Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Today's administrative law case

I was listening today to the arguments before the Supreme Court of Virginia by way of the live stream.

One of the cases is about whether there is an implied cause of action to enforce a statute against a state agency that has refused to make a final decision, claiming lack of sufficient information from the aggrieved party.

I observe this statute in the Administrative Process Act:

§ 2.2-4029. Court judgments. Unless an error of law as defined in 2.2-4027 appears, the court shall dismiss the review action or affirm the agency regulation or decision. Otherwise, it may compel agency action unlawfully and arbitrarily withheld or unreasonably delayed except that the court shall not itself undertake to supply agency action committed by the basic law to the agency. Where a regulation or case decision is found by the court not to be in accordance with law under 2.2-4027, the court shall suspend or set it aside and remand the matter to the agency for further proceedings, if any, as the court may permit or direct in accordance with law.

The same language appears in the federal act, 5 U.S. Code § 706(1).

I don't know whether this language affects the issues in the case on appeal, but I know that the one time I brought such a claim under federal law, the agency mooted the case by making a prompt decision.