Agency’s Failure to Provide Teacher Hearing Notice Violated Due Process and Requires Reversal

Thursday, July 9, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Health Law




The following is an appellate court case summary from The Florida Bar Administrative Law Section Newsletter, Vo. 36, No. 4 (June 2015).


Facts:

Bates appealed a final order revoking his educator's certificate by the Education Practices Commission, arguing that the Commission failed to afford him proper notice of his informal hearing. The Commission sent Bates a notice of his informal hearing via certified mail, but Bates allegedly did not receive the notice.

On appeal, the court found that in order for the Commission's notice of the informal hearing to have satisfied due process, that notice should have been "reasonably calculated under all circumstances" to inform Bates of the time and place of the informal administrative hearing. The appellate court also observed that whether a particular method of notice is reasonably calculated to provide adequate notice is determined on a case-by-case basis after considering the particular facts presented in each individual case.


Outcome:

In this case, the court found that, while the notice of hearing was initially reasonably calculated to reach Bates, the Commission was required to take further action to ensure its receipt given the following facts: (1) the Commission did not receive a signed receipt confirming receipt of the notice; (2) the Commission previously received signed receipts from Bates; and (3) Bates had consistently been communicative with the Commission regarding his case, always responding to all forms of communications from the Commission, including email, until his failure to respond to the notice of hearing.

Because Bates had been so responsive regarding his case, and because the Commission previously received signed receipts in response to previously certified letters, the court found that a lack of a signed receipt in response to this notice of hearing should have put the Commission on notice that Bates may not have received it. Accordingly, the court set aside the Commission's final order revoking Bates' educator's certificate and remanded for further proceedings.


Editor’s Notes on Case Summary:

In order to satisfy due process, the Commission in this case should have taken further action to assure the defendant received the notice of hearing. Bates had responded to every letter thus far; therefore, not providing a receipt of notice demonstrates that he did not receive this letter. In conclusion, the court put aside the Commission’s final order revoking Bates’ certificate and remanded for further proceedings.


Comments?


Has a Commission or court ever failed to provide you with a notice of hearing? Do you agree with the court’s decision that the Commission should’ve taken further action? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


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Source:

Bates v. Winn, Comm'r of Educ., 40 Fla. L. Weekly D914 (Fla. 1st DCA, April 17, 2015).


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.


KeyWords: Commissioner of Education, educator’s certificate, Education Practices Commission, due process, notice of hearing, license, defense attorney, health law, health care attorney, health care lawyer, health investigation, medical license, Department of Health, DOH, health attorney, ALJ, administrative law judge, educator’s license, due process violation, The Health Law Firm reviews



   
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7/9/2015

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