Thorough overview of procedure associated review of administrative matters, including the impact of the Missouri Administrative Procedure Act. 

Court Summary:

This appeal follows the circuit court’s reversal of the Livingston County Commission’s entry of a Public Nuisance Order against Larry and Gloria Johnston. Because of the parties’ and the circuit court’s failure to abide by the requirements of the Missouri Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA), we vacate the circuit court’s judgment and remand the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

JUDGMENT VACATED; REMANDED.

Division One holds:

  1. In any administrative matter, a party seeking judicial review must first discern whether the administrative proceeding involved a contested case or a non-contested case, as the scope of review and procedural steps differ.
  2. A party seeking judicial review in a contested case must file a petition seeking review within 30 days of the administrative determination. The party seeking review is also responsible for ensuring that the circuit court is presented with an adequate record to review, as the reviewing court in contested cases generally does not receive evidence.
  3. A reviewing court may receive evidence only in very specific circumstances, and it must make specific findings in order to do so. In the absence of such findings, the receipt of evidence during review of a contested case is not allowed.
  4. If the record of the administrative proceeding is inadequate to permit review, the circuit court should remand the matter back to the administrative agency for a rehearing of the evidence and preservation of the evidence for review.
  5. Following a circuit court’s decision in a contested case, the aggrieved party files the notice of appeal, but that party must also notify the appellate court of which party was aggrieved by the administrative body’s decision. For it is the party that was aggrieved by the administrative decision that is to file the appellant’s brief, regardless of whether that party prevailed in the circuit court, because we review the administrative decision and not the circuit court decision.
  6. Here, because the circuit court received evidence, rather than reviewing the record made before the Commission, and it made none of the statutorily required findings for doing so, we vacate the court’s judgment and remand for the circuit court to either review the existing record, or—if inadequate for review—remand the matter back to the Commission for rehearing and preservation of the evidence.

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