Lewis v. Connecticut Gaming Policy Board

In Lewis v. Connecticut Gaming Policy Board, 224 Conn. 693, 620 A.2d 780 (1993), the plaintiff, a state employee, was terminated from his employment after a "'pre-disciplinary decision hearing.'" Id., at 695. The plaintiff then appealed to the Superior Court pursuant to 4-183 (a). Id., at 696. The defendant filed an answer to the complaint, alleging as a special defense that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff had not appealed from a "contested case." Id. After the trial court dismissed the administrative appeal, the plaintiff's subsequent appeal, which claimed that the trial court improperly dismissed the administrative appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, was heard by our Supreme Court. 224 Conn. at 694, 696-97. The Lewis court first set out the statutory framework for administrative appeals, which is applicable in the present case. It stated that "there is no absolute right of appeal to the courts from a decision of an administrative agency. . . . The UAPA grants the Superior Court jurisdiction over appeals of agency decisions only in certain limited and well delineated circumstances. . . . Judicial review of an administrative decision is governed by General Statutes 4-183 (a) of the UAPA, which provides that 'a person who has exhausted all administrative remedies . . . and who is aggrieved by a final decision may appeal to the superior court . . . .' A final decision is defined in 4-166 (3) (A) as 'the agency determination in a contested case . . . .' . . . . "A 'contested case' is defined in 4-166 (2) as 'a proceeding . . . in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are required by statute to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for hearing or in which a hearing is in fact held . . . .' . . . Not every matter or issue determined by an agency qualifies for contested case status. . . . We have determined that even in a case where a hearing is 'in fact held,' in order to constitute a contested case, a party to that hearing must have enjoyed a statutory right to have his 'legal rights, duties or privileges' determined by that agency holding the hearing. . . . In the instance where no party to a hearing enjoys such a right, the Superior Court is without jurisdiction over any appeal from that agency's determination." Lewis v. Gaming Policy Board, supra, 224 Conn. at 699-700.