Chapter 8.administrative agency hearings


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Chapter 8.administrative agency hearings

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Chapter 8.administrative agency hearings

  1. 1. Administrative Agency Hearings
  2. 2. What is a hearing? A proceeding that “investigates, declares, and enforces liabilities as they stand on present or past facts, and under laws supposed to already exist.” Similar to civil or criminal court trials Procedures are formulated in agency statues and administrative procedure acts
  3. 3. When is a hearing needed? Usually held after all other processes offered by the agency to reach an agreement have been exhausted Claimant feels their has been a violation of their rights
  4. 4. Louisiana Assoc. of Independent Producers and Royalty Owners v. FERC ( 1992) Group of entities concerned about how FERC conducted its business dealings, including its methods of due process and hearings Court upheld agency’s discretionary power to decide how it would conduct hearings.
  5. 5. Steps for Obtaining a Hearing
  6. 6. Determination of Need An agency has to determine there is a valid need for a hearing. Usually occurs after someone files an appeal and receives a response from the agency
  7. 7. Pre-hearing Procedures Processes agencies follow before a hearing occurs. Generally include the following: Notice – informs the parties of the time, type, and place of the hearing and the laws that relate to the hearing. Can be challenged if there is insufficient time for preparation Parties – participants of the hearing. May also include those economically harmed or those qualified for some non-economic reason.
  8. 8. Pre-hearing Procedures Discovery – gathering and exchange of information to prepare for the hearing. Not considered a guaranteed right. Agency rules govern procedures Conferences – used to clarify issues or stipulate certain facts for discovery.
  9. 9. Hearings Similar to court hearings Opening statements, witness examination, court examination, presentation of evidence, closing arguments If the agency has to statutorily provide a “hearing on the record,” the guidelines under the APA are followed, otherwise agency has discretion on how the meeting is conducted.
  10. 10. Participants in a Hearing Judges – conducts the hearing. May be an ALJ. Individual has to be independent/neutral, without conflict. Paralegals – Assist in all procedures and stages of the hearing Attorneys – person that becomes the combatant for the client. Expert witness – because of subject matter expertise, they are able to explain or refute evidence. Other witnesses – like in a court setting, these individuals are sworn in and must answer truthfully.
  11. 11. Stages of a Hearing
  12. 12. Presentation of Evidence In general, may not follow the Rules of Evidence as in court setting Hearsay evidence may be admissible; may not follow the exclusionary rule; may allow illegally obtained evidence Privileges may be recognized.
  13. 13. Proof Burden is on the party that initiated the claim Usually a preponderance of the evidence standard – 51% or greater If a civil rights claim – clear and convincing evidence.
  14. 14. Findings The results and conclusions arrived at after the evidence has been presented Two types Proposed findings by the parties after the hearing and before the decision Findings presented by the judge to back up the decision Usually in writing
  15. 15. Hearing Decision Form of the decision by ALJ can be either: Initial decisions – usually upheld by agency and becomes final if not contested or appealed. Usually issued by agency Recommended decisions – a decision of law or policy. Given to agency head, who reviews and decides on action to take.
  16. 16. Hearing Decision All decisions should state reasons upon which they are based. Should be supported by law or fact.
  17. 17. Gonzalez v. Freeman (1964) Action for declaratory and injunctive relief relating to an administrative action debarring plaintiffs from participating in certain contracts Court held “Absent…procedural regulations and absent notice, hearing, and findings in this case, the debarment is invalid. This was an abuse of agency discretion.