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The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee, the Administrative Law Section, and the Environmental & Land Use Law Section

Advanced Hot Topics COURSE CLASSIFICATION: ADVANCED LEVEL

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The latest

LEGAL PUBLICATIONS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

FEATURED TITLES FEATURED TITLES MARCH 2018

NEW EDITION

Asset Protection in Florida FIFTH EDITION © 2017

Asset Protection in Florida covers all facets of asset preservation for Florida residents. The manual provides comprehensive analysis of the many steps available to protect assets from creditors’ claims, both pre- and post-mortem. Among the many topics covered are homestead, trusts (both domestic and offshore), business planning, planning for dissolution of marriage, protection of retirement and education accounts, and the ethical aspects of advising clients on asset protection issues. Bankruptcy issues and tax planning are prominently featured throughout the text. Highlights of the Fifth Edition include new discussion of: • Revocable trusts • LLC membership interests • Beneficiaries of annuities

$195

Hardbound, Pub. #22680, ISBN 9781522139553 eISBN 9781522139560

NEW EDITION

Florida Civil Practice Before Trial TWELFTH EDITION © 2017

Florida Civil Practice Before Trial walks you through the procedural steps necessary to prepare a case for trial. The popular reference includes recent significant changes made by case law, statutes, and rules amendments. Highlights of the Twelfth Edition include updated discussion of: • Delayed discovery and due diligence • Amount in controversy requirements • Default judgments Florida Civil Practice Before Trial is also the perfect complement to another Florida Bar title, Florida Civil Trial Practice.

$262

Hardbound, Pub. #22924, ISBN 9781522137146 eISBN 9781522137153

NEW EDITION

Practice Under Florida Probate Code NINTH EDITION © 2017 Written by skilled probate attorneys, Practice Under Florida Probate Code provides comprehensive analysis of all the steps you need to take to administer an estate in Florida. Forms, sample accountings, and charts for basic probate practice enhance the book’s practical utility. Includes discussion of new revised statutory provisions and rules related to: • • • •

Florida Electronic Wills Act • Duty of the personal representative to resign Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act • Extension of deadline for objections to Elective share laws validity of will, venue, or jurisdiction Apportionment of estate taxes

New case law discussions relate to: • • • • •

Ethical resolution when client designates drafting attorney as personal representative Disgorgement and surcharge against attorneys and personal representatives How to effect spouse’s valid waiver of homestead rights Dependent relative revocation Formal and informal notice and in personam jurisdiction

$302

Hardbound, Pub. #22811, ISBN 9781522139287 eISBN 9781522139294

Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases with 2017 Supplement EIGHTH EDITION © 2015 This title is an authoritative collection of instructions for virtually every criminal offense. It features the latest significant amendments and new instructions including: • • • • • • •

2.1(d) 8.23 8.25 11.20 11.21 15.5 29.15(a)

Insanity—Psychotropic Medication Extortion Violation of a Condition of Pretrial Release from a Domestic Violence Charge Transmission of Child Pornography by Electronic Device or Equipment Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors by Electronic Device or Equipment Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property Unlawful Protests

The 2017 update includes the changes and additions to the Instructions published through April 27, 2017.

$128

Loose-leaf, supplemented annually, Pub. #22856, ISBN 9781632822710 eISBN 9781632822727

Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases with 2017 Supplement THIRD EDITION © 2015 The 2017 Supplement offers current revisions to the massive update of the instructions. The handy loose-leaf includes: • • • •

The reorganization and renumbering of the substantive areas into separate sections that incorporate pertinent standard instructions tailored to that specific area of the law Implementation of “plain English” terminology to improve juror understanding Reordering of the timing and sequencing of instructions during the trial process to improve communication to the jurors Revision of the Notes on Use to improve currency, eliminate outdated references, clarify the points being made, and point out areas where the committee has not taken a position

The 2017 Supplement updates the instructions, incorporating the revisions and corrections that have been made through 2017, including the addition of a new section 417, Unlawful Discrimination.

$167

Loose-leaf, supplemented annually, Pub. #22838, ISBN 9781632843852 eISBN 9781632843869

For a full description of these titles or to order, go to www.lexisnexis.com/flabar or call 800.533.1637.

THE FLORIDA BAR LEGAL PUBLICATIONS

ADMIRALTY LAW

PUB. #

ISBN

eISBN

PRICE

Florida Maritime Law and Practice, 5th Ed. (2017)

22897

9781522132356

9781522132363

$170

BUSINESS LAW

PUB. #

Business Litigation in Florida, 9th Ed. (2017)

22775

9781522123538

9781522123545

$262

Creditors’ and Debtors’ Practice in Florida, 6th Ed. (2017)

22802

9781522134985

9781522134992

$195

Florida Corporate Practice, 8th Ed. (2015) with 2017 Supp.

22799

9781632840370

9781632840387

$262

Florida Small Business Practice, 9th Ed. (2016)

22826

9781632845870

9781632845887

$302

ESTATE PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION

PUB. #

Administration of Trusts in Florida, 9th Ed. (2017)

22748

9781522117414

9781522117421

$235

NEWEDITION! EDITION Asset Protection in Florida, 5th Ed. (2017) NEW

22680

9781522139553

9781522139560

$195

Basic Estate Planning in Florida, 8th Ed. (2014)

22894

9781632815767

9781632815774

$195

The Florida Bar Probate System, 4th Ed. (2010) with 2012 Supp.

22871

9780327036302

n/a

$504

Florida Guardianship Practice, 9th Ed. (2016)

22829

9781522117841

9781522117858

$235

Kane’s Florida Will and Trust Forms Manual & Automated Forms Version Combo

22877

9781422454626

n/a

$1,069

Kane’s Florida Will and Trust Manual, 4th Ed. with Deskbook, 2016 Ed.

22877

9780820587547

9780327183099

$749

Kane’s Florida Will and Trust Deskbook, 2017 Ed.

22877

9781522145837

n/a

$266

22877

9781522149767

n/a

$767

Litigation Under Florida Probate Code, 10th Ed. (2015) 

22778

9781632826169

9781632826176

$195

Practice Under Florida Probate Code, 9th Ed. (2017)

22811

9781522139287

9781522139294

$302

NEW EDITION

Kane’s Florida Will and Trust Forms Manual Automated Forms CD-ROM, 2017 Ed.

NEW EDITION

NEW EDITION

FAMILY LAW (see also TRIAL PRACTICE)

PUB. #

Adoption, Paternity, and Other Florida Family Practice, 12th Ed. (2017)

22868

9781522136491

9781522136507

$195

Drafting Marriage Contracts in Florida, 11th Ed. (2016)

22823

9781522139560

9781522113584

$195

Florida Dissolution of Marriage, 12th Ed. (2015)

22865

9781632816849

9781632816856

$302

Florida Family Law Case Summaries, 8th Ed. (2012) with 2017 Supp.

23170

9781522145257

9781522145264

$195

Florida Juvenile Law and Practice, 14th Ed. (2016)

22808

9781632845818

9781632845825

$181

Florida Proceedings After Dissolution of Marriage, 13th Ed. (2017)

22744

9781522139959

9781522139966

$195

JURY INSTRUCTIONS

PUB. #

Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, 3rd Ed. (2015) with 2017 Supp.

22838

9781632843852

9781632843869

$167

Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, 8th Ed. (2015) with 2017 Supp.

22856

9781632822710

9781632822727

$128

Florida Standard Jury Instructions: Contract and Business Cases, 2nd Ed. (2015) with 2016 Supp.

28284

9781632843876

9781632843883

$110

REAL PROPERTY LAW

PUB. #

Florida Practitioner’s Guide™: Mortgage Foreclosure and Alternatives, 9th Ed. (2016)

22957

9781522112204

9781522112211

$121

Florida Condominium and Community Association Law, 3rd Ed. (2015)

22805

9780769899855

9781632845429

$330

Florida Construction Law and Practice, 8th Ed. (2016)

22820

9781632836410

9781632836427

$235

Florida Eminent Domain Practice and Procedure, 10th Ed. (2017)

22900

9781522127420

9781522127437

$249

Florida Real Property Complex Transactions, 8th Ed. (2016)

22915

9781522112075

9781522112082

$316

Florida Real Property Litigation, 8th Ed. (2016)

22754

9781632846594

9781632846600

$262

Florida Real Property Sales Transactions, 8th Ed. (2015)

22918

9781632826190

9781632826206

$235

Continued on next page

REAL PROPERTY LAW (continued)

PUB. #

ISBN

eISBN

PRICE

Foreclosures in Florida, 2nd Ed. (2008) with 2016 Supp.

22994

9781422453292

9780327173595

$137

Florida Real Property Title Examination and Insurance, 8th Ed. (2016)

22874

9781522121138

9781522121145

$235

Florida Criminal, Traffic Court, Appellate Rules of Procedure, and Rules of Judicial Administration, 2018 Ed.

22835

9781522150305

9781522150312

$81

Florida Family Law (Rules and Statutes), and Rules of Judicial Administration, 2018 Ed.

22751

9781522130697

9781522148487

$128

Florida Probate Rules and Rules of Judicial Administration, 2017 Ed.

22736

9781522127888

9781522127895

$67

Florida Civil, Judicial, Small Claims, and Appellate Rules with Florida Evidence Code, 2017 Ed.

22728

9781522127901

9781522127918

$81

Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure and Rules of Judicial Administration, 2017 Ed.

22763

9781522127925

9781522127932

$67

TRIAL PRACTICE

PUB. #

Evidence in Florida, 10th Ed. (2014)

22832

9781632816245

9781632816252

$334

Florida Practitioner’s Guide™: Civil Trial Preparation, 8th Ed. (2017)

22830

9781522127826

9781522127833

$208

Florida Administrative Practice, 11th Ed. (2017)

22781

9781630437213

9781522128786

$235

Florida Appellate Practice, 10th Ed. (2017)

22817

9781522123552

9781522123569

$222

Florida Automobile Insurance Law, 9th Ed. (2014)

22784

9781630439941

9781630439958

$195

22924

9781522137146

9781522137153

$262

Florida Civil Trial Practice, 11th Ed. (2017)

22787

9781522132332

9781522132349

$195

LexisNexis® Practice Guide: Florida e-Discovery and Evidence (2011)

01626

9781422478592

9781579118617

$249

PRIMARY LAW

PUB. #

LexisNexis® Florida Annotated Statutes, The Florida Bar Edition (2011) Includes Updates!

41070

9781422469705

n/a

$1,933

RULES OF PROCEDURE

Florida Civil Practice Before Trial, 12th Ed. (2017)

NEW EDITION

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Make optimal use of your research time with LexisNexis publications for The Florida Bar in eBook format. Access our extensive list of titles from leading attorneys and authors— on your schedule and on the mobile device of your choice. Or, read your eBook in your web browser* on any mobile device without needing eReader software. For the latest listing of available titles, look for the eISBN designation listed in this brochure or go to www.lexisnexis.com/flaebooks.

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Common Questions About CLER 1. What is CLER? CLER, or Continuing Legal Education Requirement, was adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1988 and requires all members of The Florida Bar to continue their legal education. 2. What is the requirement? Over a 3 year period, each member must complete 33 hours, 5 of which are in the area of ethics, professionalism, substance abuse, or mental illness awareness, and 3 hours in technology. 3. Where may I find information on CLER? Rule 6-10 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar sets out the requirement. All the rules may be found at www.floridabar.org/rules. 4. Who administers the CLER program? Day-to-day administration is the responsibility of the Legal Specialization and Education Department of The Florida Bar. The program is directly supervised by the Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE) and all policy decisions must ultimately be approved by the Board of Governors. 5. How often and by when do I need to report compliance? Members are required to report CLE hours earned every three years. Each member is assigned a three year reporting cycle. You may find your reporting date by logging in to your member portal at member.floridabar.org. 6. Will I receive notice advising me that my reporting period is upcoming? Four months prior to the end of your reporting cycle, you will receive a CLER Reporting Affidavit, if you still lack hours. 7. What happens if I am late or do not complete the required hours? You run the risk of being deemed a delinquent member which prohibits you from engaging in the practice of Florida law. 8. Will I receive any other information about my reporting cycle? Yes, you will receive reminders prior to the end of your reporting cycle, if you have not yet completed your hours. 9. Are there any exemptions from CLER? Rule 6-10.3(c) lists all valid exemptions. They are: 1) Active military service 2) Undue hardship (upon approval by the BLSE) 3) Nonresident membership (see rule for details) 4) Full-time federal judiciary 5) Justices of the Supreme Court of Florida and judges of district, circuit and county courts 6) Inactive members of The Florida Bar

10. Other than attending approved CLE courses, how may I earn credit hours? Credit may be earned by: 1) Lecturing at an approved CLE program 2) Serving as a workshop leader or panel member 3) Writing and publishing in a professional publication or journal 4) Teaching (graduate law or law school courses) 5) University attendance (graduate law or law school courses) 11. How do I submit various activities for credit evaluation? Applications for credit may be found on our website, www.floridabar.org. 12. How are attendance hours posted on my CLER record? You must post your credits online by logging in to your member portal at member.floridabar.org. 13. How long does it take for hours to be posted to my CLER record? When you post your CLE credit online, your record will be automatically updated and you will be able to see your current CLE hours and reporting period. 14. How may I find information on programs sponsored by The Florida Bar? You may wish to visit our website, www.floridabar.org/cle, or refer to The Florida Bar News. You may also call CLE Registrations at 850/561-5831. 15. If I accumulate more than 30 hours, may I use the excess for my next reporting cycle? Excess hours may not be carried forward. The standing policies of the BLSE, as approved by the Supreme Court of Florida specifically state in 6.03(b): ... CLER credit may not be counted for more than one reporting period and may not be carried forward to subsequent reporting periods. 16. Will out-of-state CLE hours count toward CLER? Courses approved by other state bars are generally acceptable for use toward satisfying CLER. 17. If I have questions, whom do I call? You may call the Legal Specialization and Education Department of The Florida Bar at 850/5615842. While online checking your CLER, don’t forget to check your Basic Skills Course Requirement status.

Copyright 2018 The Florida Bar

All Rights Reserved

PREFACE The course materials in this booklet were prepared for use by the registrants attending our Continuing Legal Education course during the lectures and later in their offices. The Florida Bar is indebted to the members of the Steering Committee, the lecturers and authors for their donations of time and talent, but does not have an official view of their work products. CLER CREDIT (Maximum 7.0 hours) General ............................................. 7.0 hours

Ethics .............................................. 1.0 hours

CERTIFICATION CREDIT (Maximum 7.0 hours) State & Federal Gov’t & Administrative Practice ............................................................... 7.0 hours Seminar credit may be applied to satisfy both CLER and Board Certification requirements in the amounts specified above, not to exceed the maximum credit. Refer to Chapter 6, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, see the CLE link at www.floridabar.org for more information about the CLER and Certification Requirements. Prior to your CLER reporting date you will be sent a Reporting Affidavit (must be returned by your CLER reporting date). You are encouraged to maintain records of your CLE hours. CLE CREDIT IS NOT AWARDED FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE COURSE BOOK ONLY. CLE COMMITTEE MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the Continuing Legal Education Committee is to assist the members of The Florida Bar in their continuing legal education and to facilitate the production and delivery of quality CLE programs and publications for the benefit of Bar members in coordination with the Sections, Committees and Staff of The Florida Bar and others who participate in the CLE process. COURSE CLASSIFICATION The Steering Committee for this course has determined its content to be ADVANCED.

i

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW SECTION Robert Hosay — Chair Garnett Chisenhall — Chair-elect ENVIRONMENTAL & LAND USE LAW SECTION Janet Elizabeth Bowman — Chair David James Bass — Chair-elect FACULTY & STEERING COMMITTEE Courtney Brewer, Tallahassee Jacob Cremer, Tampa Ralph A. DeMeo, Tallahassee Jessica Icerman, Tallahassee Andrew Manko, Tallahassee Jon Harris Maurer, Tallahassee Ronald Meyer, Tallahassee Gregg Morton, Tallahassee Brent Spain, Orlando Lyyli Van Whittle, Tallahassee

CLE COMMITTEE Jenifer S. McCaffrey Lehner, Tampa — Chair Terry L. Hill — Director, Programs Division

For a complete list of Member Services visit our web site at www.floridabar.org.

ii

LECTURE PROGRAM 8:30 a.m. - 8:40 a.m.

Introduction Jon Harris Maurer - Panza, Maurer & Maynard, Tallahassee

8:40 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Competent Substantial Evidence Before Local Government: Heated Discussion Jacob Cremer - Stearns Weaver, Tampa Jessica Icerman - Asst. County Atty, Tallahassee

9:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.

Appeals to the First DCA: The Temperature Rises Andrew Manko - The Mills Firm, Tallahassee Courtney Brewer - The Mills Firm, Tallahassee

10:20 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Break

10:35 a.m. - 11:25 a.m.

Filing Special Exceptions to Recommended Orders: Statutory Authority vs. Agency Discretion Boiling Points Gregg Morton – PERC, Tallahassee Lyyli Van Whittle – PERC, Tallahassee

11:25 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Licensing Proceedings Before the DBPR: Professional Feel the Heat Marcy LaHart - Law Office of Marcy LaHart, Gainesville

12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Lunch (included in registration)

1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Hot Topics in Florida Public Records Law Ralph A. DeMeo - Baker Donelson, Tallahassee

2:15 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Home Rule on the Hot Seat Brent Spain – Theriaque & Spain, Orlando

3:10 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.

Break

3:20 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Governmental Ethics Update: The Heat is On Ronald Meyer - Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A., Tallahassee

iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS COMPETENT SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE BEFORE LOCAL GOVERNMENT: HEATED DISCUSSION Jacob Cremer - Stearns Weaver, Tampa Jessica Icerman - Asst. County Atty, Tallahassee No Materials APPEALS TO THE FIRST DCA: THE TEMPERATURE RISES Andrew Manko - The Mills Firm, Tallahassee Courtney Brewer - The Mills Firm, Tallahassee I.

Appeals to the First DCA, The Temperatures Rises - Overview ...........................................2.1

FILING SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS TO RECOMMENDED ORDERS: STATUTORY AUTHORITY VS. AGENCY DISCRETION BOILING POINTS Gregg Morton – PERC, Tallahassee Lyyli Van Whittle – PERC, Tallahassee I. II.

What to Except When You’re Excepting: Practice Pointers for Filing Effective Exceptions to Recommended Orders .....................................................................................3.1 Filing Effective Exceptions to Recommended Orders – Overview .......................................3.6

LICENSING PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE DBPR: PROFESSIONAL FEEL THE HEAT Marcy LaHart - Law Office of Marcy LaHart, Gainesville No Materials HOT TOPICS IN FLORIDA PUBLIC RECORDS LAW Ralph A. DeMeo - Baker Donelson, Tallahassee No Materials HOME RULE ON THE HOT SEAT Brent Spain – Theriaque & Spain, Orlando No Materials GOVERNMENTAL ETHICS UPDATE: THE HEAT IS ON Ronald Meyer - Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A., Tallahassee I. II. III.

Constitutional Underpinning ................................................................................................... 7.1 The Florida Ethics Code .......................................................................................................... 7.1 Financial Disclosure ................................................................................................................ 7.1

iv

IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII.

Gifts .......................................................................................................................................... 7.2 School Board Member Gifts .................................................................................................... 7.2 Gifts .......................................................................................................................................... 7.2 Gift Reporting .......................................................................................................................... 7.3 Conflict of Interest ................................................................................................................... 7.3 Misuse of Position ................................................................................................................... 7.3 However, in 2016, Changes Were Made to the Criminal Laws .............................................. 7.4 Many Criminal Law Apply ...................................................................................................... 7.4 Pension Cab be at Risk ............................................................................................................ 7.4 A Federal Case for Ethics Violations ...................................................................................... 7.4 Investigation of Complaints ..................................................................................................... 7.5 Advisory Opinions ................................................................................................................... 7.5 Violations of Law .................................................................................................................... 7.5 Governmental Ethics Update: The Heat Is On – Overview .................................................... 7.6

v

AUTHORS/LECTURERS COURTNEY BREWER is a shareholder at The Mills Firm, a Tallahassee law firm that specializes in appellate litigation in state and federal courts. She is board certified by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. Prior to joining The Mills Firm, she served as a Deputy Solicitor General in the Florida Office of the Attorney General for four and a half years. There she represented the state of Florida in civil appeals, including cases involving state constitutional law and statutory interpretation. In the spring of 2010 she served as a Supreme Court Fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General. Prior to serving as a Deputy SG, she clerked for Justice Charles Wells at the Florida Supreme Court from 2004-2007. She received her B.A. from the University of Florida and her J.D. from Duke University. RALPH A. DeMEO is a Shareholder in the Tallahassee office of the national firm Baker Donelson, with a concentrated practice on environmental, land use, and administrative law. His experience includes particularly CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, FIFRA, OHSA, CWA, toxic torts, brownfields, construction defects, transportation and aviation, energy, local government, agriculture, pesticides, and animal law, with emphasis in civil and administrative litigation. He represents industries, businesses, landowners, corporate and individual clients, as well as local governments, throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. He also represents clients in state and federal courts and before all agencies. Ralph is past Chair of The Florida Bar Animal Law Section, Environmental and Land Use Law Section, and The Florida Bar Journal and News Editorial Board, and a past member of the Administrative Law Section Executive Council. He is a frequent author and lecturer on the above matters. JESSICA ICERMAN is an Assistant County Attorney with Leon County. She primarily represents the growth management department, planning department and public works department. Prior to working with Leon County, Ms. Icerman practiced insurance defense for a private firm. Ms. Icerman received her Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University, with a focus on land use and environmental law, and a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Florida.

MARCY LaHART graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1992 with certificates in Natural Resource Law and Ocean and Coastal Law. She began her legal career as a lawyer for the South Florida Water Management, and in 2001 opened a solo practice representing environmental groups and citizens in issues related to protection of wetlands and water before a variety of administrative tribunals. Ms. LaHart was twice named public interest advocate of the year by The Florida Bar's Environmental and Land Use Law Section Public Interest Committee and has been named Broward County's disability advocate of the year for her advocacy for equal access to housing and places of public accommodation on behalf of people with disabilities that rely upon the support of assistance animals. Ms. LaHart's practice is now headquartered in Micanopy, from where she represents pet owners and non-profit organizations in a wide variety of civil and administrative litigation all over Florida, including disputes over pet custody, professional negligence and other torts, and defending against "dangerous dog" designations. ANDREW MANKO is a shareholder at The Mills Firm, a boutique law firm specializing in appellate litigation. Andrew is board certified in appellate practice by The Florida Bar and focuses his practice almost exclusively on appellate litigation and trial support. Andrew graduated from Florida State University in 2000 with a degree in Communication and got his law degree from Emory University in 2004. He began his legal career in New York City at King & Spalding, after which he moved back to Florida to join the Office of General Counsel at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Thereafter, Andrew was a law clerk to Justice vi

Barbara J. Pariente on the Florida Supreme Court from 2006-2008 and then spent three years in the appellate and trial support practice group at Carlton Fields, P.A. Andrew joined The Mills Firm in 2011 as an associate and became a shareholder in 2013. Beyond his practice, Andrew spends significant time participating in the state and local bar. He served as one of two elected Second Circuit representatives on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors from 2013-2016, currently serves as an appointed member on the YLD BOG and is a Past President of the Young Lawyers Section of the Tallahassee Bar Association. Andrew is also a supporter of the Leon County Teen Court program and has served as a volunteer judge since 2009. JON HARRIS MAURER focuses on administrative law, litigation, compliance, and legislative affairs. A South Florida native turned long-time Tallahassee resident, Jon Harris Maurer represents clients in the seat of Florida’s state agencies and in the halls of its Capitol. Jon Harris has guided clients through regulatory processes, from permitting and licensure through day-to-day compliance matters and, when necessary, litigation. He has managed discovery for complex litigation in multi-billion dollar matters and has appeared before state and federal courts, county government, and the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. In addition, he maintains an elections law practice where he assists clients in campaign law compliance, securing ballot access, and responding to Federal Elections Commission matters. Prior to joining Panza Maurer & Maynard, Jon Harris practiced with a boutique environmental and land use law firm where his clients ranged from individuals to Fortune 200 companies, primarily within the energy and natural resource sectors. RONALD G. MEYER is the founding partner of Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A. A significant part of this practice is devoted to representing candidates, political organizations and elected officials before the Florida Commission on Ethics, the Florida Elections Commission and the Federal Election Commission. He offers comprehensive assistance in forming and operating organizations involved in the political process. He conducts regular training on issues relating to ethical obligations of public officers and employees, campaign finance and elections. Ron is admitted to practice by the Florida Supreme Court in all state courts with Florida and is a member of the Bars of the Northern, Middle and Southern United States District Courts in Florida and the Southern District of Alabama, the Fifth and Eleventh United States Circuit Courts of Appeal and the United State Supreme Court. He also is admitted to practice by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. GREGG RILEY MORTON is a hearing officer and deputy general counsel at the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). In his role, he presides over labor and employment cases and frequently lectures on matters relating to PERC. Prior to working for PERC, Mr. Morton was a staff attorney for Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead at the Florida Supreme Court and later served as chief counsel for the Division of Finance at the Office of Financial Regulation, where he supervised a team of attorneys. He has participated in numerous administrative proceedings and is a co-author of the “Administrative Adjudication” Chapter in Florida Administrative Practice (11th ed., The Florida Bar 2017). Mr. Morton is a member of the Executive Council of the Labor & Employment Law Section of The Florida Bar and is also a member of the Government, Appellate, and Administrative Law Sections of The Florida Bar. He is the 2017-2018 chair of The Florida Bar’s new Animal Law Section. Mr. Morton received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Ohio University and graduated with honors from the University of Florida, College of Law, with his J.D. in 2000.

vii

LYYLI VAN WHITTLE is a hearing officer at the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) and, in that position, presides over labor and employment cases. Prior to working for PERC, Ms. Van Whittle has an extensive history working for numerous judges and Justices. Ms. Van Whittle was a law clerk to United States District Court Judge W. Louis Sands. In addition, at the Florida Supreme Court, she was a staff attorney for Justice Leander J. Shaw, a senior staff attorney for Justice Charles T. Wells, and a career staff attorney for Justice Barbara J. Pariente. Ms. Van Whittle enjoys being an active member of William H. Stafford American Inn of Court and a member of the Administrative Law and the Labor and Employment Law Sections of The Florida Bar. Ms. Van Whittle received her B.S. degree from the University of Florida College of Business and graduated with high honors from Florida State University College of Law with her J.D. in 1998.

viii

     

COMPETENT SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE BEFORE LOCAL GOVERNMENT: HEATED DISCUSSION

No Materials By

Jacob Cremer – Stearns Weaver, Tampa Jessica Icerman – Asst. County Atty, Tallahassee

APPEALS TO THE FIRST DCA: THE TEMPERATURE RISES

By

Andrew Manko – The Mills Firm, Tallahassee Courtney Brewer – The Mills Firm, Tallahassee

APPEALS TO THE FIRST DCA

THE TEMPERATURE RISES

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE • Jurisdiction spans 32 counties in panhandle • Workers’ Compensation Division • 15 Judges - B. Thomas is Chief Judge • Make no assumptions – Varied backgrounds, but few with administrative experience • B. Thomas – DEP for three years • Wolf – Local Gov’t Law (City, League) • Wetherell – ALJ; Environmental Law • K. Thomas – WC lawyer • Ray – Chair Public Employees Relations

STATISTICS HISTORY OF FILINGS BY CATEGORY 4000 3500 3000

Criminal

2500 2000 1500

Civil

1000 500 0

Admin WC

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

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STATISTICS 2017 FILINGS BY CATEGORY Criminal 58% (3,190) Workers’ Comp 4% (206) Administrative 11% (616)

Civil 27% (1,454)

5,466 Cases

STATISTICS 2017 WC FILINGS BY PARTY By Claimant 67% Other 2%

By Employer 31%

206 Cases

STATISTICS 2017 PRO SE CASES 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

71%

74%

68%

84%

76%

60%

9% All Cases Notices of Appeal

Civil

Criminal

Admin

Workers' Comp

Orig Pet

3,889 Pro Se Cases

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2017 DISPOSITIONS ALL NOTICES OF APPEAL Total Dispositions Reversed 9%

Affirmed 56%

Admin Disposed 35%

4,286 Dispositions

2017 DISPOSITIONS ALL NOTICES OF APPEAL Merits Disposition

Reversed 13% (Affirmed By Opinion) 7%

(Affirmed PCA) 80%

Affirmed 87%

2,784 Dispositions

2017 DISPOSITION OF APPEAL CASES Type of Case

Total Appeals Disposed

By Opinion (Merits)

Written Opinions

Criminal

1,702 (40%)

1,383 (81%)

259 (19%)

Post Conviction

656 (15%)

594 (91%)

60 (10%)

Civil

715 (17%)

403 (56%)

154 (38%)

Juvenile

182 (4%)

98 (54%)

18 (18%)

Family

200 (5%)

122 (61%)

66 (51%)

Probate

20 (0.5%)

10 (50%)

4 (40%)

Administrative

624 (15%)

164 (26%)

97 (59%)

Workers’ Comp

187 (4%)

185 (99%)

38 (21%)

TOTAL

4,286 (100%)

2,959 (69%)

696 (24%)

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3

AVERAGE PROCESSING – 2014-2017 ALL PETITIONS 2014 2015 2016 2017 ALL APPEALS 2014 2015 2016 2017 ALL CASES 2014 2015 2016 2017

104 Days 106 Days 135 Days 129 Days 285 Days 265 Days 296 Days 296 Days 230 Days 233 Days 243 Days 265 Days 50

100

150

200

250

300

350

FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL Average Processing Days for Appeals 2014 – 2017 All Appeals 0 2014 0 2015 0 2016 0 2017 0 Workers' Comp… 2014 0 2015 0 2016 0 2017 0

175 175 176 170

67 42 284 Days 64 26 265 Days 42 296 Days 78 51 296 Days 76

163 169 160 156

57 16 236 Days 59 14 243 Days 63 71 294 Days 51 278 Days 71

0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 350 375 400 425

Filing Date

Perfected

Conference/OA

Dispositon

CRASH COURSE – APPELLATE DEADLINES Notices of Appeal • Final Orders - due w/in 30 days of rendition of final order for most appeals • Final agency action – (9.190b) • Criminal/delinquency cases – 30 days for Def; 15 days for State (9.140b3 & c3) • WC – 30 days after recommended order (9.180b3). • Nonfinal Orders – due w/in 30 days of rendition of order (9.130) • Not for nonfinal agency action/quasi-judicial decisions – cert. petition w/in 30 days (9.190b) • Unless judicial review by appeal is provided by statute Record on Appeal – Generally due w/in 50 days of NOA (directions?); no ROA in nonfinal civil appeals, and appeals of nonfinal agency action or quasi-judicial action (9.190(3), (4)) Briefs • Final civil (final agency action) - 70 days after NOA (9.110f) • Nonfinal appeals - 15 days after NOA (9.130e) • Nonfinal agency action; quasi-judicial action – cert. petition due 30 days after rendition of order • Final criminal appeals - 30 days after later of ROA transmitted or atty appointed (9.140g) • Dependency/TPR - 20 days after ROA is transmitted or index is served (9.146g3) • WC – 30 days after clerk certifies ROA in final appeal; 15 days after NOA in nonfinal (9.180h) Fee Motions – generally by deadline for reply brief

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4

CRASH COURSE - BRIEF WRITING What to include? • • • •

9.210 tells you what sections, how many pages Initial Brief – set the stage Answer Brief – affirmative arguments first, but “clear the underbrush” Reply Brief – only argument; address preservation

How to write it? • • • • • •

Remember your audience – clarity is the goal Shorter is better Keep your facts neutral, yet persuasive Let your argument headings tell the story Weave your research with your facts and theme Stay organized – outline!

CRASH COURSE – ORAL ARGUMENTS Requests • •

Due within 10 days after deadline for last brief (9.320) Be specific - tell the Court why OA will be helpful!

When and Who • •

OA decided about 4-6 weeks after briefing is complete, and set for about 4-6 weeks later Get to know your panel

Tips for Preparation • • • • •

Be the expert; Notices of supplemental authority? Outline To moot or not to moot? First DCA has two courtrooms (very different feels) Time clock and lights; rebuttal

2017 CHANGES AND BEYOND Stipulated Extensions - Administrative Order 17-2 Be careful – it doesn’t apply to all appeals! • •

Yes to final and non-final criminal, civil, and administrative appeals No to WC, adoptions, dependency, TPRs, delinquency, emergencies, writs, and postconviction summary denials

How it works • • •

Get agreement from opposing counsel and file notice in form of rule 90 days on IB and AB; 15 days on RB - Aggregate totals Want more? It better be an emergency!

Tricks of the trade • •

Extensions requested by the parties count towards the maximum time allowed Supplementing the ROA exception

New judges? • •

Wetherell and Winsor – Off to the federal bench Wolf and Lewis reaching retirement in next couple years.

2.5

5

RECENT CASE LAW UPDATE

2.6

6

FILING SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS TO RECOMMENDED ORDERS: STATUTORY AUTHORITY VS. AGENCY DISCRETION BOILING POINTS

By

Gregg Morton – PERC, Tallahassee Lyyli Van Whittle – PERC, Tallahassee

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

by Lyyli Van Whittle and Gregg Riley Morton

What to Except When You’re Excepting: Practice Pointers for Filing Effective Exceptions to Recommended Orders

R

egardless of their chosen area of practice, most attorneys will be exposed to administrative law at some point during their legal career, either personally or professionally. The Florida Administrative Procedure Act1 (APA) contains a number of traps for practitioners who are unaccustomed to administrative law. Even for experienced administrative law practitioners, determining how to best challenge adverse decisions requires navigating numerous considerations. This is especially true when it comes to filing “exceptions” to recommended orders. Because the exceptions process is somewhat unique to administrative law, many inexperienced practitioners fail to understand its importance until it is too late. This article intends to provide both new and experienced attorneys with considerations that should be taken into account when filing exceptions. The need to consider exceptions follows administrative proceedings involving agency decisions that determine the “substantial interests of a party.”2 These proceedings typically involve situations in which the parties dispute issues of material fact that are submitted to a presiding officer who will hold a hearing.3 Following such a hearing,4 the APA requires the presiding officer to “complete and submit to the agency and all parties a recommended order consisting of findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended disposition or penalty, if applicable, and any other information required by law to be contained in the final

order.”5 Parties that disagree with the recommended order or a portion of it may file exceptions to the agency that will be issuing the final order. The purpose of filing exceptions is two-fold: 1) The practitioner has the opportunity to convince the agency that will be issuing the final order why the recommended order should not be accepted as a whole; and 2) it assists in a later appeal, should the agency disagree.

When, Where, and How to File Exceptions As soon as a recommended order has been issued, a party should immediately determine the timeframe within which exceptions are due and where the exceptions are to be filed. Other than very limited situations, exceptions to a recommended order must be filed with the agency no later than 15 days after the recommended order issues.6 If a party has received notice informing him or her of the requirement of taking certain action within a specified period of time, and that party delays for a protracted length of time in taking the required action, “that party may be deemed to have waived his or her right to so act.”7 Thus, untimely exceptions can be struck. However, in narrow circumstances, the agency may have discretion to accept late-filed exceptions if there is an extraordinary equitable reason the deadline was missed. 8 Because exceptions must contain “appropriate and specific citations to the record,”9 a practitioner should make arrangements early to obtain any necessary transcripts of the hearing.

3.1

In addition, practitioners should take care to file exceptions in the correct location. A common error is for a practitioner to file the exceptions with the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) instead of with the agency.10 Similarly, umbrella agencies, such as the Department of Management Services or the Department of Financial Services, will sometimes receive exceptions that should be directed to the agencies they provide administrative support to, such as the Public Employees Relations Commission or the Office of Financial Regulation. Exceptions that are filed with DOAH or the incorrect agency may not docket as received until the date the correct agency receives them.11 Thus, if a practitioner files his or her exceptions in the incorrect location and the correct agency receives them after the 15-day time period, a practitioner would need to demonstrate that the late filing should be accepted for some extraordinary equitable reason that excuses the late filing.12 It is better to file in the correct location initially in the timeframe allowed than be in the difficult position of trying to get an agency to accept late-filed exceptions. In some instances, particularly in involved cases with significant amounts of evidence and issues, it may not be possible to file the exceptions by the initial deadline. Practitioners who anticipate not being able to file exceptions by the deadline should file a motion for an extension of time well before the deadline and state good cause for the request.13 Moreover, as with most motions filed in administrative proceedings,

THE FLORIDA BAR JOURNAL/NOVEMBER 2017

49

practitioners must include a statement that the moving party conferred with all other parties of record and indicate whether the other parties object to the motion.14 A final procedural requirement under the uniform rules of administrative procedure requires that exceptions be provided to all parties by fax or electronic mail, if such have been provided, on the same day that the exceptions are filed with the agency.15 Other parties are then entitled to file responses to exceptions within 10 days from the date the exceptions are filed with the agency.

Exceptions to Findings of Fact Versus Exceptions to Conclusions of Law The first item to which practitioners should be cognizant of in filing exceptions is the different types of review that agencies are required to undertake for findings of fact and conclusions of law. An agency’s authority to overturn or modify a presiding officer’s findings of fact is extremely limited. 16 In particular, an “agency may not reject or modify the findings of fact unless the agency first determines from a review of the entire record, and states with particularity in the order, that the findings of fact were not based upon competent substantial evidence or that the proceedings on which the findings were based did not comply with essential requirements of law.”17 A presiding officer’s role is to consider all of the evidence presented, resolve conflicts, determine credibility, weigh evidence, and make ultimate findings of fact.18 If the evidence presented supports two inconsistent findings, it is the presiding officer’s role to decide the issue, and the agency can reject a presiding officer’s finding of fact only when there is no competent, substantial evidence from which the finding can reasonably be inferred.19 Moreover, an agency is not entitled to reweigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or interpret evidence to fit the conclusion desired by the agency.20 The amount of evidence introduced does not correlate to what constitutes competent, substantial evidence. For example, a presiding

These proceedings typically involve situations in which the parties dispute issues of material fact that are submitted to a SUHVLGLQJRI¿FHU who will hold a hearing. officer can rely on the testimony of a single witness even if that testimony is contradicted by the testimony of numerous other witnesses.21 Because of these limitations, exceptions directed at factual findings should be carefully considered. Both experienced and inexperienced practitioners will often attempt to argue in their exceptions that evidence presented at the hearing supports an alternative narrative for factual findings or that the weight of evidence backs different factual findings. Agencies are precluded from granting these exceptions, so practitioners should limit exceptions to situations in which there is not competent substantial evidence to support a factual finding or situations in which it can be shown that the proceeding that led to the factual finding did not comply with an essential requirement of the law.22 In challenging factual findings, practitioners should also be aware that requests for an agency to make additional findings of fact are disfavored. Exceptions should not attempt to introduce new evidence; it is reversible error for an agency to supplement the record through post-hearing testimony.23 Moreover, it is improper for an agency to make supplemental findings of fact on an issue when a presiding officer made no findings.24 In the rare cases in which additional findings of fact are necessary, parties should re-

50 THE FLORIDA BAR JOURNAL/NOVEMBER 2017

3.2

quest for the matter to be remanded to the presiding officer for further proceedings.25 However, requests for remand will place the issue back in front of the presiding officer that issued the adverse recommended order. As such, most practitioners avoid requesting remands. The decision to remand lies within the discretion of the agency itself.26 While an agency is strictly limited in considering challenges to factual findings, it does have more discretion to overturn conclusions of law, so long as they are within the agency’s substantive jurisdiction.27 An agency is not required to defer to a presiding officer on issues of law particularly when the matter is infused with overriding policy considerations. 28 To reject or modify a presiding officer’s conclusions of law, the agency is required to “state with particularity its reasons for rejecting or modifying such conclusion of law or interpretation of administrative rule and must make a finding that its substituted conclusion of law or interpretation of administrative rule is as or more reasonable than that which was rejected or modified.”29 Practitioners should formulate exceptions to conclusions of law with these criteria in mind; if the exception matches the requirements in the statute, an agency is more likely to adopt the party’s reasoning as its own. Practitioners should also be forthright in making sure that an exception to a conclusion of law is not in actuality an attempt to challenge underlying findings of fact. Courts have repeatedly cautioned agencies that they cannot circumvent the requirements in the APA by characterizing findings of fact as legal conclusions.30 The last consideration is whether the practitioner should challenge an unfavorable penalty. Unlike findings of fact, an agency has more discretion in determining the appropriate penalty. However, an agency cannot reduce or increase the recommended penalty without a review of the “complete record and [stating] with particularity its reasons therefore in the order, by citing to the record in justifying the action.”31 The purpose of this statute “is to provide

some assurance that the agency has gone through a thoughtful process of review and consideration before making a determination to change the recommended penalty.”32 District courts can be meticulous as to this standard. For instance, an agency’s final decision was reversed when it modified a penalty based on the commissioners’ affirmation that they had read the case but did not expressly state that they reviewed the complete record.33 Accordingly, a party wishing to challenge a recommended penalty should ensure the agency has the full record, including a transcript of the hearing before the presiding officer.34

Preservation Requirements Preservation of legal arguments is an important factor in administrative proceedings. A party “must alert the agency to any perceived defects in the hearing procedures or the presiding officer’s fact findings.”35 If a party is unwilling to challenge the facts at that stage, he or she cannot complain on appeal that the agency erred in accepting the presiding officer’s findings of fact or present a different version of the facts.36 Likewise, a party “cannot argue on appeal matters which were not properly excepted to or challenged before the [agency] and thus were not preserved for appellate review.”37 If a party does not inform an agency as to defects in a recommended order, those arguments are waived if the agency adopts that portion of the recommended order. Each exception must clearly identify the disputed portion of the recommended order by page number or paragraph, identify the legal basis for the exception, and include appropriate and specific citations to the record.38 Once a party’s exceptions meet this threshold, that party is generally entitled to an explicit ruling on each exception.39 Thus, where an agency failed to rule on each exception individually, courts have remanded the case so that the agency could rectify this defect.40

Practical Tips in Structuring Stronger Exceptions When faced with a contrary recommended order, determining the

Requests for oral argument should be made in a written request to the agency head as soon as is practical and, if possible, ZLWKWKH¿OLQJRI the exceptions or responses. optimal number of exceptions to make is a delicate balance. While a practitioner may be denied the opportunity to challenge a finding on appeal if it is not first raised in an exception, raising an undue number of exceptions poses its own undesirable consequences. This can be considered a shotgun approach, where a practitioner is indiscriminate and haphazard in raising a disproportionate number of perceived errors at the expense of accuracy and a fully developed legal argument for each error. Moreover, attempting to latch onto a vast array of inadequately supported potential errors — in order to see if any will stick — simply pulls attention away from the strongest argument a practitioner could make. Stated otherwise, when everything matters, nothing is important. A practitioner will find it far more successful to focus on his or her strongest points and fully articulate the legal and factual basis behind each exception. Because practitioners face short timeframes in which to file their exceptions, focusing on fewer but stronger arguments permits a practitioner to fully flesh out his or her exceptions with adequate legal analysis and record support. Along a similar vein, practitioners should keep in mind that because the agency’s final order must include an explicit ruling on each exception, the more support behind each exception

3.3

only increases the likelihood that the agency will grant the exception. Alternatively, a party faces a lower chance of success when an agency is addressing exceptions that have not been well presented or have diluted arguments that require the agency to perform the legal legwork. When filing multiple exceptions, it is very helpful for a practitioner to number each exception. This ensures each exception will be read independently and will result in the agency considering and ruling upon each on an individual basis. Unnumbered exceptions are more difficult to follow and can be misread as relating to each other, resulting in the agency missing one of the arguments a practitioner was attempting to make. Likewise, practitioners should avoid making compound exceptions that merge different legal points into one exception. Compound exceptions run the danger of failing to clearly express the point that the practitioner is attempting to convey and to bury one argument into another. Moreover, because agencies must rule individually on each exception, merging multiple legal arguments into one exception could permit the agency to address only one of the legal points made in a compound exception. A practitioner would be better served breaking such an exception into the two, thus, ensuring that the agency will better understand the arguments being raised and address both legal points.

Cross-Appeals and Oral Argument Some of the calculations and tips for filing effective exceptions should also be taken into account in responding to exceptions. The review of a recommended order is similar to an appellate proceeding. As such, even when the recommended order favors a party, there may be reasons to file exceptions or “cross appeal” certain portions of the order. Parties should always avail themselves of the statutory right to file a response to exceptions; failing to do so creates a one-sided argument at the agency level and increases the likelihood that an agency will not adopt the rec-

THE FLORIDA BAR JOURNAL/NOVEMBER 2017

51

ommended order. Parties that have a favorable recommended order should also carefully consider whether to file a transcript of the hearing with the agency. An agency cannot reject or modify a presiding officer’s findings of fact, credibility determinations, or recommended penalty without first reviewing a transcript of the evidentiary record.41 There are advantages to providing a copy of the transcript in advance of the recommended order to aid the presiding officer in writing the recommended order. However, in cases in which the transcript has not been provided in advance or in cases with expedited time frames, it may be better practice to wait for the recommended order to be issued and then decide whether to file a transcript of the hearing. If the party is satisfied with the results reached in the recommended order, filing the transcript with the agency is unnecessary. In addition to supporting exceptions with detailed written memoranda and legal arguments, parties may also want to request oral argument in front of the agency to offer further support for exceptions, particularly for novel issues or issues involving policy questions within the agency’s expertise. Requests for oral argument should be made in a written request to the agency head as soon as is practical and, if possible, with the filing of the exceptions or responses. Many agencies, including those headed by the governor, cabinet, and commissions, such as the Public Employees Relations Commission, allow oral arguments in support of or in opposition to exceptions to recommended orders.42 Although these oral proceedings are not necessarily the equivalent of oral argument in appellate courts and granting such presentations are a discretionary act, no agencies appear to prohibit such presentations by rule.43 As discussed above, there are a myriad of considerations that should be taken in deciding whether to file exceptions to portions of a recommended order that are adverse to a party’s interests. Moreover, once the decision has been made to file exceptions, parties should be cognizant of what exceptions should include in challenging findings of fact, conclu-

However, in narrow circumstances, the agency may have discretion to DFFHSWODWH¿OHG exceptions if there is an extraordinary equitable reason the deadline was missed. sions of law, and proposed penalties. Having said that, the authors of this article have seen a variety of exceptions in different cases. When they are done properly and precisely, they can be effective in challenging adverse orders.‰ 1 FLA. STAT. §120.51 (2017) (providing short title for FLA. STAT. Ch. 120). 2 FLA. STAT. §§120.569(1), 120.57 (2017). What constitutes a party’s “substantial interest” is beyond the scope of this article. For additional information, see THE FLORIDA BAR, FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE §5.3 (11th ed. 2017). 3 Presiding officers under the APA can include an agency head or member of an agency that conducts a hearing or proceeding on the agency’s behalf, an administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned by the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH), or any other person authorized by law to conduct administrative hearings. F.A.C.R. 27-106.102. For cases involving disputed issues of material fact, the presiding officer will frequently be an ALJ or hearing officer that is statutorily permitted to hear certain types of cases. FLA. STAT. §120.57(1) (requiring generally that disputed issues of material fact be heard by an ALJ); FLA. STAT. §120.80 (providing certain agencies the authority to conduct hearings without using an ALJ). 4 Historically, hearings involving disputed issues of fact were statutorily designated as “formal hearings.” Hearings not involving disputed issues of fact were “informal hearings.” Although these terms are no longer a part of the statute, practitioners still continue to use these terms to note the difference. 5 FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(k). 6 See, e.g., FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(k) (“The agency shall allow each party 15 days in which to submit written exceptions to

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the recommended order.”); F.A.C.R. 28106.217(1). 7 State Dep’t of Envtl. Regulation v. Puckett Oil Co., 577 So. 2d 988, 993 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). 8 Generally with missed deadlines in the administrative arena, the doctrine of equitable tolling applies. To show equitable tolling, a practitioner would need to demonstrate that the missed deadline was a result of being “misled or lulled into inaction” or that he or she “has in some extraordinary way been prevented” from asserting his or her rights, or has timely asserted his or her rights mistakenly in the wrong forum. Machules v. Dept. of Administration, 523 So. 2d 1132, 1134 (Fla. 1988); see also Prof’l Firefighters of Naples, I.A.F.F., Local 2174 v. City of Naples, 39 FPER ¶329 (Fla. PERC 2013) (recognizing its longstanding policy of not accepting untimely exceptions unless the litigant files a concomitant motion and presents an extraordinary equitable reason establishing that the movant was precluded from timely filing exceptions). 9 See, e.g., FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(k) (“The final order shall include an explicit ruling on each exception, but an agency need not rule on an exception that does not clearly identify the disputed portion of the recommended order by page number or paragraph, that does not identify the legal basis for the exception, or that does not include appropriate and specific citations to the record.”). 10 See, e.g., Hamilton Cty. Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs v. State Dep’t of Envtl. Regulation, 587 So. 2d 1389-90 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). 11 See id. at 1382-83. 12 See note 8. 13 F.A.C.R. 28-106.204(4). 14 F.A.C.R. 28-106.204(3). If the moving party is unsuccessful in its efforts to confer with the other parties before filing the motion, the moving party must specify in the motion the date(s) and method(s) by which contact was attempted. Id. 15 F.A.C.R. 28-106.217(2). 16 FLA. STAT. §120.57(l). 17 Id. 18 Heifetz v. Dep’t of Bus. Regulation, 475 So. 2d 1277, 1281 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985). 19 Boyd v. Dep’t of Revenue, 682 So. 2d 1117 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996); Holmes v. Turlington, 480 So. 2d 150 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985). 20 Heifetz, 475 So. 2d at 1281. 21 Stinson v. Winn, 938 So. 2d 554, 555 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006) (“Credibility of the witnesses is a matter that is within the province of the [presiding officer], as is the weight to be given the evidence.”). 22 Where an agency rejects any findings of fact, it must review the complete record and state “with particularity” that the findings of fact set out in the recommended order are not supported by competent substantial evidence or that the proceedings did not comply with the requirements of law. FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(l). 23 Nest v. Dep’t of Prof’l Regulation, Bd. of Med. Examiners, 490 So. 2d 987, 989 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986). 24 Florida Power & Light Co. v. State, 693 So. 2d 1025, 1026 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997).

25 Inverness Convalescent Center v. Dep’t of Health & Rehab. Servs., 512 So. 2d 1011, 1015 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987); Friends of Children v. Dep’t of Health & Rehab. Servs., 504 So. 2d 1345, 1346 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987). 26 Henderson Signs v. Florida Dep’t of Transp., 397 So. 2d 769, 772 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981); Florida Dep’t of Transp. v. J.W.C. Co., 396 So. 2d 778, 786 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981). 27 FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(l). 28 Winters v. Fla. Bd. of Regents, 834 So. 2d 243, 250 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002). However, practitioners should also note that if the conclusions of law relate to evidentiary considerations or other matters not within the agency’s jurisdiction, they are not subject to rejection or modification. G.E.L. Corp. v. Dep’t of Envtl. Prot., 875 So. 2d 1257, 1263-64 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004); Barfield v. Dep’t of Health, 805 So. 2d 1008, 1010 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002). 29 FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(l). 30 His Kids Daycare v. Florida Unemployment Appeals Comm’n, 904 So. 2d 477, 480 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005); Gross v. Dep’t of Health, 819 So. 2d 997, 1001 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002); Pillsbury v. State, Dep’t of Health & Rehab. Servs., 744 So. 2d 1040, 1041-42 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999). 31 Withers v. Blomberg, 41 So. 3d 398, 400 (Fla. 2d 2010). 32 Id. (quoting Hutson v. Casey, 484 So. 2d 1284, 1285-86 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986)). 33 Id. 34 Edwards v. Dep’t of Health & Rehab. Servs., 592 So. 2d 1249 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992) (holding that the commission “was without authority to reduce or increase the penalty recommended by the hearing officer, because [the appellant] failed to produce a transcript of the proceedings conducted before the hearing officer when he filed his exceptions with the commission”). 35 Couch v. Comm’n on Ethics, 617 So. 2d 1119, 1124 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) (quoting Florida Dep’t of Corr. v. Bradley, 510 So. 2d 1122, 1124 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987)). 36 Id. 37 Comm’n on Ethics v. Barker, 677 So. 2d 254, 256 (Fla. 1996) (quoting Couch v. Commission on Ethics, 617 So. 2d 1119, 1124 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993). See also Envtl. Coal. of Fla., Inc. v. Broward Cty., 586 So. 2d 1212, 1213 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991) (“Having filed no exceptions to the findings of fact contained in the recommended order, [the appellant] has thereby expressed its agreement with, or at least waived any objection to, those findings of fact.”); Withers, 41 So. 3d at 401 (holding that generally in the review of administrative proceedings, the court would not consider an issue unless that precise legal argument was presented below, but recognizing that a fundamental error may be challenged for the first time on appeal). 38 See, e.g., FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(k) (“The final order shall include an explicit ruling on each exception, but an agency need not rule on an exception that does not clearly identify the disputed portion of the recommended order by page number or paragraph, that does not identify the legal basis for the exception, or that does not include appropriate and specific citations

to the record.”); F.A.C.R. 28-106.217(1). 39 Boundy v. Sch. Bd. of Miami-Dade Cty., 994 So. 2d 433 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008) (remanding for ruling with particularity on each of the appellant’s exceptions to a recommended order because the appellant’s exceptions properly cited and identified with sufficient clarity the disputed portions of the recommended order). 40 See, e.g., id.; Mas v. Miami-Dade Cty. Sch. Bd., 26 So. 3d 73, 74 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010) (remanding the case for additional rulings because “[t]he School Board is required to rule explicitly on each exception which identifies the disputed portion of the Recommended Order by page number or paragraph”). But see Miami-Dade Cty. v. Dep’t of Cmty. Affairs, 29 So. 3d 1210 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010) (recognizing that a complete failure to consider or make explicit rulings on each exception to recommended order renders an order nonfinal, but declining to extend such holding to a situation in which they agency clearly considered exceptions, but failed to rule on each exception individually); Health Care Mgmt., Inc. v. Dep’t of Health & Rehab. Servs., 479 So. 2d 193, 195 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985) (holding that the failure to explicitly address a proposed finding “would require reversal of the agency action only when such failure has the effect of impairing the fairness of the proceeding or the correctness of the action”). 41 FLA. STAT. §120.57(1)(l); Roberts v. Dep’t of Corr., 690 So. 2d 1383, 1384 (Fla. 1st

DCA 1997); Financial Marketing Group, Inc. v. Sate Dep’t of Banking & Finance, Div. of Securities, 352 So. 2d 524, 525 (Fla. 3d DCA 1977). 42 FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE §4.2 (11th ed. 2017). 43 Id. Gregg R. Morton is a hearing officer and deputy general counsel with the Public Employees Relations Commission in Tallahassee. He received his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2000. Morton is a long-time member of the Administrative Law Section and also serves on the Labor & Employment Law Section’s Executive Council. Additionally, he is the 2017-2018 chair of the new Animal Law Section of The Florida Bar. Lyyli Van Whittle is a hearing officer with the Public Employees Relations Commission in Tallahassee. She previously served as the career staff attorney for Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara J. Pariente. She received her J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law in 1998. Van Whittle is an active member of the Administrative Law Section, the Labor and Employment Law Section, and the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court. This column is submitted on behalf of the Administrative Law Section, Robert H. Hosay, chair, and Stephen Emmanuel, editor.

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Filing Effective Exceptions to Recommended Orders Lyyli Van Whittle Gregg Riley Morton Public Employees Relations Commission

Proceedings Leading up to Filing Exceptions • • • • •

Administrative complaint or petition Prehearing proceedings Stipulated record, formal, or informal hearing Post hearing documents submitted Recommended order issued by presiding officer

Exceptions follow administrative proceedings that determine the  “substantial interests of a party.” §§120.569(1), 120.57, Fla. Stat.

Filing Exceptions to a Recommended Order • What is the Purpose of Filing Exceptions? ▫ Convince the agency that the recommended order should not be accepted  as a whole ▫ Preserve legal arguments for appellate review if the agency accepts the  disputed portions of the recommended order

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Preservation Requirements • If a party does not alert the agency to a perceived defect in the hearing  procedure or the proposed findings of facts, those arguments are  waived if the agency adopts that portion of the recommended order • A party cannot argue on appeal matters which were not properly  excepted to or challenged before the agency and thus were not  preserved for appellate review.  Couch v. Comm’n on Ethics, 617 So. 2d  1119, 1124 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) • Practice pointer: If critical evidence or testimony is excluded during  hearing, proffer for purpose of preserving arguments in exceptions

Preservation (continued) • “It is well established that a claim of error, even in the administrative  context, cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.”  Rosenzweig v.  Dep’t of Transp., 979 So. 2d 1050, 1056 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008) • But see Delgado v. Agency for Health Care Administration, 43 Fla. L.  Weekly D245, fn. 1 (Fla. 1st DCA Jan. 26, 2018) (stating, in a case where  presiding officer had final order authority, arguments can be raised for  first time on appeal because neither the Florida APA nor any rule of  procedures provides for the filing of a motion for rehearing of final  agency action)

When, Where and How to File Exceptions

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Where to File Exceptions • Exceptions to a presiding officer’s recommended order must be filed  with the agency • Exceptions filed in the incorrect location may not be docketed until the  date that agency receives them

Timeframe in Filing Exceptions • Exceptions to a recommended order must be filed within 15 days of the  issuance of the recommended order.  § 120.57(k), Fla. Stat. • Responses are due 10 days after exceptions are filed with the agency.  Rule 28‐106.217(1), F.A.C. • No additional time is added to time limits for filing exceptions or  responses to exceptions when service has been made by mail.  Rule 28‐ 106.217, F.A.C.

Timeframe in Filing Exceptions (continued) • If a party needs additional time to file exceptions or the transcript, he or  she may request an extension, so long as the request is made well  before the deadline and states good cause for the request.  Rule 28‐ 106.204(4), F.A.C. • Practice pointer: Make arrangements as soon as possible to obtain any  necessary transcripts of the hearing • Practice pointer: If an extension is requested, be sure to represent other  parties’ position on request.  Rule 28‐106.204(1), F.A.C.

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Untimely Exceptions • Untimely exceptions can be struck unless an extraordinary, equitable  reason is shown • Equitable tolling doctrine applies when a party “has been misled or  lulled into inaction, has in some extraordinary way been prevented from  asserting his or her rights, or has timely asserted his or her rights  mistakenly in the wrong forum.”  Machules v. Dep’t of Admin., 523 So.  2d 1132, 1134 (Fla. 1988)

Untimely Exceptions (continued) • Where a party personally delivered the filing to the agency’s security guard  and could proceed no further into the restricted‐access building, that was the  date that the agency was considered to have received the filing—not the date  that the agency clerk received the filing. Pro Tech Monitoring, Inc. v. Fla. Dep’t  of Corr., 72 So. 3d 277, 279 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011) • An agency has discretion to extend the time for filing exceptions to the  recommended order and should have considered whether filing exceptions a  day late was due to excusable neglect.  Hamilton Cty. Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs v.  Fla. Dep’t of Envtl. Regulation, 587 So. 2d 1378, 1390 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991)

Methods for filing Exceptions • Exceptions must be “provided to all parties by facsimile or electronic  mail, if a facsimile number or e‐mail address has been provided, the day  that they are filed with the agency”  Rule 29‐106.217(2), F.A.C. • Practice pointer: Contact the agency clerk in advance of filing exceptions  to determine best way to timely provide exceptions

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Exceptions to Findings of Fact

Necessity of Transcript • An agency does not have the authority to reject findings of fact unless it  determines from a review of the entire record, and states with  particularity in the order, that the findings of fact were not based on  competent substantial evidence. § 120.57(1)(l), Fla. Stat.  • In order to reject findings of fact, an agency must review the entire  record, including the transcript of the proceeding.  J.D. v. Fla. Dep’t of  Children & Families, 114 So. 3d 1127, 1133–34 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013) • Practice pointer: If the recommended order is favorable, carefully  consider whether to file a transcript with the agency

Exceptions to Findings of Fact • The agency’s authority to overturn or modify a presiding officer’s  finding of fact is extremely limited • To reject or modify a finding of fact, the agency must review the entire  record and state with particularly that the findings of fact were not  based on competent substantial evidence or the proceedings did not  comply with essential requirements of law • The agency is precluded from reweighing the evidence or judging the  credibility of the witnesses

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Exceptions to Findings of Fact ‐ Cases The competent substantial evidence standard defers to the presiding  officer’s judgment because the presiding officer is in the best position “to  evaluate and weigh the testimony and evidence based upon its  observation of the bearing, demeanor and credibility of the witnesses.” In re Estate of Sterile, 902 So.2d 915, 922 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2005) (quoting  Shaw v. Shaw, 334 So.2d 13, 16 (Fla. 1976)).

Exceptions to Findings of Fact ‐ Cases Competent, substantial evidence is defined as “such evidence as will  establish a substantial basis of fact from which the fact at issue can be  reasonably inferred. . . .  [T]he evidence relied upon to sustain the  ultimate finding should be sufficiently relevant and material that a  reasonable mind would accept it as adequate to support the conclusion  reached.”  De Groot v. Sheffield, 95 So.2d 912, 916 (Fla. 1957)

Exceptions to Findings of Fact ‐ Cases • When making findings of fact, the hearing officer must consider all of  the evidence presented, resolve conflicts, judge credibility, weigh  evidence, and draw permissible inferences from the evidence. • If the evidence presented in a hearing supports two inconsistent  versions of an event, it is the hearing officer's role to decide between  them. Heifetz v. Department of Business Regulation, 475 So. 2d 1277, 1281 (Fla.  1st DCA 1985). 

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Exceptions to Findings of Fact ‐ Cases • In Stinson v. Winn, 938 So. 2d 554 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006), the Education  Practices Commission brought a complaint against a teacher who  allegedly had impermissibly provided inappropriate assistance to  students during the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). • The ALJ rejected as not credible the testimony of all of the student  witnesses who had claimed that Stinson had helped them on the FCAT. • The judge accepted as credible the testimony of Stinson’s lone student  witness, who contradicted the testimony of the Commission’s  witnesses. 

Exceptions to Findings of Fact ‐ Cases • Based on this sole witness’s testimony, the judge ruled that the  Commission had not proven the allegations in the complaint by clear  and convincing evidence • An agency must accept the presiding officer’s factual findings unless  they are not supported by competent substantial evidence. Stinson v.  Winn, 938 So. 2d 554, 555 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006)

Exceptions to Findings of Fact ‐ Cases • Where reasonable people can differ about the facts, an agency is bound by the  presiding officer’s reasonable inferences based on the conflicting inferences arising  from the evidence. • “[W]e recognize the temptation for agencies, viewing the evidence as a whole, to  change findings made by a hearing officer that the agency does not agree with. As  an appellate court, we are sometimes faced with affirming lower tribunal rulings  because they are supported by competent, substantial evidence even though, had  we been the trier of fact, we might have reached an opposite conclusion. As we  must, and do, resist this temptation because we are not the trier of fact, so too must  an agency resist this temptation since it is not the trier of ordinary factual issues not  requiring agency expertise.” Amador v. Sch. Bd. of Monroe Cty., 225 So. 3d 853, 858 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017), review  denied, No. SC17‐1721, 2018 WL 721342 (Fla. Feb. 6, 2018) (quoting Heifetz v. Dep't of  Bus. Regulation, 475 So.2d 1277, 1282 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985). 

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Exceptions to Findings of Fact – Practice Pointers • Exceptions that argue the presiding officer should have made different  factual findings based on the evidence or that the weight of the  evidence backs different factual findings will not be granted • Parties should limit exceptions to findings of fact to situations where  there is not competent substantial evidence to support a factual finding  or situations in which it can be shown that the proceeding that led to  the factual finding did not comply with an essential requirement of the  law

Supplemental Findings of Fact • Exceptions cannot introduce new evidence not considered by the presiding officer • Agencies cannot make supplemental findings of fact, even where the presiding  officer made no findings on a particular subject • In rare circumstances where additional findings of fact are necessary, a party should  request the agency to remand the matter to the presiding officer for additional  findings

Exceptions to Conclusions of Law

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Exceptions to Conclusions of Law • The agency has more discretion to overturn conclusions of law if they are within the  agency’s substantive jurisdiction • An agency “may reject or modify the conclusions of law over which it has  substantive jurisdiction.” When doing so, “the agency must state with particularity  its reasons for rejecting or modifying such conclusion of law . . . and must make a  finding that its substituted conclusion of law . . . is as or more reasonable than that  which was rejected or modified.” Rejection or modification of conclusions of law  may not form the basis for rejection or modification of findings of fact.  • The agency has the has discretion in the interpretation of administrative rules over  which it has substantive jurisdiction § 120.57(l) , Fla. Stat.

Exceptions to Conclusions of Law • The agency is not required to defer to a hearing officer on issues of law  if the matter is infused with overriding policy considerations • An appellate court reviews an agency’s conclusions of law de novo and  “will defer to the agency’s conclusions of law unless they are clearly  erroneous or contrary to law.” U.S. Blood Bank, Inc. v. Agency for  Workforce Innovation, 85 So.3d 1139, 1142 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012). 

Challenging evidentiary rulings • Practice pointer: In challenging an evidentiary ruling that excludes  evidence or testimony, be sure to not only argue why the ruling was  legally incorrect, but why it would impact the outcome • Remember the difficulty with relevancy and hearsay objections in  administrative hearings • Florida Industrial Power Users Group v. Graham, 209 So. 3d 1142 (Fla.  2017) (stating that “the Florida Evidence Code is not applicable to  administrative proceedings.”) 

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Exceptions to Recommended Penalty • Agencies have more discretion in determining the appropriate  penalty. • To reduce or increase the penalty, an agency must review the  complete record, state with particularity its reasons in taking  the action it decided, and cite to the record.

Responses and Oral Argument • If you are on the winning side, consider whether you should file  exceptions as well to any adverse portions of the recommended order • File responses to exceptions explaining with citations why there is  competent, substantial evidence in the record to support the presiding  officers order • Consider requesting oral argument in support or opposition to  exceptions

Key Requirements in Filing Exceptions Each exception must:  ▫ clearly identify the disputed portion of the recommended  order by page number or paragraph; ▫ identify the legal basis for the exception; and ▫ include appropriate and specific citations to the record. If this is done, a party is entitled to an explicit ruling on each  exception. § 120.57(1)(l), Fla. Stat.

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Structuring Stronger Exceptions‐Do’s • Begin with the standard of review • Number your exceptions individually so they will be addressed  individually  • Focus on your strongest points • Explain how granting the exception will change outcome • Fully develop legal analysis for each exception • Target exceptions that address legal issues or the penalty

Structuring Stronger Exceptions‐Don’ts • Don’t order a transcript if you are not challenging the recommended  order • Don’t make compound exceptions; they are more difficult to follow • Don’t raise an undue number of exceptions; it pulls attention away from  your strongest points

Constitution Revision Commission • Proposal 6 would put an amendment on the ballot that would amend  the Constitution as follows: Section 21. Judicial interpretation of statutes and rules – In  interpreting a state statute or rule, a state court or an administrative  law judge may not defer to an administrative agency’s interpretation  of such statute or rule, and must instead interpret such statute or  rule de novo.

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Lyyli Van Whittle

Gregg Riley Morton

Public Employees Relations Commission  4708 Capital Circle Northwest, Suite 300  Tallahassee, FL 32303 [email protected]

Public Employees Relations Commission 4708 Capital Circle Northwest, Suite 300 Tallahassee, FL 32303 [email protected]

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LICENSING PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE DBPR: PROFESSIONAL FEEL THE HEAT No Materials

By

Marcy LaHart – Law Office of Marcy LaHart, Gainesville

HOT TOPICS IN FLORIDA PUBLIC RECORDS LAW

No Materials By

Ralph A. DeMeo – Baker Donelson, Tallahassee

HOME RULE ON THE HOT SEAT

No Materials By

Brent Spain – Theriaque & Spain, Orlando

GOVERNMENTAL ETHICS UPDATE: THE HEAT IS ON

By

Ronald Meyer – Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A., Tallahassee

Governmental Ethics Update: The Heat is On I.

Constitutional Underpinning A. Article II, Section 8, to the Florida Constitution, known as “The Sunshine Amendment,” was adopted overwhelmingly by the public in 1968

II.

B.

The Constitutional provision created the legislative duty to develop an ethics code

C.

The Constitutional Amendment also created the Florida Commission on Ethics

The Florida Ethics Code A.

The ethics code is set forth in Section 112.311, et. seq., Florida Statutes

B.

Ethical provisions apply to all “public officers” both state and local

C. The code prescribes requirements for public service relating to financial disclosure, gifts and ethical expectations D. III.

The code also requires 4 hours of ethics training each year

Financial Disclosure A. All covered officers and some employees are required to annually file a Form 6 or Form 1 Financial Disclosure B. Form 6 is filed with the Commission on Ethics; Form 1 usually with local Supervisor C. Form must be filed before 5:00 pm on the due date (July 1) or postmarked before midnight D.

Knowingly filing a false report is subject to criminal penalties

E. If after filing a timely report there is a need to change it or correct a mistake, that can be done by filing an amendment to the report 1. An amendment may mitigate, but will not foreclose a complaint being prosecuted F. Failure timely to file a disclosure report will result in an automatic fine of $25 per day up to $1,500 and can also result in removal from office if failure to file is found to be willful

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IV.

Gifts A. Public officers are prohibited from soliciting or accepting anything of value on the understanding that a vote, official action or the judgment of the recipient would be influenced thereby B. “Things of value” include (but are not limited to) gifts, loans, rewards, promises of future employment, favors and services C. Section 112.3148(4), Florida Statutes, prohibits a reporting individual, or any other person on his or her behalf, from knowingly accepting, directly or indirectly, a gift which exceeds $100 in value from a vendor doing business with the agency. Neither may a reporting individual solicit a gift.

V.

School Board Member Gifts Section 1001.421, Florida Statutes, provides that district school board members and their relatives, as defined in Section 112.312(21), Florida Statutes, may not directly or indirectly solicit any gift, or directly or indirectly accept any gift in excess of $50, from any person, vendor, potential vendor, or other entity doing business with the school district

VI.

Gifts A. If the value of a gift to individual participants at an event cannot be determined, the total costs shall be prorated among all invited persons, whether or not they are reporting individuals or procurement employees B. Section 112.3148(7), Florida Statutes, and Chapter 34-13, Florida Administrative Code, should be consulted regarding how a gift should be valued C. “Relative” means an individual who is related to the subject individual as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-inlaw, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, grandparent, great grandparent, grandchild, great grandchild, step grandparent, step great grandparent, step grandchild, step great grandchild, person who is engaged to be married to the subject individual or who otherwise holds himself or herself out as or is generally known as the person whom the subject individual intends to marry or with whom the subject individual intends to form a household, or any other natural person having the same legal residence as the subject individual. D. A gift to any of the foregoing is treated the same as a gift to the reporting individual

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VII.

Gift Reporting A. A quarterly report disclosing any gift which has been received having a value of more than $100 must be filed B.

Gifts must generally be valued at the actual cost to the person making the gift

C.

Gifts from relatives do not need to be reported

D. Gifts which, within 90 days of receipt, are paid for by recipient need not be reported E. All required ethics forms, including the Form 9 which is used for quarterly gift reporting, are available on the Florida Commission on Ethics Website F.

The URL for the section on Forms is: http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/FinancialDisclosure/DownloadAForm.aspx

VIII. Conflict of Interest A. Section 112.3143(2)(a) and (3)(a), Florida Statutes, provide, respectively, that a state or local public officer should not vote in an official capacity “upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss…” or to the “special private gain or loss of a relative…” B. The definition of who a “relative” is in this section of the law is more narrow than in the gift section C. Section 112.3143(1)(c), Florida Statutes, defines relative to mean “any father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sonin-law, or daughter-in-law” D.

A public officer must report a conflict of interest

E. Prior to the vote being taken, the officer should declare the nature of his or her interest in the matter and abstain if the issue creates a special private gain or loss F. Within 15 days after the vote, the nature of the interest requiring abstention must be reported on Form 8A or B and filed with the agency IX.

Misuse of Position The Ethics Code, in Section 112.313(6), Florida Statutes, states: No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties,

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to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others. This section shall not be construed to conflict with s.104.31 X.

However, in 2016, Changes Were Made to the Criminal Laws Sections 838.015, 838.016, 838.022 and 838.22, Florida Statutes, are where the changes have been made: The term “knowingly and intentionally” has been substituted for “corruptly” or “with corrupt intent” in the definitions of bribery, unlawful compensation, official misconduct and bid tampering

XI.

Many Criminal Laws Apply A.

Accepting unlawful compensation is a crime [§838.016(1), Florida Statutes]

B. Altering, withholding or concealing public records is a crime (§119.10, Florida Statutes) C. It is a crime to knowingly falsify records Statutes) D. XII.

(§§839.13 and 838.022, Florida

It is a crime to misuse confidential information

Pension Can Be At Risk Article II, Section 8(d), Florida Constitution, provides: “Any public officer or employee who is convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be subject to forfeiture of rights and privileges under a public retirement system or pension plan in such manner as may be provided by law.”

XIII. A Federal Case for Ethics Violations A. 18 U.S.C. Section 666 makes giving or accepting what could be construed as a bribe, or knowingly misusing funds, a federal crime B. Although sometimes not thought of as a “federal offense,” the FBI views public corruption as a potential threat to national security C. FBI offices throughout the State are actively investigating white collar crimes and public corruption

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XIV. Investigation of Complaints A.

The processes followed by the Commission on Ethics are lengthy

B.

Complaints are technically confidential, but not for the person filing one

C. The Commission process includes determining legal sufficiency, conducting a factual investigation, determining probable cause, providing settlement options and permitting hearing opportunities XV.

Advisory Opinions A. The Florida Commission on Ethics will, upon request, issue an advisory opinion to a reporting individual who is in doubt about his or her contemplated actions B. A request for an advisory opinion must make full disclosure of the facts and must be presented in writing prior to the act in question taking place

XVI. Violations of Law A. There is a 5 year statute of limitations period during which a complaint may be filed alleging a violation of the ethics code B. Violations of the ethics laws may also constitute state or federal criminal violations subjecting the public officer to prosecution

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Governmental Ethics Update: The Heat is On

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Constitutional Underpinning • Article II, Section 8, to the Florida Constitution, known as “The Sunshine Amendment,” was adopted overwhelmingly by the public in 1968 • The Constitutional provision created the legislative duty to develop an ethics code • The Constitutional Amendment also created the Florida Commission on Ethics © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

The Florida Ethics Code • The ethics code is set forth in Section 112.311, et. seq., Florida Statutes • Ethical provisions apply to all “public officers” both state and local • The code prescribes requirements for public service relating to financial disclosure, gifts and ethical expectations • The code also requires 4 hours of ethics training each year © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Financial Disclosure

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Financial Disclosure • All covered officers and some employees are required to annually file a Form 6 or Form 1 Financial Disclosure • Form 6 is filed with the Commission on Ethics; Form 1 usually with local Supervisor • Form must be filed before 5:00 pm on the due date (July 1) or postmarked before midnight • Knowingly filing a false report is subject to criminal penalties © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Financial Disclosure • If after filing a timely report there is a need to change it or correct a mistake, that can be done by filing an amendment to the report – An amendment may mitigate, but will not foreclose a complaint being prosecuted

• Failure timely to file a disclosure report will result in an automatic fine of $25 per day up to $1,500 and can also result in removal from office if failure to file is found to be willful © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gifts

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gifts • Public officers are prohibited from soliciting or accepting anything of value on the understanding that a vote, official action or the judgment of the recipient would be influenced thereby • “Things of value” include (but are not limited to) gifts, loans, rewards, promises of future employment, favors and services © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Gifts • Section 112.3148(4), Florida Statutes, prohibits a reporting individual, or any other person on his or her behalf, from knowingly accepting, directly or indirectly, a gift which exceeds $100 in value from a vendor doing business with the agency. Neither may a reporting individual solicit a gift.

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

School Board Member Gifts • Section 1001.421, Florida Statutes, provides that district school board members and their relatives, as defined in Section 112.312(21), Florida Statutes, may not directly or indirectly solicit any gift, or directly or indirectly accept any gift in excess of $50, from any person, vendor, potential vendor, or other entity doing business with the school district © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gifts • If the value of a gift to individual participants at an event cannot be determined, the total costs shall be prorated among all invited persons, whether or not they are reporting individuals or procurement employees • Section 112.3148(7), Florida Statutes, and Chapter 34-13, Florida Administrative Code, should be consulted regarding how a gift should be valued © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Gifts • “Relative” means an individual who is related to the subject individual as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, fatherin-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-inlaw, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, grandparent, © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gifts great grandparent, grandchild, great grandchild, step grandparent, step great grandparent, step grandchild, step great grandchild, person who is engaged to be married to the subject individual or who otherwise holds himself or herself out as or is generally known as the person whom the subject individual intends to marry or with © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gifts whom the subject individual intends to form a household, or any other natural person having the same legal residence as the subject individual. • A gift to any of the foregoing is treated the same as a gift to the reporting individual

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Gifts

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gift Reporting • A quarterly report disclosing any gift which has been received having a value of more than $100 must be filed • Gifts must generally be valued at the actual cost to the person making the gift • Gifts from relatives do not need to be reported • Gifts which, within 90 days of receipt, are paid for by recipient need not be reported © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Gift Reporting • All required ethics forms, including the Form 9 which is used for quarterly gift reporting, are available on the Florida Commission on Ethics Website • The URL for the section on Forms is: • http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/FinancialDisclosure /DownloadAForm.aspx

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Conflict of Interest

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Conflict of Interest • Section 112.3143(2)(a) and (3)(a), Florida Statutes, provide, respectively, that a state or local public officer should not vote in an official capacity “upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss…” or to the “special private gain or loss of a relative…”

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Conflict of Interest • The definition of who a “relative” is in this section of the law is more narrow than in the gift section • Section 112.3143(1)(c), Florida Statutes, defines relative to mean “any father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law” © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Conflict of Interest • A public officer must report a conflict of interest • Prior to the vote being taken, the officer should declare the nature of his or her interest in the matter and abstain if the issue creates a special private gain or loss • Within 15 days after the vote, the nature of the interest requiring abstention must be reported on Form 8A or B and filed with the agency © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Conflict of Interest

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Misuse of Position

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Misuse of Position • The Ethics Code, in Section 112.313(6), Florida Statutes, states: – No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others. This section shall not be construed to conflict with s.104.31 © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

However, in 2016, Changes Were Made to the Criminal Laws • Sections 838.015, 838.016, 838.022 and 838.22, Florida Statutes, are where the changes have been made: – The term “knowingly and intentionally” has been substituted for “corruptly” or “with corrupt intent” in the definitions of bribery, unlawful compensation, official misconduct and bid tampering © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Many Criminal Laws Apply • Accepting unlawful compensation is a crime [§838.016(1), Florida Statutes] • Altering, withholding or concealing public records is a crime (§119.10, Florida Statutes) • It is a crime to knowingly falsify records (§§839.13 and 838.022, Florida Statutes) • It is a crime to misuse confidential information

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Pension Can Be At Risk • Article II, Section 8(d), Florida Constitution, provides: “Any public officer or employee who is convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be subject to forfeiture of rights and privileges under a public retirement system or pension plan in such manner as may be provided by law.”

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

A Federal Case for Ethics Violations • 18 U.S.C. Section 666 makes giving or accepting what could be construed as a bribe, or knowingly misusing funds, a federal crime • Although sometimes not thought of as a “federal offense,” the FBI views public corruption as a potential threat to national security • FBI offices throughout the State are actively investigating white collar crimes and public corruption © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Investigation of Complaints • The processes followed by the Commission on Ethics are lengthy • Complaints are technically confidential, but not for the person filing one • The Commission process includes determining legal sufficiency, conducting a factual investigation, determining probable cause, providing settlement options and permitting hearing opportunities © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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Advisory Opinions • The Florida Commission on Ethics will, upon request, issue an advisory opinion to a reporting individual who is in doubt about his or her contemplated actions • A request for an advisory opinion must make full disclosure of the facts and must be presented in writing prior to the act in question taking place © 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

Violations of Law • There is a 5 year statute of limitations period during which a complaint may be filed alleging a violation of the ethics code • Violations of the ethics laws may also constitute state or federal criminal violations subjecting the public officer to prosecution

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

RONALD G. MEYER, ESQUIRE MEYER , BROOKS, DEMMA AND BLOHM, P.A. 131 North Gadsden Street Tallahassee, Florida 32301 850/878-5212 www.meyerbrookslaw.com

© 2018 Meyer, Brooks, Demma and Blohm, P.A.

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