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FCHR 101 | PHASE 8: UNDERSTANDING THE DOAH PROCEEDING

Shortly after you file your Petition for Relief, your DOAH case will proceed.

8.0 | Intro

Good News: You will have an opportunity to conduct discovery, testify, and present evidence.

Better News: TBD has created many how-to guides, templates, and tools that you can use to navigate through your DOAH proceeding.

Features:
✔ Free
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✔ Uninvasive
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Best News: In this walkthrough, TBD will expound on the DOAH proceeding.

8.1 | The Laws that Govern DOAH Proceedings

§120.569(2) FS explains why the FCHR is transmitting your case to DOAH (paraphrasing added):1
“(a) ...petition or request for a hearing under this section shall be filed with the [FCHR]. If the [FCHR] requests an administrative law judge from [DOAH], it shall so notify [DOAH] by electronic means through [DOAH]’s website within 15 days after receipt of the petition or request. A request for a hearing shall be granted or denied within 15 days after receipt. On the request of [the FCHR], [DOAH] shall assign an administrative law judge with due regard to the expertise required for the particular matter. The [FCHR] shall take no further action with respect to a proceeding under s. 120.57(1)...”
In laymen’s terms, the FCHR sends your discrimination charge to DOAH.

From there, DOAH will conduct a quasi-judicial proceeding; as explained by §120.57(1)(b) FS:
“(b) All parties shall have an opportunity to respond, to present evidence and argument on all issues involved, to conduct cross-examination and submit rebuttal evidence, to submit proposed findings of facts and orders, to file exceptions to the presiding officer’s recommended order, and to be represented by counsel or other qualified representative. When appropriate, the general public may be given an opportunity to present oral or written communications. If the agency proposes to consider such material, then all parties shall be given an opportunity to cross-examine or challenge or rebut the material.”
§120.57(1)(k) FS outlines what DOAH will produce at the end of this proceeding:
“(k) The presiding officer shall complete and submit to the agency and all parties a recommended order...”
Finally, §120.57(1)(l) brings the whole transmitted proceeding full circle (paraphrasing added):
“(l) The [FCHR] may adopt the recommended order as the final order of the [FCHR]. The [FCHR] in its final order may reject or modify the conclusions of law over which it has substantive jurisdiction and interpretation of administrative rules over which it has substantive jurisdiction...”
All of these above-listed statutes fall under Florida’s Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”; §120 FS). Of course, the APA covers DOAH’s procedural jurisdiction. The FCRA (§760 FS) still covers the substantive jurisdiction of your charge. In laymen’s terms, the FCRA governs the subject matter (ie, the “particular matter” – see §120.569(2)(a) FS) of your case, while the APA [temporarily] governs the proceeding of your case.

These statutes bring up an important distinction between the two administrative agencies (which will control your DOAH case).

8.2 | DOAH, the FCHR, and Your Discrimination Case

DOAH and the FCHR are both children of Florida’s Department of Management Services (DMS) (see §760.04 FS; §120.65(1); and §20.22(2)(f) FS), and they rely on one another. Here’s a quick rundown of the two administrative agencies:
DOAHFCHR
Jurisdiction:StateState
Territory:FLFL
Laws:§120 FS§760 FS
Branch:ExecutiveExecutive
Duty:Hold HearingsInvestigate Discrimination
Regulations:Chapter 28-106 FAC60Y-1 through 60Y-25
As you can see, DOAH holds hearings on many topics; while the FCHR focuses on the topic of discrimination (along with whistleblower violations). The FCHR sends its cases to DOAH; who conducts quasi-judicial proceedings on those cases. In return for that work, the FCHR pays DOAH money.

Of course, DOAH has similar arrangements with many other state agencies. Yet the FCHR is one of its biggest financial providers (see DOAH Reports2). Plus – and unlike most of the other state agencies – the FCHR lives under the same roof as DOAH (ie, under DMS’ roof).

In laymen’s terms, DOAH is the FCHR’s hungry brother. To quench his hunger, the FCHR pays him money. And, in turn, he tells her a story about you. A story, importantly, that almost always reinforces her arbitrary/false inclinations (see Phase 6: Determination). A story, importantly, that is never evaluated/proofread by a jury of your peers. A story, additionally, that has – on at least one occasion – been based a judge’s perjury (as well as a judge’s destruction of evidence) [read | watch].

8.3 | The Rules & Regulations that Govern your DOAH Proceeding

As you probably remember from Phase 3 (Regulations), your discrimination case will be governed by numerous regulations. Once it enters DOAH, it’ll be governed by the following:
Chapter 28-106 FAC
Also – and as you probably remember from Phase 4 (Rules) – your discrimination case will be governed by various rules of procedure. At DOAH, it’ll be governed by the following:
Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.

8.4 | The Docket (Motions, Notices, Orders, Responses, and more)

Once you enter DOAH’s doors you will get access to your case docket. This is where all of the pertinent documents will reside.

One of the first documents that you’ll receive is the Initial Order (which comes from DOAH itself).3 This short document just serves to orient you to the proceeding. From there, you’ll file motions, notices, responses, subpoena/discovery requests, and more.

Some documents won’t require any action from you, while others will. So, stay cognizant of:
(a) the docket;

(b) the judge’s orders; and

(c) the governing rules/regulations/statutes.
To help you get the justice that you deserve, TBD has put together many how-to guides:
How-To Guides for Discovery
How-To Guides for Requesting Civil Indigence
How-To Guides for Requesting Issuance of a Subpoena
How-To Guides for Various Motions
How-To Guides for Various Responses
How-To Guide for Writing a Notice of Appeal
Plus, TBD has amassed some useful handbooks:
Official Handbooks on Civil Discovery
Official Handbooks for Pro Se Litigation

8.5 | TBD’s Recommendations

Meet your deadlines!
• Your DOAH proceeding will require you to respond/appear on time
o Typically, you’ll have to respond to motions within 7 days (see 28-106.204(1) FAC)

o Also, you’ll have to appear at your hearing
‣ If you fail to do so, then you will probably lose your case
› Note: Failure to Appear is a routine reason for case dismissal
Stay Vigilant!
DOAH Judges have a history of letting their biases impact civil rights litigants
o For instance: In 2019, Judge Edward Gary Early (a DOAH ALJ) committed perjury to impair a discrimination lawsuit (he also destroyed evidence). [read | watch]
‣ He did so, notably, in order to cover for the preceding judge’s improprieties.
• Dissuade these government officials (ie, your DOAH ALJ) from violating your constitutional rights
o 1st Amendment (Petition the Government)
o 7th Amendment (Trial by Jury)
o 14th Amendment (Due Process)
o 14th Amendment (Equal protection)
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
• Your DOAH case is governed by the State of Florida (ie, not the federal government of the United States)

• You are still in the executive branch of government
o DOAH is part of the executive branch (not the judicial!)

o The FCHR is also part of the executive branch
• You might still get access to the federal government
o If you have a dual-filed case, then you will be able to enter the federal court system
‣ You’ll accomplish this by Requesting a Substantial Weight Review; which will [almost automatically] give you your ticket to federal court.
How To Request a Substantial Weight Review
• You might still get access to the judicial branch (and a subsequent trial-by-jury)
o If you win your DOAH/FCHR case, then you will be able to enter the state court system (eg, the 4th Judicial Circuit Court [in-and-for] Duval County).

o If you have a dual-filed case, then you will be able to [legally] withstand whatever happens in the DOAH proceeding
‣ You’ll accomplish this by Requesting a Substantial Weight Review; which will [almost automatically] give you your ticket to the federal judiciary.
How To Request a Substantial Weight Review
➃ Have a strong understanding of the following rules:
Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.
DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure (ie, Chapter 28-106 FAC)
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.

8.6 | TBD’s Commentary

The DOAH proceeding will be the most action-packed leg of your journey. So, make sure to get booked up on all of the knowledge/resources that this website has (and others have) to offer.

A key part of your journey will be knowing how to navigate through the final stage of the DOAH proceeding (ie, the Recommended Order); and you can fortify that knowledge by learning about the next phase (ie, Phase 9: Recommended Order)...
TextBookDiscrimination.com® | © 2024. All Rights Reserved.
Footnotes
1 note: TBD has paraphrased these statutes in order to minimize ambiguity (ie, DOAH vs FCHR vs Agency). So, please feel free to consult the originating text (here).

2 review the "Analysis of Agency Request for Fiscal Year YYYY - YYYY" (eg, Page 10 of the 2020 Report).

3 here's a recent sample (Montero v. Comcast, DOAH 23-1324 (4/7/23)).
Congratulations! You're now booked up on Phase 8 (The DOAH Proceeding) 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.

Sincerely,



www.TextBookDiscrimination.com
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