Commission's petition for review, holding that the JFC properly dismissed the petition as untimely.In this budgeting dispute, the Franklin County Commission filed a petition for review with the JFC. JFC ordered the petition to be dismissed, determining that the petition was untimely and that the JFC had not authority to grant the relief sought. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Franklin County Commission failed to show good cause to excuse its late filing, and thus, the petition was properly dismissed as untimely; and (2) the Twentieth Judicial Circuit's motion for attorney fees is overruled without prejudice. View "Board of Commissioners of County of Franklin v. Twentieth Judicial Circuit" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Missouri's Legal Expense Fund had no obligation to satisfy a default judgment against Allen Merry, an employee of the St. Louis Public School District.S.M.H., a student in the Transitional School District of the City of St. Louis, sued Merry, a former teacher, and obtained a default judgment against him for $4 million. Because the Transitional School District had lost its state accreditation, the Special Administrative Board (Board) of the Transitional School District governed the district and employed Merry. S.M.H. subsequently filed a declaratory judgment action seeking satisfaction of the judgment from the Legal Expense Fund. The circuit court granted summary judgment for S.M.H. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Board was not an "agency of the state" for purposes of the Legal Expense Fund, and therefore, the Fund was not liable for damages against employees of the Transitional School District; and (2) S.M.H. was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "S.M.H v. Schmitt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the amended report and order issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC) disallowing a portion of Spire Missouri, Inc.'s rate case expenses, including some of the proceeds from a sale of a facility in setting Spire's new rates, and determining that Spire Missouri East's prepaid pension was less than Spire contended, holding that an increase in the amount of Spire East's pension was warranted.Spire, an investor-owned public utility regulated by the PSC, filed tariff to increase its general rates for gas services in its Spire Missouri East and Spire Missouri West territories. The PSC suspended Spire's new tariffs and established a test year and then issued its contested amended report and order. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Spire's points challenging the PSC's decision to exclude a portion of Spire's rate case expenses were unavailing; (2) the PSC's order that relocation proceeds from the sale of the facility be used to reduce rates was not an abuse of discretion; but (3) the PSC's decision to extend the period in which it determined Spire East used cash accounting to value its pension asset from 1994 to 1996 was not supported by competent and substantial evidence. View "Spire Missouri, Inc. v. Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of rulemaking issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC), holding that the order fell within the PSC's statutory authority and that the private entity fiscal note accompanying the promulgated regulation complied with the applicable statutes.In 2018, the PSC promulgated a rule (the Rule) that provided new regulations related to certificates of convenience and necessity. Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company appealed, arguing that the order promulgating the Rule exceeded PSC's authority and that the fiscal note was deficient, rendering the Rule void and unenforceable. The Supreme Court affirmed the order, holding (1) the order promulgated by the PSC was supported by statutory authority and was reasonable; and (2) the accompanying fiscal note was not deficient. View "Kansas City Power & Light v. Missouri Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the administrative hearing commission (AHC) determining that John Gott, who owned and operated a sole proprietorship providing portable toilets to customers, was liable for unpaid sales tax, use tax, and additions to tax and statutory interest as assessed by the director of revenue for the period of April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2017, holding that the AHC decision was authorized by law and supported by competent and substantial evidence on the record.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the AHC did not impermissibly extend the reach of the sales tax law to include AHC's portable toilet service, and therefore, Gott's gross receipts were subject to sales tax; (2) Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.010's plain language is clear and resolved this dispute without the Court having to resort to the "true object" test; and (3) the AHC did not violate Mo. Const. art. X, 26 because Gott was not engaged in a service or transaction not subject to sales, use, or transaction-based taxation. View "Gott v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) affirming its previous order emergently suspending Dr. Blake Donaldson's license and finding cause for discipline and the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts' subsequent decision to discipline Donaldson's license, holding that there was no error.From 1995 to 2017, the Board licensed Donaldson as an osteopathic physician and surgeon. In 2017, the Board filed a complaint alleging that Donaldson had engaged in several instances of sexual misconduct with a patient. The AHC, acting pursuant to the emergency procedures set forth in Mo. Rev. Stat. 334.102, found probable cause to believe Donaldson engaged in sexual contact with a patient and emergently suspended Donald's license. The AHC then affirmed its previous order. Thereafter, the Board revoked Donaldson's license and prohibited him from applying for reinstatement for seven years. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the AHC's decision was authorized by law and was not arbitrary and capricious. View "Donaldson v. Missouri State Board of Registration for Healing Arts" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) determining that SEBA, LLC was liable for unpaid state sales tax, statutory interest, and a five percent addition to tax owed as assessed by the director of revenue, holding that the AHC's decision was supported by substantial and competent evidence on the record.The AHC determined that SEBA was liable for unpaid sales tax in the amount of $38,540, minus the sales tax assessed on $26,567 in income generated from SEBA's exempt sales to three organizations the auditor initially included. The AHC found SEBA liable for five percent statutory interest because it was was negligent in reporting its taxable sales. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that substantial and competent evidence supported the AHC's decision. View "SEBA, LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court declaring section 11.800 of House Bill No. 2011 (HB2011) invalid, holding that there was a direct conflict between the language of Mo. Rev. Stat. 208.153.2 and 208.152.1(6), (12) requiring the MO HealthNet Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services to pay its authorized providers for covered physicians' services and family planning provided to Medicaid-eligible individuals and the language of section 11.800 prohibiting MO HealthNet from doing so.Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood (Planned Parenthood) was an authorized provider of physicians' services and family planning because it had an agreement with MO HealthNet to do so. MO HealthNet informed Planned Parenthood that it could not reimburse Planned Parenthood for those services during the fiscal year 2019 due to section 11.800, which stated that "No funds shall be expended to any abortion facility...." The circuit court concluded that section 11.800 of HB2011 violated Mo. Const. Art. III, 23 because it amended substantive law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 11.800 was invalid because article III, section 23 prohibits using an appropriation bill to amend a substantive statute; and (2) the circuit court properly severed that provision from the remainder of HB2011. View "Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region v. Department of Social Services, Division of Medical Services" on Justia Law