J. JASON TOLLESON
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND INSURANCE, ET AL.
Session Date: November 21, 2014
Appeal from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 131677II Carol L. McCoy, Chancellor
William T. Ramsey and Blind Akrawi, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, J. Jason Tolleson.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Joseph F. Walen, Acting Solicitor General; and Cristin Faith Hambridge, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Alarm Systems Contractors Board.
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D. Bennett and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE.
I. Factual and Procedural History
J. Jason Tolleson was registered with the Alarms Systems Contractors Board ("the Board") as an employee of Guardian Security Systems, Inc., an alarm systems contractor, in 2001; his registration expired in 2005 because it had not been renewed as required by Tenn. Code Ann. §62-32-317. When he realized that he was no longer registered, Mr. Tolleson submitted a new application, which was denied on October 4, 2013; he requested and was granted a hearing before the Board. At the hearing, the Board voted to deny the application.
Mr. Tolleson filed a petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of the decision of the Board to deny his application. The Board filed a Tenn. Rule Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion to dismiss the petition, contending that "[Tolleson could] not challenge the intrinsic correctness of the decision of an administrative board through a petition for writ of certiorari." Following a hearing on the motion, the court granted the motion and dismissed the petition stating:
[T]he Petition fails to allege facts which would support a determination that Petitioner is entitled to relief available under the common law writ. Petitioner's allegation that the Board's denial of his application is not supported by the evidence is an attack on the intrinsic correctness of the decision which is beyond the scope of review.
On appeal, Mr. Tolleson contends that the petition contained sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for relief.
Judicial review of a decision of an administrative body is by way of common law writ of certiorari. See Tenn. Code Ann. §27-8-101. The review "does not look to the intrinsic correctness of the administrative decision but to the procedure in which the decision was reached." Polite v. Metro. Dev. & Hous. Agency, 2008 WL 3982915, at *2 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 26, 2008) (citing Powell v. Parole Eligibility Review Bd., 879 S.W.2d 871, 873 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1994)). The action of the administrative body may be reversed or modified only upon a determination that the action was: (1) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions; (2) in excess of statutory authority; (3) the result of an unlawful procedure; (4) arbitrary or capricious; or (5) unsupported by material evidence. Demonbreun v. Metro. Bd. Of Zoning Appeals, 206 S.W.3d 42, 46 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2005) (citing Massey v. Shelby County Retirement Bd., 813 S.W.2d 462, 464 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1991)).
A Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion seeks to determine whether the pleadings state a claim upon which relief may be granted; the motion challenges the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Highwoods Properties, Inc. v. City of Memphis, 297 S.W.3d 695, 700 (Tenn. 2009). The resolution of a Rule 12.02(6) motion is determined by an examination of the pleadings alone, Leggett v. Duke Energy Corp., 308 S.W.3d 843, 851 (Tenn. 2010); the motion should be granted "only when it appears that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle the plaintiff to relief." Crews v. Buckman Labs. Int'l, Inc., 78 S.W.3d 852, 857 (Tenn. 2002). A defendant who files a motion to dismiss "'admits the truth of all of the relevant and material allegations contained in the complaint, but . . . asserts that the allegations fail to establish a cause of action.'" Brown v. Tenn. Title Loans, Inc., 328 S.W.3d 850, 854 (Tenn. 2010) (quoting Freeman Indus., LLC v. Eastman Chem. Co., 172 S.W.3d 512, 516 (Tenn. 2005)). In considering a motion to dismiss, courts "'must construe the complaint liberally, presuming all ...