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Explanation: Why You Don't Need To Summon The Respondent During Your DOAH Proceeding

Background: Your case is in DOAH, and you've heard about summoning defendants
Problem: You are unsure about summoning the respondent
Solution: You read this material to help quell doubt

I. Textbook Definition: "Summons"

Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms [Fifth Edition] - Gifis, (© 2016) Barron's
"A mandate requiring the appearance of the defendant under penalty of having judgment entered against him for failure to appear. The object of the summons is to notify the defendant that he has been sued."

II. Legal Citations

(a) §48 Florida Statutes (2020) | Process and Service of Process
"§48.011 Process; how directed. - Summons, subpoenas, and other process in civil actions run throughout the state. All process except subpoenas shall be directed to all and singular the sheriffs of the state." (b) DOAH Case No. 18-0915 | 10/16/2018 | DOAH's Authority, Florida Rules of Civil Procedures
"There is nothing in chapter 120, Florida Statutes, or the Uniform Rules of Procedure that confers authority on an Administrative Law Judge to rehear a Final Order. The only Rules of Civil Procedure adopted by the Administration Commission are rules 1.280 through 1.400. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 28-106.206."

III. Quick Analysis

You do not need to summon the respondent to appear for an administrative hearing with DOAH.
TBD says this for the following reasons:
  1. The respondent in your case will already be notified.
    • The FCHR will notify your respondent when you file your Petition for Relief.
    • Also, by virtue of the investigative phase, your respondent will already be aware of a pending suit.
  2. DOAH does not have the authority to issue a summons.
  3. DOAH is not a "court of competent jurisdiction" (see §760.11(4) Florida Statutes).
    • Instead, DOAH is a "quasi-judicial" administrative agency (see 20 of this court document).
    • As an administrative agency, DOAH is part of Florida's Executive Branch of Government (click here for more).
      • This is noteworthy, because the executive branch does not seem to have any power to issue a summons.
  4. TBD has read over 25,000 DOAH documents, and has never seen the agency issue a summons.
  5. TBD has booked over 4,000 FCHR-DOAH cases into its database, and has never seen an FCHR respondent claim it was unaware of the DOAH proceeding.

IV. Additional Notes

V. Conclusion

In short, you do not need to summon the respondent in your DOAH proceeding. TBD is 99.9% sure of this.
Of course, this differs from how you must proceed in state or federal court.

So, read those two webpages to learn more.

Congratulations! You are now booked up on DOAH summonses!

Please get the justice you deserve.


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