E.A. v. Texas Department of Family & Protective Services (Per Curiam)

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Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over an administrative order because E.A. did not move for rehearing before the administrative law judge and rejecting E.A.'s due process challenge based on the agency's misrepresentation of the proper procedure for judicial review, holding that E.A. was denied due process under the circumstances of this case.

In Mosley v. Texas Health & Human Services Commission, __ S.W.3d __ (Tex. 2019), the Supreme Court held that, under the Administrative Procedures Act, a party seeking judicial review of an administrative order must first move for rehearing before the administrative law judge unless another governing statute provides otherwise. This appeal presented the issues decided in Mosley. The Supreme Court (1) agreed with the court of appeals that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because E.A. did not seek rehearing of the order she challenged before the administrative law judge, but (2) held that the agency misrepresented the proper procedure for judicial review in a letter to E.A., thus denying E.A. due process.

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF TEXAS No. 17-0521 E.A., PETITIONER, v. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES, RESPONDENT ON PETITION FOR REVIEW FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD DISTRICT OF TEXAS PER CURIAM We recently held that, under the Administrative Procedures Act, a party seeking judicial review of an administrative order must first move for rehearing before the administrative law judge, unless another governing statute provides otherwise. Mosley v. Tex. Health & Hum. Servs. Comm’n, ___ S.W.3d ___, ___ (Tex. 2019). An agency’s affirmative misrepresentation of the proper procedure for judicial review, however, may violate a party’s right to due process. Id. at ___. This appeal presents the issues decided in Mosley. The court of appeals concluded in this case that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because E.A. did not move for rehearing before the administrative law judge, and it rejected E.A.’s due-process challenge based on the agency’s misrepresentation of the proper procedure for judicial review. ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. App.— Austin 2017). We agree that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because E.A. did not seek rehearing of the order she challenges before the administrative law judge. But because, as in Mosely, the agency misrepresented the proper procedure for judicial review in a letter to E.A., we hold that E.A. was denied due process. For the reasons expressed in Mosley, we grant E.A.’s petition for review and, without oral argument, reverse in part. See TEX. R. APP. P. 59.1. We hold that the government violated E.A.’s due-course-of-law rights under the Texas Constitution. See TEX. CONST. art. I, § 19. 1 Because “the remedy for a denial of due process is due process,” Univ. of Tex. Med. Sch. v. Than, 901 S.W.2d 926, 933 (Tex. 1995), we direct the Department of Family and Protective Services, or its designee, see TEX. HUM. RES. CODE § 48.405(a), to reinstate E.A.’s administrative case and afford her an opportunity to seek rehearing of the order she challenges before the administrative law judge. OPINION DELIVERED: October 25, 2019 1 “While the Texas Constitution is textually different in that it refers to ‘due course’ rather than ‘due process,’ we regard these terms as without meaningful distinction” and thus “have traditionally followed contemporary federal due process interpretations of procedural due process issues.” Univ. of Tex. Med. Sch. v. Than, 901 S.W.2d 926, 929 (Tex. 1995). 2
Primary Holding
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over an administrative order because E.A. did not move for rehearing before the administrative law judge and rejecting E.A.'s due process challenge based on the agency's misrepresentation of the proper procedure for judicial review, holding that E.A. was denied due process.

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