Bolser Enterprises v. Arizona Registrar of Contractors – 7/25/2006

August 1, 2006

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That a Contractor May Appeal the Registrar of Contractors’ Disciplinary Notice Revoking the Contractor’s License Even Though the Contractor Had Not Appealed Certain Underlying Orders That Prompted the Loss of License.

On June 3 and June 4, 2004, the Registrar of Contractors (“ROC”) issued orders in two cases stating that the contractor, Bolser Enterprises, would lose its license unless it promptly corrected certain errors in a workmanlike manner. Rather than appeal these orders, Bolser attempted to complete the work. After determining that the work had not been completed in a workmanlike manner, the ROC notified the parties on January 27 by form letter of its decision to revoke Bolser’s license effective that day “in compliance with the [prior] Decision and Order[s].” Bolser promptly filed a complaint in Superior Court appealing the ROC’s disciplinary decision in both cases. The Superior Court dismissed the complaint finding that it was defective because Bolser had not appealed from the June 3 and June 4 orders. The Court of Appeals reversed, and held that the January 27 disciplinary notice was a “final administrative decision” subject to judicial review. The Court explained the notice reflects the determination that Bolser did not adequately perform the corrective work described in the June 3 and June 4 orders. The Court noted that although the Superior Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review the June 3 and June 4 orders (since they had not been timely appealed), the later determination that license revocation remained in order because Bolser had failed to adequately perform the corrective work could be reviewed. The Court rejected the homeowners’ argument that a hearing was required for the notice to constitute a final order, and further rejected the argument that the decision was not a final administrative decision because the ROC did not post it in the form of an “order.”

Judge Timmer authored the decision. Judges Lankford and Snow concurred.