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Administrative: Local Health Department-Authority to Enact Rules

Staff Report//August 18, 2023//

Administrative: Local Health Department-Authority to Enact Rules

Staff Report//August 18, 2023//

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Two counties and two county public health centers appealed the denial of their post-judgment motions to intervene as of right in the present case. Plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to invalidate any DHSS rule that purported to give local health department officers authority to independently enact rules and regulations applicable in a county, along with a ruling that DHSS must determine whether circumstances exist that would authorize only the DHSS director to take certain actions. The trial court granted summary judgment to plaintiffs, concluding that various DHSS regulations were unconstitutional and invalidated any DHHS or local health department orders closing a business based on the opinion or discretion of agency officials without standards or guidance. When the attorney general declined to appeal, the counties and public health centers unsuccessfully moved to intervene.

Although the public health centers’ motions failed due to the lack of a pleading setting forth the claim or defense for which intervention was sought, the counties adequately demonstrated an interest in the litigation based on the authority of their local health boards to issue orders and regulations. The counties’ motions to intervene were also timely because they came soon after the attorney general declined to appeal the trial court’s judgment.

Judgment is vacated and remanded.

Robinson v. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MLW No. 80392/Case No. SC99864 – 16 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Breckenridge, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Cole County, Green, J. (Dana Tucker Redwing, Clayton; Neal F. Perryman, Michael L. Jente, Jacqueline K. Graves and Benjamin M. Farley, St. Louis; Stephen G. Jeffery, Chesterfield; Bryan O. Covinsky, Kansas City; Maria A. Lanahan, St. Louis, for appellants) (Kimberly J. Mathis, St. Louis, for respondents)


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