Jurisdiction and Venue in State Courts for Review of Administrative Decisions

A state court’s jurisdiction to review administrative decisions is statutorily created and limited.  In Molnar v. Mont. PSC, 2008 MT 49, P7 (Mont. 2008), the Montana court held that the district court’s jurisdiction is controlled by the period of time prescribed by the legislature and is limited to the time provided by the applicable statute.  Louisiana embeds the right to review in the state constitution.  Pursuant to La. Const. art. V, § 16(B), judicial review of the administrative agency is an exercise of a court’s appellate jurisdiction.  In Willows v. State, 15 So. 3d 56 (La. 2009), the court held that for the purpose of judicial review of administrative action, district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and only have appellate jurisdiction to review administrative decisions as provided by the legislature or constitution.  Additionally, the existence of a specific statutory procedure generally implies a legislative intent that the special statutory procedure be the exclusive means of obtaining judicial review in the situations to which it applies.  The Model State Administrative Procedure Act (1981) includes alternative provisions as to which court may be designated to review actions of administrative agencies.

Under the Model State Administrative Procedure Act (1981), venue is either in the district: (1) that includes the state capital; or (2) where the petitioner resides or maintains a principal place of business, unless otherwise provided by law.  When judicial review of an administrative agency action is sought, the party seeking review must file the petition in the venue allowed by statute; failure to do so means that the court where the petition was filed does not have jurisdiction over the administrative appeal.


Inside Jurisdiction and Venue in State Courts for Review of Administrative Decisions