Gladowski v. Dep’t of Family & Children Servs., 281 Ga. App. 299 (2006)

The undisputed record shows that in April 2004, Gladowski qualified for Medicaid assistance to pay for nursing home care, but the Department of Community Health delayed her benefits until September 2006 on the ground that Gladowski improperly transferred assets to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Gladowski appealed the decision to an administrative law judge (ALJ), who held a hearing and issued an “initial decision” affirming the Department’s action. After her motion for reconsideration was denied, the Department issued a “final administrative decision,” dated December 13, 2004, adopting the ALJ’s decision. That decision was mailed to Gladowski on December 14, 2004.

On January 18, 2005, Gladowski filed a petition for judicial review in the Superior Court of Fulton County. After a hearing, the superior court affirmed the final administrative decision on the ground that Gladowski had failed to timely file her request for judicial review. Gladowski now appeals. (Emphasis added)

Georgia’s courts have previously held that the Civil Practice Act does not apply to a superior court performing the role of a court of review in an appeal filed pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. For example, in Miller v. Ga. Real Estate Comm., this Court held that “judicial review provided by the Administrative Procedure Act … is not governed by the provisions of the Civil Practice Act. Therefore, the appellants may not utilize [OCGA § 9-11-6 (b)] to obtain, after the expiration of the specified time, an extension.” See also Ga. Public Svc. Comm. v. Southern Bell (“[t]he appellate process in these reviews is not a trial and the provisions of the Civil Practice Act relating to trial procedures are not applicable”); Hewes v. Cooler (“the Civil Practice Act has no application to judicial review of administrative agency decisions under [OCGA § 50-13-19]”). … Gladowski next argued that that OCGA § 50-13-23, which provides that certified mail is deemed “filed with any agency” as of the postmark date, renders her petition timely. However, pretermitting whether OCGA § 50-13-23 could ever apply to a petition filed with a superior court (not an agency), the express language of OCGA § 49-4-153 (c) specifies that OCGA § 50-13-23 does not apply in the present context.

When an appeal of an adverse decision by an administrative agency is filed beyond the time allowed by law the superior court has no jurisdiction to take any action other than to dismiss the case.” Miller, supra, 136 Ga. App. at 718 (1).

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