Justia Kansas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative 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 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 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 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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Kansas Board of Workers Compensation concluding that Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-523(f)(1) unambiguously requires a claimant to move for extension within three years of filing an application for hearing for the claim to survive a proper motion to dismiss, holding that the statute unambiguously prohibits an ALJ from granting an extension unless a motion for extension has been filed within three years of filing the application for hearing. Appellant filed an application for hearing with the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation asserting that he fell and injured himself while working for Employer. Approximately three years later, Employer filed an application for dismissal, arguing that the ALJ should dismiss Appellant's claim under section 44-523(f) because Appellant had failed to move the claim toward a hearing or settlement within three years of filing his application for hearing. The ALJ granted Employer's application to dismiss. The Board and Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Court of Appeals' interpretation of the statute was correct. View "Glaze v. J.K. Willliams, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the Kansas Workers Compensation Board (Board) affirming an ALJ's denial of Helen Knoll's application for hearing with the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation (Division), holding that Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-523(f)(1) controlled Knoll's claim and required its dismissal. More than five years after Knoll filed her application with the Division, Employer moved to have Knoll's claim dismissed under section 44-523(f)(1) because the claim had not proceeded to a final hearing within three years of the filing of an application for hearing. The ALJ concluded that Knoll's motion for extension was timely and entered an award of compensation. The Board affirmed the ALJ's denial of the motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that dismissal was appropriate because Knoll did not file a motion for extension within three years of filing her application for hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) if a workers compensation claimant filed an application for hearing under Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-534 after Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-523(f)(1) took effect in 2011, the 2011 statute governs the claim; and (2) because Knoll filed her application for hearing six months after the 2011 amendments became effective, section 44-523(f)(1) controlled her claim. View "Knoll v. Olathe School District No. 233" on Justia Law

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In this appeal concerning the statutory definition of "idiopathic causes" contained in the statute excluding benefits for certain accidents or injuries the Supreme Court held that the Workers Compensation Appeals Board improperly denied benefits to Terrill Graber, who was injured when he fell down a workplace stairway, holding that there was not substantial competent evidence to support the Board's finding that the accident or injury arose directly or indirectly from an idiopathic cause under the statutory exclusion. There was no evidence presented in this case showing why Graber fell down the workplace stairway. The Board construed the term "idiopathic causes" in Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-508(f)(3)(A)(iv) broadly to cover all unknown causes and denied compensation. The court of appeals reversed after defining the term more narrowly. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded the case to the Board for reconsideration consistent with this opinion, holding that the term "idiopathic causes" in this context means medical conditions or medical events of unknown origin that are peculiar to the injured individual. View "Estate of Graber v. Dillon Companies" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court holding Great Plains of Kiowa County, Inc. subject to the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) and compelling it to provide records requested by the State through the Kiowa County Commission but reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals to remand the case for further proceedings. The district court held that an instrumentality of the county such as Great Plains is a public agency and not exempted from KORA. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court but remanded the case to the district court for a factual determination as to whether the requested documents were relevant to evaluating Great Plains’ performance of its contract terms. The Supreme Court held that the portion of the Court of Appeals decision remanding the case to the district court for further determinations was erroneous because a request under KORA is not limited to performance of contractual terms. View "State v. Great Plains of Kiowa County, Inc." on Justia Law

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Substantial evidence supported the Workers Compensation Board’s decision to deny workers compensation benefits to Appellant, who was severely injured when he was hit by a drunk driver while walking from a bar to his hotel. At the time of the accident, Appellant was a laborer working an out-of-town roofing job. The Board found that Defendant’s injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant’s injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment as defined by the Kansas Workers Compensation Act (KWCA). View "Atkins v. Webcon" on Justia Law