Melton v. Department of Children and Families
The Uniform Administrative Procedure Act requires that parties file appeals from administrative decisions within 45 days of the date that the underlying decision is mailed to the parties. On Nov. 30, 2011, the Department of Children and Families placed the name of the plaintiff, who operates a daycare business, on a central registry, which was established pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §17a-101k. On or before Dec. 2, 2011, DCF's decision was mailed to the plaintiff's attorney via certified mail. DCF's decision was returned to DCF on Dec. 28, 2011, unclaimed. On Feb. 22, 2012, the plaintiff appealed the DCF's decision. DCF moved to dismiss and argued that the appeal was not filed timely, within 45 days of the date that the underlying decision was mailed, pursuant to C.G.S. §4-183(c). The court found that if DCF mailed the underlying decision on Dec. 2, 2012, the plaintiff was required to file her complaint on or before Jan. 17, 2012, because the 45th day was Jan. 16, Martin Luther King's Day and a state holiday. The plaintiff's attorney apparently claimed that good cause existed to issue an extension, because he did not receive the DCF's decision until he called the DCF on Jan. 10, in response to his client's question about whether DCF issued its decision. The court found that the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act did not provide the court discretion to toll the statutory deadline. "As the plaintiff failed to meet the deadlines of §4-183(c)," wrote the court, "the appeal is dismissed on the grounds of subject matter jurisdiction.