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Dennis Meier v. North Dakota Department of Human Services

July 12, 2012

DENNIS MEIER,
PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT
v.
NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES,
DEFENDANT AND APPELLEE



Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Cynthia M. Feland, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: VandeWalle, Chief Justice.

N.D. Supreme Court

Meier v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services,

2012 ND 134

This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. [Go to Documents]

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AFFIRMED.

Opinion of the Court by VandeWalle, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Dennis Meier appealed from a judgment dismissing his appeal from an administrative law judge's ("ALJ") affirmance of a decision by the Department of Human Services to terminate his employment. We affirm, concluding Meier did not properly perfect his appeal because he failed to serve the notice of appeal and specifications of error on Human Resource Management Services ("HRMS").

I

[¶2] After the Department terminated Meier from employment, he appealed the termination to HRMS. Following a hearing, the ALJ upheld the termination. Meier attempted to appeal the decision to district court. He served the notice of appeal and specifications of error on the executive director of the Department, the director of the Office of Administrative Hearings, and an assistant attorney general in the civil litigation division in accordance with N.D.C.C. § 28-32-42(4). The Department moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing the court lacked jurisdiction because Meier failed to also serve HRMS as required under N.D.C.C. § 54-44.3-12.2. The court agreed and dismissed Meier's appeal.

II

[¶3] Meier argues the district court erred in dismissing his appeal because service of the notice of appeal and specifications of error on HRMS is unnecessary to perfect an appeal.

[¶4] The right to appeal is governed solely by statute, Interest of K.J., 2010 ND 46, ¶ 14, 779 N.W.2d 635, and an appellant must meet the statutory requirements for perfecting an administrative appeal for a district court to obtain subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal. Geffre v. North Dakota Dep't of Health, 2011 ND 45, ¶ 9, 795 N.W.2d 681. We are mindful that an appeal from an administrative agency to the district court invokes that court's appellate jurisdiction, Lewis v. North Dakota Workers Comp. Bureau, 2000 ND 77, ¶ 8, 609 N.W.2d 445, and that appeals from an administrative agency involve issues of separation of powers of the three branches of government. See Power Fuels, Inc. v. Elkin, 283 N.W.2d 214, 220-21 (N.D. 1979); N.D. Const. art. XI, § 26. Here we ...


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