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Once you get into the heart of your Florida-based discrimination lawsuit you’ll encounter the procedural rules. So, it’ll behoove you to know what they are (and where to find them).

4.0 | Intro

Good News: You won’t need to use the rules of procedure until your FCHR investigation ends.

Better News: TBD has copied & re-formatted all pertinent rules on this website.

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o ie, you'll earn book points by reading/accessing these rules
• learn more about book points here

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Best News: The rules are written more clearly than the laws/regulations (well, in TBD’s opinion at least). So, you’ll probably find them easier to sift through.
• This [difference in clarity] slightly highlights an important legal pillar (which is at play with your Florida-based discrimination case): Separation of Powers. The rules of procedure are written by the judiciary; while the laws/statutes/regulations are not.
Laws/Statutes:Legislative Branch
Regulations:Executive Branch
Rules:Judicial Branch

4.1 | Kinds of Rules

Roughly speaking, there are two groups of rules that you’ll come across ((1) widespread rules; and (2) local rules). The difference between them is based on scope.
Group A (Widespread) Rules of Appellate Procedure
Rules of Civil Procedure
Rules of Evidence
Rules of Judicial Administration
Group B (Local) Local Rules of Court
DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure*
*These are actually statewide regulations, but they operate like local rules of court

4.2 | Scope

As mentioned earlier (see Item 4.1), the difference between the two groups of rules is scope (widespread vs local). Generally speaking, local rules only apply to the locale that created them. For instance, DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure only apply to DOAH; USFLMD’s Local Rules of Court only apply to USFLMD; and so on. Thus, the tribunal that you’re in won’t be bound by the local rules of another tribunal.

Nonetheless, each tribunal - at its own [requested] discretion – will consider another tribunal’s rule as “persuasive authority”. Which means that you can cite an outside rule and ask your judge to assess it for your case/filing.
For example: Jane Doe is litigating a case at USFLMD. That Court, however, doesn’t have a local rule on civil cover sheets. Yet, USFLSD does (ie, Rule 3.3). So, within her USFLMD motion, Ms. Doe cites USFLSD Local Rule 3.3. Therein, she points out that she’s proffering that outside rule as persuasive authority only.
The group of widespread rules, on the other hand, bind multiple tribunals of a shared territory. For instance, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure cover all of the judicial circuit courts of Florida; the Federal Rules of Appellate procedure cover all of the US Circuit Courts of Appeal; and so on.

Plus, as highlighted above, you can proffer one territory’s widespread rules as “persuasive authority” at a different territory’s tribunal.
For example: Jane Doe is litigating a case at USFLMD. The Federal Rules – which bind USFLMD – do not have a provision for “Choice of Forum”. Yet, the Florida Rules do (ie, Rule 1.061). So, within her USFLMD motion, Ms. Doe cites Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.061. Therein, she points out that she’s proffering that outside rule as persuasive authority only.
All in all, the scope of a set of rules dictates which tribunal you should cite them in.

Note: from tribunal to tribunal, the local rules are very similar. And although they predominately mimic the broader (ie, “widespread”) rules of procedure, they still manage to expound on those broader topics. Plus, the courts often use their local rules to formulate how you should handle a particular procedure.

4.3 | TBD’s Ranking of Rules

Here’s a ranking of the rules that you’ll encounter the most:
1. Rules of Civil Procedure

2. DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure

3. Local Rules of Court

4. Rules of Appellate Procedure

5. Rules of Judicial Administration

6. Rules of Evidence
Ranked first are the Rules of Civil Procedure, because they’ll definitely govern your civil rights proceeding (except for cases that end within the FCHR’s clutches). If you traverse to DOAH (or a state court of Florida), then you’ll need the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Alternatively, if you enter the federal system, then you’ll need the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Regardless of where you go, though, you’ll have to know some rules of civil procedure.

Next, you’ll probably also need to know DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure, because there’s an 86% chance that the FCHR will funnel you into DOAH (see Summary pageLikelihood” section). Therefore, those rules will govern your civil rights proceeding for many months. And although these are actually state regulations, they operate like rules of court. So, as your FCHR investigation approaches the finish line, begin to read these rules (good news: they’re relatively short; available here).

No matter which tribunal you enter, though, you’ll encounter a set of Local Rules. As mentioned earlier, DOAH’s local rules are its Uniform Rules of Procedure. Similarly, the state courts in Florida have their own local rules (which they sometimes give unnecessary names). Bottom line, you’ll need to know your court’s local rules (good news: TBD has copied/re-formatted them here).

Ranked fourth are the Rules of Appellate Procedure, because you’ll only need them if you file an appeal. Also, since appeals experience little activity (ie, few motions/notices/etc), you’ll only need a few of these rules. The most important ones deal with initiating an appeal (Rule 9.030, 9.110, 9.190). Along those lines, you might find the following how-to guide useful.

Speaking of lines, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are much farther down the line (due to the FCHR's administrative delays). So, by the time you approach that finish line you'll have acquired much knowledge. Knowledge that TBD has housed here for your convenience (note: you'll score points by reading them).

Ranked fifth are the Rules of Judicial Administration. Florida has them, but the federal system does not. The one that’ll pop up most often will be Rule 2.514 (Computation of Time). This is a very important rule; which you’ll use even if you’re in a DOAH proceeding.

The second most useful rule [from this set] is Rule 2.516 Fla. R. Jud. Admin.. However, if you're at DOAH then you won’t need this rule, because it deals with service of pleadings (a burden that you don’t have to carry in Florida’s administrative setting). As always, TBD has copied/re-formatted these rules here for your benefit (note: you'll score points by reading them).

The reason TBD has ranked the Rules of Evidence last is because it’ll take a long time (roughly 2 years) before you get a chance to use them. But for the FCHR's administrative delays, TBD would place these in the 4th spot. Nevertheless, Rule 201 will play a big role in your federal civil rights litigation; while Rules 401 through 405 will play large roles as well.

Important Note: At DOAH, the rules that deal with discovery will be paramount (Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.).

4.4 | Summons

The rules on summonses will be the first rules that you’ll want to read. Reason: effectuating a summons will be the first thing you do (besides drafting your civil complaint) → if-&-only-if the FCHR allows you to go to state court [at the conclusion of its investigation].1
Rule 1.080 Fla. R. Civ. P.
Rule 2.516 Fla. R. Jud. Admin.
Rule 4 Fed. R. Civ. P.
In laymen’s terms, the summons is an official way to tell your civil opponent that you’ve sued him/her/it. Here’s a textbook definition:
a mandate requiring the appearance of the defendant under penalty of having judgment entered against him or her for failure to appear. The object of the summons is to notify the defendant that he has been sued.
- Barron’s Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016
The summons process is rather arcane; and it’s even worse for pro se litigants. So, to make things easier, TBD has published this How-To Guide for Effectuating a Summons:
Federal Version(Effectuating a Federal Summons)
Florida Version(Effectuating a Florida Summons)
Of course, you don’t need to bother with summonses while at DOAH. Reason: your civil opponent will already be aware of the lawsuit (by virtue of the preceding FCHR investigation).

So, as your FCHR investigation nears its conclusion, begin reading about summonses (and use TBD’s synthesized how-to guides to draft one).

4.5 | Constitutionality

Pursuant to the democratic principles of the United States, none of the local rules (or the rules of procedure) are allowed to be unconstitutional. Thus, the essential requirements of law (which even the FCHR [purportedly] reviews) entail constitutional protections. Your Due Process rights (5th Amendment) and your Equal Protection rights (14th Amendment) live within that ambit.

So, if you get grazed/injured by an unconstitutional rule (of any variety), then you can challenge that rule. In fact, you can even initiate an appeal on its unconstitutionality.

Real-World Example:
TBD’s Founder has suffered injuries at the hands of an unconstitutional local rule. To be specific, USFLND Local Rule 5.4(A) places different terms & conditions on pro se litigants. TBD’s statistical analysis shows that pro se civil rights litigants are disproportionately black. And given the lack of a compelling government interest [for the disparity in treatment], the local rule violates the 14th Amendment (Equal Protections Clause). Thus, USFLND’s local rule is just a disguised method to discriminate against black people.

For that reason, TBD’s Founder exercised his 1st Amendment right; by petitioning the government for redress. The courts, however, did not respond by addressing the facts of the case. Rather, the courts responded by trying to punish TBD’s Founder; an ill that continues to this day.
So, keep in mind that seeking redress from unconstitutional rules may lead the government to commit more unconstitutional acts against you. Nevertheless, to help you guard against unconstitutional abuses, TBD has copied/re-formatted the US Constitution (and the FL Constitution) here for your benefit (note: you'll score points by reading them).

4.6 | TBD’s Recommendations

Before the end of your FCHR investigation, begin reading the following rules:
Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.
DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure
Rule 9.030 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 9.110 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 9.120 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 9.190 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 2.514 Fla. R. Jud. Admin.
Rule 201 Fed. R. Evid.
Before you file your PFR at DOAH (or your civil complaint in state court), have a full understanding of the following rules:
Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.
DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure
That's it. As you read through these rules you’ll be “getting booked up” on the knowledge/resources that you’ll need to get justice.

Thus, this growing knowledge of yours will be an asset to you as you navigate through the FCHR legal process. And you can further expand that knowledge by learning about the next phase (ie, Phase 5: The Investigation)...
TextBookDiscrimination.com® | © 2023. All Rights Reserved.
1 The legal mechanisms in Florida don’t require specific complaint forms for pro se civil rights litigants. However, the Federal courts within the State of Florida do.
Congratulations! You're now booked up on Phase 4 (The Rules) regarding the way the legal process operates within the State of Florida!

Keep this in mind while you litigate your civil rights case in the sunshine state. Also, keep in mind the FCHR's statutory ability to accept bribes.

Plus - at all times - keep the 7th Amendment of the US Constitution (your right to a trial-by-jury) in mind.

As always, please get the justice you deserve.


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