The Colorado Supreme Court begins its fall 2019–spring 2020 session this week. The court will hear oral arguments in eight cases between Tuesday and Thursday, with issues ranging from open meetings disputes and questions of water law.
JOHN DOE V. COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
- Whether the Court of Appeals correctly held that an entire state agency, here the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, cannot be a “state public body” under the Colorado Open Meetings Law.
- Whether the Court of Appeals correctly held that the department’s referral of a physician to the Colorado Medical Board for possible investigation is not a “final agency action” subject to judicial review under the Colorado Administrative Procedure Act.
Court of Appeals Holding:
The Court of Appeals found that because the CDPHE is not a “state public body” under the open meetings law and the board did not have the authority to create a policy for the department to refer physicians to the board for disciplinary investigations relating to physicians’ certification of patients for medical marijuana, it was therefore not subject to the requirements of the open meetings law. The Court of Appeals also found the department’s referrals to the board of a group of doctors are not subject to review under Colorado’s Administrative Procedure Act because the referrals are not a final agency action. And because the policy was not a legislative rule, it was not required to follow rulemaking requirements. The court upheld the dismissal of the claims against the board, reversed the judgment against the department and remanded the case to Denver District Court for summary judgment in favor of the department.