The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Slip Opinions

by Booth, George


SC20305 - Markley v. State Elections Enforcement Commission ( Campaign financing; Whether trial court properly dismissed administrative appeal for lack of jurisdiction because appeal was not filed within 45 days of agency's constructive denial of petition for reconsideration. "The plaintiffs, Joe Markley and Rob Sampson, appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing their administrative appeal, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, from the adverse decision of the defendant, the State Elections Enforcement Commission (commission). In that decision, the commission determined that the plaintiffs, who, as candidates for state elective office, had received funding for their campaigns through the Citizens' Election Program (program), violated certain state election laws and regulations related to the program, and imposed civil fines for those violations. The plaintiffs immediately filed a petition for reconsideration in accordance with General Statutes § 4-181a (a) (1), which provides that an agency's failure to decide whether to reconsider a decision within twenty-five days of the filing of such a petition shall constitute a denial of the petition. Shortly after that twenty-five day period had elapsed without a decision by the commission, however, the matter of the petition appeared on the agenda of an upcoming special meeting of the commission. Following that special meeting, the commission notified the plaintiffs that their petition had been considered at the special meeting and denied. As authorized by General Statutes § 4-183, the plaintiffs appealed from the commission's decision to the Superior Court, which dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was untimely under subdivision (2) of § 4-183 (c) because, contrary to the requirement of that statutory subdivision, the appeal was not filed within forty-five days following the denial of the petition by operation of § 4-181a (a) (1). On appeal to this court, the plaintiffs claim, inter alia, that their administrative appeal was timely filed in the Superior Court because, under § 4-181a (a) (2); see footnote 1 of this opinion; the commission was authorized to reconsider its decision at any time up to forty days from the filing of the petition, the commission did so, and, in accordance with § 4-183 (c) (3); see footnote 2 of this opinion; the plaintiffs filed their appeal with the Superior Court within forty-five days of their receipt of notice from the commission that it had heard and denied the petition. We agree with the plaintiffs that, under the particular facts of this case, the timeliness of their appeal to the Superior Court is governed by the forty-five day limitation period of § 4-183 (c) (3), which commenced on the date they were notified by the commission of its purported action on the petition at the special meeting, rather than the forty-five day period of § 4-183 (c) (2), which, if applicable, would have commenced twenty-five days after the denial of the petition by operation of § 4-181a (a) (1). Because the plaintiffs' appeal was timely under § 4-183 (c) (3), we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to that court for a resolution of the merits of the plaintiffs' administrative appeal.")

SC20340 - Great Plains Lending, LLC v. Department of Banking (Tribal sovereign immunity; Whether trial court properly remanded matter for evidentiary hearing; Whether trial court applied proper test to determine if plaintiffs were "Arms of the tribe"; whether plaintiff tribal chairman was entitled to immunity from administrative orders and civil penalties. "This appeal presents three significant issues of first impression with respect to whether a business entity shares an Indian tribe's sovereign immunity as an "arm of the tribe," as we consider (1) which party bears the burden of proving the entity's status as an arm of the tribe, (2) the legal standard governing that inquiry, and (3) the extent to which a tribal officer shares in that immunity for his or her actions in connection with the business entity. The plaintiffs, Great Plains Lending, LLC (Great Plains), American Web Loan, Inc., doing business as Clear Creek Lending (Clear Creek) (collectively, entities), and John R. Shotton, chairman of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians (tribe), a federally recognized tribe, appeal from the judgment of the trial court sustaining their administrative appeal and remanding this case to the defendant Commissioner of Banking (commissioner) for further proceedings with respect to the plaintiffs' entitlement to tribal sovereign immunity in administrative proceedings. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court should have rendered judgment in their favor as a matter of law, insofar as it improperly (1) allocated the burden of proving entitlement to tribal sovereign immunity to the plaintiffs, (2) required proof of a functioning relationship between the entities and the tribe, and (3) failed to find Shotton immune in further administrative proceedings. The defendants, the commissioner and the Department of Banking (department), cross appeal and similarly challenge the legal standard adopted by the trial court and its decision to remand the case for further administrative proceedings. We conclude that the entity claiming arm of the tribe status bears the burden of proving its entitlement to that status under the test articulated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Breakthrough Management Group, Inc. v. Chukchansi Gold Casino & Resort, 629 F.3d 1173, 1187 (10th Cir. 2010) (Breakthrough), cert. dismissed, 564 U.S. 1061, 132 S. Ct. 64, 180 L. Ed. 2d 932 (2011). We further conclude, as a matter of law, that Great Plains is an arm of the tribe and that Shotton, with respect to his capacity as an officer of Great Plains and the tribe, is entitled to tribal sovereign immunity from civil penalties but not injunctive relief. We also conclude, however, that there is insufficient evidence to support a conclusion that Clear Creek is an arm of the tribe as a matter of law, which requires a remand to the commissioner for further administrative proceedings. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")