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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides two today; important administrative law ruling

In Teaching Our Posterity Success, Inc. v. Indiana Department of Education and Indiana State Board of Education, a 10-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

Resolving a long-standing lack of consensus on the subject, today we hold that a petitioner seeking judicial review of an agency action must file with the trial court the agency record as defined by the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act. Failure to do so results in dismissal of the petition. * * *

In support of their respective positions for the need vel non of a complete agency record both parties rely on this Court’s evenly divided [J.Sullivan did not participate] decision in Indiana Family and Social Services Administration v. Meyer, 927 N.E.2d 367 (Ind. 2010).

In sum we hold a petitioner for review cannot receive consideration of its petition where the statutorily-defined agency record4 has not been filed. In our view this bright-line approach best serves the goals of accuracy, efficiency, and judicial economy. Here because TOPS did not file the agency record as anticipated by AOPA, the trial court properly dismissed its petition for judicial review.

In First American Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Indiana, in his official capacity, On Behalf of the Indiana Department of Insurance, a 9-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:
In another opinion decided today we held that a petitioner seeking judicial review of an agency decision must file the agency record as defined by the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act and that the failure to do so results in dismissal of the petition. See Teaching Our Posterity Success, Inc., v. Ind. Dept. of Educ., ___ N.E.3d ___, No. 49S05-1411-PL-0700 (Ind. Nov. 13, 2014). We apply that holding here. * * *

First American acknowledges that it did not transmit the agency record to the trial court as anticipated by AOPA. It insists however that the documents presented to the trial court were sufficient to decide whether the Commissioner’s hearing order was void. According to First American, “the only documents relevant to judicial review were the April 15, 2012 Order appointing an ALJ to conduct an investigative hearing and the April 19, 2012 Order setting the investigative hearing for July 12, 2012.” Reply Br. of Appellant at 24-25. First American correctly notes these documents were attached to its petition for judicial review. In support of its contention First American relies heavily on Izaak Walton League of America, Inc. v. Dekalb County Surveryor’s Office which declared, among other things: “We think the purposes of the statutes governing what constitutes an adequate agency record . . . are clear. The record must include all that is necessary . . . to accurately assess the challenged agency action.” 850 N.E.2d 957 at 965 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006).

But in an opinion we decide today we declare a “bright line” rule effectively abrogating Izaak Walton and similar cases.
[ILB emphasis] “[W]e hold a petitioner for review cannot receive consideration of its petition where the statutorily-defined agency record has not been filed. In our view this bright-line approach best serves the goals of accuracy, efficiency, and judicial economy.” Teaching Our Posterity Success, Inc., ___ N.E.3d at ___, No. 49S05-1411-PL-700, slip op. at 9-10 (footnote omitted). In this case First American did not file the agency record with the trial court. Therefore its petition for judicial review cannot be considered. The trial court thus erred in failing to grant the Commissioner’s motion to dismiss the petition.

We reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 13, 2014 11:41 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions