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Home / Complaints / Final Orders / Final Orders 2011 / FCHR Order No. 11-001

FCHR Order No. 11-001

Date of Release: 01/13/2011

STATE OF FLORIDA

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS

LESA PATTERSON

HUD Case No. 04-10-1449-8

Petitioner

 

v.

FCHR Case No. 2011H0034

   

PANAMA CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

DOAH Case No. 10-8861

Respondent

FCHR Order No. 11-001

   

FINAL ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR

RELIEF FROM A DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICE

This matter is before the Commission for consideration of the Recommended Order of Dismissal, dated October 21, 2010, issued in the above-styled matter by Administrative Law Judge Suzanne F. Hood.

Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Judge Hood’s order reflects that Petitioner failed to appear at the scheduled administrative hearing in the matter. Specifically, Judge Hood’s order states that based on Petitioner’s failure to appear, “…Petitioner has failed to meet her burden of proof to support her claim.” Recommended Order of Dismissal, ¶ 16.

An issue of concern in cases where Petitioner has failed to appear at the scheduled administrative hearing for their case is whether Petitioner actually received notice of the hearing.

On both the Housing Discrimination Complaint and the Petition for Relief, Petitioner’s address is listed as 177 North Charlene Drive, Callaway , FL 32404. The Notice of Hearing for the case indicates that it was sent to Petitioner at 177 North Charlene Drive, Panama City , FL 32404, the distinction being that Panama City is listed as the address location as opposed to Callaway. Indeed, it appears that all of the documents issued by the Division of Administrative Hearings to Petitioner were sent with Panama City designated as the location of the address.

Nevertheless, the Recommended Order of Dismissal notes that neither the Order Denying Motion for Summary Hearing, the Notice of Hearing, and the Order of Pre-Hearing Instructions were returned as undeliverable to Petitioner. Recommended Order of Dismissal, ¶ 4 and ¶ 5. Each of these documents indicates they were sent to Petitioner with Panama City listed as the address location. Indeed, the Recommended Order of Dismissal does not reference any documents that were returned as undeliverable to Petitioner.

In addition, the Recommended Order of Dismissal finds that upon commencement of the hearing, and Petitioner’s nonappearance, the Administrative Law Judge’s office attempted to contact Petitioner by phone and “[a]s a result of that phone call, the [Administrative Law Judge]

FCHR Order No. 11-001

Page 2

understood that Petitioner would not be attending the hearing.” Recommended Order of Dismissal, ¶ 10.

Finally, the Administrative Law Judge concludes, “Petitioner failed to appear at the hearing or provide notice of her inability to attend the hearing…There is no indication that Petitioner failed to receive any orders, notices, or pleadings.” Recommended Order of Dismissal, ¶ 14 and ¶ 15.

Commission panels have concluded that when a Petitioner fails to appear at the scheduled administrative hearing in their case, they fail to meet their burden of proof, and the Petition for Relief should be dismissed. See, e.g., Crump v. The Majestic Tower at Bal Harbour, FCHR Order No. 10-072 (September 21, 2010), Bermudez v. Lake County Housing Authority, FCHR Order No. 10-041 (April 27, 2010), Cowden v. Difiglio, et al., FCHR Order No. 09-115 (December 14, 2009), Scott v. Two Men and a Truck, FCHR Order No. 09-009 (January 27, 2009), Enzor v. Sandco, Inc., FCHR Order No. 08-048 (July 29, 2008), Rodriguez v. Center Point Health and Rehab, FCHR Order No. 08-001 (January 14, 2008), West v. Sembler Corporation, d/b/a Bay Walk, FCHR Order No. 07-037 (June 15, 2007), Martinez v. KJC Enterprises, d/b/a Plantation Island Resort, FCHR Order No. 07-028 (April 20, 2007), Chaney, et al. v. Robert Buckner & Associates, FCHR Order No. 06-092 (November 13, 2006), and Prek v. Workforce Central Florida, FCHR Order No. 06-079 (September 18, 2006).

We adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s finding as to the nonappearance of Petitioner and conclude that Petitioner has failed to carry her burden of proof.

Exceptions

Neither of the parties filed exceptions to the Administrative Law Judge’s Recommended Order of Dismissal.

Dismissal

The Petition for Relief and Housing Discrimination Complaint are DISMISSED with prejudice.

The parties have the right to seek judicial review of this Order. The Commission and the appropriate District Court of Appeal must receive notice of appeal within 30 days of the date this Order is filed with the Clerk of the Commission. Explanation of the right of appeal is found in Section 120.68, Florida Statutes, and in the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.110.

DONE AND ORDERED this 13th day of January , 2011.

FOR THE FLORIDA COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS:

Commissioner Mario M. Valle, Panel Chairperson;

Commissioner Joanna Cunningham; and

Commissioner Lizzette Romano

FCHR Order No. 11-001

Page 3

Filed this 13th day of January , 2011,

in Tallahassee, Florida.

Violet Crawford, Clerk

Commission on Human Relations

2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 100

Tallahassee, FL 32301

(850) 488-7082

Copies furnished to:

Lesa Patterson

177 North Charlene Drive

Panama City, FL 32404

Lesa Patterson

177 North Charlene Drive

Callaway, FL 32404

Panama City Housing Authority

c/o William C. Henry, Esq.

Burke, Blue, Hutchison, Walters & Smith, P.A.

16215 Panama City Beach Parkway

Panama City Beach, FL 32413

Suzanne F. Hood, Administrative Law Judge, DOAH

James Mallue, Legal Advisor for Commission Panel

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed to the above listed addressees this 13th day of January , 2011.

By:

Clerk of the Commission

Florida Commission on Human Relations