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State ex rel. Robison v. Lindley-Myers

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

August 29, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI ex rel. BRYAN TRAVIS ROBISON, Appellant,
v.
CHLORA LINDLEY-MYERS, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri The Honorable Patricia S. Joyce, Judge

          Before Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Presiding Judge, and Karen King Mitchell and Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judges

          KAREN KING MITCHELL, JUDGE

         Bryan Travis Robison appeals the circuit court's judgment quashing its preliminary writ in mandamus and denying Robison's request for a permanent writ. Robison sought a writ of mandamus against the director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration to compel Director to approve his application for renewal of his license as a General Bail Bond Agent. But because Robison failed to demonstrate he was entitled to mandamus relief, we affirm the judgment below.

         Background[1]

         Robison held a license as a General Bail Bond Agent that was set to expire on August 8, 2016. On July 14, 2016, Robison filed an application for renewal of his license with Director. On July 28, 2016, the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department filed a "Petition For Order Refusing To Renew General Bail Bond Agent License, " asking Director to refuse Robison's requested renewal on the grounds that "Robison [wa]s disqualified for licensure as a general bail bond agent." Specifically, the petition alleged that Robison

fail[ed] to meet the qualifications as a surety as set forth in Missouri Supreme Court Rule 33.17(f). Robison has $16, 000.00 of unsatisfied judgments for four (4) bail bonds in two (2) separate circuit courts in Missouri. By his own admission in his April, May, June, and July General Bail Bond Affidavits, signed under oath and before notaries public, he has outstanding judgments in Case No. 11VE-CR00290-01 in Vernon County in the amount of $10, 000.00 and Case Nos. 140006078, 140006079, and 140006080 in Jackson County in the total amount of $6, 000.00.

         The petition concluded, "Because Robison fails to meet the qualifications as a surety as set forth in Missouri Supreme Court Rule 33.17(f), [2] as required by § 374.715.1 RSMo, [3] the Director has no discretion and therefore must refuse to renew Robison's general bail bond agent license." On July 29, 2016, Director summarily refused Robison's application for renewal. Attached to the refusal order were various findings of fact and conclusions of law outlining Director's rationale. Also attached was a notice to Robison that stated:

You may request a hearing in this matter. You may do so by filing a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission [AHC] of Missouri, P.O. Box 1557, Jefferson City, Missouri, within 30 days after the mailing of this notice pursuant to Section 621.120, RSMo. Pursuant to 1 CSR 15-3.290, unless you send your complaint by registered or certified mail, it will not be considered filed until the Administrative Hearing Commission receives it.

         Instead of requesting a hearing before the AHC, Robison filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the circuit court, arguing that § 374.750 unconstitutionally denied him due process by allowing Director to summarily refuse to renew Robison's license without first giving him notice and an opportunity for a hearing. The circuit court issued a preliminary writ, ordering Director to respond to Robison's petition. Director responded, arguing that Robison was not entitled to a writ for the following reasons: (1) there is no clear entitlement to a renewed license; (2) the decision regarding unsatisfied bond forfeiture judgments is discretionary, involving application of facts to law; and (3) the decision regarding license renewal based on unsatisfied bond forfeiture judgments is mandatory. Director further argued that Robison "chose not to exercise his right to and failed to exhaust administrative remedies available to him in the AHC, " and that Robison "present[ed] nothing showing that he has a protected property interest in the renewal of his license, or that the post-deprivation hearing procedures provided pursuant to § 621.120 RSMo (2000) violate due process in any way."

         The circuit court held a hearing, wherein it received arguments from counsel. After the hearing, the court issued a judgment and order, quashing the preliminary writ and denying Robison's petition for a writ of mandamus. Robison appeals.

         Jurisdiction

         "The general rule is that no appeal lies from the dismissal or the denial of a petition for writ of mandamus." State ex rel. Am. Eagle Waste Indus. v. St. Louis Cty., 272 S.W.3d 336, 339 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008). "The remedy in such a case is a direct petition for writ of mandamus in a higher court." Id. But "[a]n appeal will lie from the denial of a writ petition when a lower court has issued a preliminary order in mandamus but then denies a permanent writ" on the merits. U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs v. Boresi, 396 S.W.3d 356, 358 (Mo. banc 2013); R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV Sch. Dist., 477 S.W.3d 185, 189 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015).[4]

         Analysis

         Robison brings a single point on appeal; he argues that the circuit court erred in quashing its preliminary writ and denying his request for a permanent writ in mandamus because, as a general bail bond agent, Robison had a right to renew his license notwithstanding the provisions of § 374.750 insofar as professional licenses are property for constitutional purposes and, thus, the State must afford pre-deprivation notice and a hearing in order to comport with the requirements of due process.

         A. ...


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