Often when dealing with administrative agencies such as workman’s compensation, unemployment, and other government-run programs, you must work with the agency to handle disputes. There is a process for each federal and state agency to handle disputes that must be followed before you can take the case forward into the judicial system.
Depending on the agency, there is either a periodically-meeting board your case must be presented to or commissioners who do nothing but listen to cases and issue rulings based on the facts. If you disagree with this first decision, you can ask for an administrative hearing, which will be presided over by an administrative law judge. This is a part of the judicial system that specializes in administrative law and hearing appeals from different agencies.
Appealing Administrative Decisions
After you have a chance to appeal the decision to the administrative law judge, you might have the opportunity to appeal the decision in state or federal court. Whether or not you can appeal certain types of decisions, and what court will hear the appeal, is set by statute. Appeals are a process, however, and you must follow the process and appeal to the correct next level. This is known as exhausting prior remedies and this requirement can only be waived by the agency or, in very rare cases, the court that will hear the appeal.
There is a point, however, where further judicial review is discretionary. You can appeal cases all the way up to the Utah Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, but those courts only hear a handful of cases each year and pick and choose which cases they hear.
In general, there is a presumption in favor of the administrative decision, meaning that the burden of proving that the decision is incorrect falls on the business or individual appealing the decision. There are, however, plenty of reasons to appeal including arguing that the agency’s decision was unreasonable, arbitrary, unsupported, based on bias or a protected class, outside of the agency’s authority, and more.
Moving Past Appeal
If you prove your case at the appeal level, then the court has the ability to remand the case back to the agency and make them re-hear your case, reverse the agency’s decision, or simply vacate their decision. This may mean having to redo your case in front of the same appeal board, this time with different instructions on how they should interpret law and regulations.
If you’re facing a business situation with a regulatory agency, reach out to the experienced team of litigators at the Dunn Law Firm. We understand business litigation and administrative law and can help you understand your case and position and the steps that your case will go through on the way to resolution. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.