State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, No. 65426

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; BLACKMAR; RENDLEN, C.J., and HIGGINS, J., dissent and concur in separate dissenting opinion of BLACKMAR; BLACKMAR
Citation670 S.W.2d 494
PartiesSTATE ex rel. Honorable Gene McNARY, et al., Relators, v. Honorable Samuel J. HAIS, Associate Circuit Judge, St. Louis County, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 65426
Decision Date15 May 1984

Page 494

670 S.W.2d 494
STATE ex rel. Honorable Gene McNARY, et al., Relators,
v.
Honorable Samuel J. HAIS, Associate Circuit Judge, St. Louis
County, Respondent.
No. 65426.
Supreme Court of Missouri,
En Banc.
May 15, 1984.
Supplemental Dissenting Opinion on
Denial of Rehearing June 19, 1984.

Page 495

Gerald A. Rimmel, Morton I. Golder, Thomas W. Wehrle, County Counselor, James H. White, Associate County Counselor, Clayton, for relators.

James F. Mauze, Donald J. Mehan, John Q. Masteller, Clayton, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

This is prohibition.

On March 3, 1983, relator, St. Louis County Council, authorized the issuance of a conditional use permit for the operation of a sanitary land fill in North St. Louis County. Twenty-nine days later, plaintiffs, Citizens Opposed to New Halls Ferry Sanitary Land Fill, petitioned the Circuit Court seeking review of the St. Louis County Council's decision. Relators, St. Louis County Council and subsequent intervenors, filed separate motions to dismiss, arguing that the Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction because of § 49.230, RSMo 1978, which provides in pertinent part: "Appeals from the decisions, findings or orders of county courts of a quasi-judicial nature * * * shall be made within ten days from the date of the decision, findings or order * * *." (Emphasis supplied.) Respondent overruled relators' motions. Relators sought, and were denied, a writ of prohibition from the Court of Appeals. Relators petitioned for the same relief in this Court, which entered a provisional rule in prohibition.

Chapter 536, RSMo 1978, contains the general provisions for review of administrative agency determinations. Section 536.100, RSMo 1978, provides:

Any person who has exhausted all administrative remedies provided by law * * * shall be entitled to judicial review thereof, as provided in section 536.100 to 536.140, unless some other provision for judicial review is provided by statute; * * *. (Emphasis supplied.)

Accord Rule 100.01. Section 536.110, RSMo 1978, provides a thirty day statute of limitations for appeals from administrative decisions. Relators argue that § 536.110 is inapplicable. Rather, they contend that § 49.230 applies because it constitutes an "other provision for judicial review" as provided in § 536.100. Thus, the essential questions on appeal are whether § 49.230 applies to county council actions (as opposed to county courts) and if so, then whether the St. Louis County Council's decision was of a "quasi-judicial nature."

Examining § 49.230, we presume that the legislature did not intend to enact an absurd law, State ex rel. Safety Ambulance Service, Inc. v. Kinder, 557 S.W.2d 242 (Mo. banc 1977), and we favor a construction that avoids unjust or unreasonable results. Maryland Casualty Co. v. General Electric Co., 418 S.W.2d 115 (Mo. banc 1967). While most Missouri counties are governed by county courts, St. Louis County has chosen to become a charter county governed by a county council. Although § 49.230 refers solely to county courts, it has been applied to the determinations of county councils when it is manifest that the General Assembly intended such an application. In re the Incorporation of the City of River Bend, 530 S.W.2d 704 (Mo.App.1975). While a "county council is not a county court under another name," Schmoll v. Housing Authority of St. Louis County, 321 S.W.2d 494, 498 (Mo.1959), the St. Louis County Council "is charged with the duties normally performed by the county court in most counties." State v. Champ, 393 S.W.2d 516, 521 (Mo. banc 1965). When a county council makes a determination that would normally be made by a county court in a non-charter county, the county council and the county court serve in the same capacity and no distinction can be drawn between them. River Bend, supra. In such a case we believe the legislature intended to include the decisions of the county council within the purview of § 49.230. Id. However,

Page 496

when a county council makes a determination that would not normally be made by a county court, § 49.230 is inapplicable and the administrative review provisions of Chapter 536 control.

In the case at hand the St. Louis County Council authorized the issuance of a conditional use permit. Had St. Louis County been a non-charter county, the permit would have been issued by a county court pursuant to § 64.281.3, RSMo 1978. Thus, the St. Louis County Council acted as would a county court in a non-charter county. Consequently, § 49.230 applies to the St. Louis County Council's decision. We turn then to the question whether its decision was of a quasi-judicial nature.

Quasi-judicial is "[a] term applied to the action * * * of public administrative officers or bodies, who are required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action, and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature." Black's Law Dictionary 1121 (5th ed. 1979); State ex rel. State Highway Commission v. Weinstein, 322 S.W.2d 778, 784 (Mo. banc 1959); 1 Am.Jur.2d Administrative Law § 161 (1962); 50 C.J.S. Judicial 562-65 (1947). In State ex rel. Police Retirement System of City of St. Louis v. Murphy, 359 Mo. 854, 224 S.W.2d 68 (banc 1949), this Court found the Board of Trustees of the Police Retirement System to be a quasi-judicial tribunal because it was "authorized upon a hearing to find and determine fact issues." Id., 359 Mo. at 858, 224 S.W.2d at 70. Likewise, in Liechty v. Kansas City Bridge Co., 162 S.W.2d 275 (Mo.1942), this Court noted that the Missouri Workmen's Compensation Commission was vested with the quasi-judicial powers of applying the law to its findings of fact. In the case at hand the St. Louis County Council examined the facts and exercised its discretion in making findings of fact and applying the law to those facts. Thus, the St. Louis County Council's decision was of a quasi-judicial nature. [Accord Allison v. Washington County, 24 Or.App. 571, 548 P.2d 188 (1976), where the Oregon Court of Appeals found the issuance of a conditional use permit to be a quasi-judicial action.]

Respondent argues, however, that pursuant to State ex rel. St. Louis County v. Jones, 498 S.W.2d 294 (Mo.App.1973), the St. Louis County Council's decision was administrative, not quasi-judicial. We disagree. The Eastern District in Jones, in distinguishing between legislative and administrative actions, noted that while "[t]he enactment of a comprehensive zoning ordinance is a legislative function * * * [a] determination by the [County] Council to grant or withhold a conditional use permit is administrative in nature and must be made reasonably and not arbitrarily." Id. at 299. The Jones court was not confronted with the issue of whether the issuance of a conditional...

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36 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Scott v. Roper, No. 65918
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 2, 1985
    ...the unfettered use of the writ of prohibition to allow interlocutory review of trial court error." In State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 497 (Mo. banc 1984), this Court held that prohibition will lie where "[r]elators do not have adequate remedy by way of In this case, the court ......
  • Issuance of a Permit by Dept. of Environmental Protection to Ciba-Geigy Corp., Matter of, CIBA-GEIGY
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 8, 1985
    ...(city council acts in quasi-judicial capacity when considering application for special-use permit); State ex rel. Mc Nary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 496 (Mo.1984) (en banc ) (county council's issuance of conditional-use permit was quasi-judicial Fact-finding is a basic requirement imposed on ......
  • Wright v. Over-The-Road and City Transfer Drivers, Helpers, Dockmen and Warehousemen, Local Union No. 41, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, OVER-THE-ROAD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 25, 1997
    ...817 S.W.2d at 574. "This principle is generally held applicable to a quasijudicial proceeding." Id. In State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 496 (Mo. banc 1984), the Missouri Supreme Court, in determining whether a proceeding was quasi-judicial in nature, relied on the following def......
  • State ex rel. Munn v. McKelvey, No. 69029
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 14, 1987
    ...688 S.W.2d 367, 368 (Mo. banc 1985), and where there is no adequate remedy by way of appeal, e.g., State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 496-97 (Mo. banc 1984). As stated above, respondent acted without jurisdiction. Because relator is not a party to the underlying proceeding here, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
36 cases
  • State ex rel. Scott v. Roper, No. 65918
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 2, 1985
    ...the unfettered use of the writ of prohibition to allow interlocutory review of trial court error." In State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 497 (Mo. banc 1984), this Court held that prohibition will lie where "[r]elators do not have adequate remedy by way of In this case, the court ......
  • Issuance of a Permit by Dept. of Environmental Protection to Ciba-Geigy Corp., Matter of, CIBA-GEIGY
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 8, 1985
    ...(city council acts in quasi-judicial capacity when considering application for special-use permit); State ex rel. Mc Nary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 496 (Mo.1984) (en banc ) (county council's issuance of conditional-use permit was quasi-judicial Fact-finding is a basic requirement imposed on ......
  • Wright v. Over-The-Road and City Transfer Drivers, Helpers, Dockmen and Warehousemen, Local Union No. 41, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, OVER-THE-ROAD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 25, 1997
    ...817 S.W.2d at 574. "This principle is generally held applicable to a quasijudicial proceeding." Id. In State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 496 (Mo. banc 1984), the Missouri Supreme Court, in determining whether a proceeding was quasi-judicial in nature, relied on the following def......
  • State ex rel. Munn v. McKelvey, No. 69029
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 14, 1987
    ...688 S.W.2d 367, 368 (Mo. banc 1985), and where there is no adequate remedy by way of appeal, e.g., State ex rel. McNary v. Hais, 670 S.W.2d 494, 496-97 (Mo. banc 1984). As stated above, respondent acted without jurisdiction. Because relator is not a party to the underlying proceeding here, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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