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In reversal, Missouri’s high court rules administrative remedies must be exhausted


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Administrative remedies, if available, must be utilized before heading to the courts, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled. The judgement reverses a 1994 high court decision.

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to deny Bryan Travis Robison a permanent writ against the director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration. They ruled that Robison failed to demonstrate he was entitled to mandamus relief.

It was within the opinion written by Judge W. Brent Powell that the court reversed a 1994 Supreme Court ruling. In Strozewski v. Springfield the Missouri court held § 536.150 “has no requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies.”

Strozewski’s holding appears at odds with the plain language of § 536.150,” states Powell. The statute provides a right to judicial review when an agency decision is “not subject to administrative review” and, thus requires exhaustion of administrative remedies before seeking judicial review of non-contested cases.

“Because judicial review pursuant to § 536.150.1 is statutorily restricted to when a governmental agency decision is not ‘subject to administrative review,’ aggrieved parties must exhaust all their administrative remedies before seeking judicial review in a non-contested case,” the high court’s new ruling states.

Because the change caused by overruling Strozewski relates to the “method provided by law for aiding and protecting defined legal rights,” the change is procedural, and applies only prospectively.  Therefore, applying the court’s procedure for seeking judicial review in a non-contested case prospectively, Robison was not required to exhaust his administrative remedies.