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Home / Complaints / Final Orders / Final Orders 2012 / FCHR Order No. 12-039

FCHR Order No. 12-039

Date of Release: 08/15/2012






HUD Case No. 04-11-0464-8



FCHR Case No. 2011H0237


DOAH Case No. 11-3320



FCHR Order No. 12-039








Preliminary Matters

Complainant Karen Davis filed a housing discrimination complaint pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, Sections 760.20 - 760.37, Florida Statutes (2010), alleging that Respondent Paul Tinsley committed discriminatory housing practices on the basis of Complainant’s race (African American) by falsely denying the availability of a duplex apartment Complainant inquired about leasing, and by refusing to rent to Complainant.

The allegations set forth in the complaint were investigated, and, on April 11, 2011, the Executive Director issued a determination finding that there was reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing practice had occurred.

Complainant elected to have the Commission resolve the charge in an administrative proceeding pursuant to Section 760.35(3)(a)1, Florida Statutes (2011).

Petitioner filed a Petition for Relief from a Discriminatory Housing Practice and the case was transmitted to the Division of Administrative Hearings for the conduct of a formal proceeding.

An evidentiary hearing was held in Pensacola, Florida, on December 8, 2011, before Administrative Law Judge Robert S. Cohen.

Judge Cohen issued a Recommended Order finding that unlawful discrimination had occurred and recommending relief, dated May 18, 2012.

The Commission panel designated below considered the record of this matter and determined the action to be taken on the Recommended Order.

Findings of Fact

We find the Administrative Law Judge’s findings of fact to be supported by competent substantial evidence.

FCHR Order No. 12-039

Page 2

We adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s findings of fact.

Conclusions of Law

We find the Administrative Law Judge’s application of the law to the facts to result in a correct disposition of the matter.

We adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s conclusions of law.


After being granted two extensions of time to file exceptions, Respondent filed exceptions to the Administrative Law Judge’s Recommended Order.

With regard to exceptions to Recommended Orders, the Administrative Procedure Act states, “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.” Section 120.57(1)(k), Florida Statutes (2012); see, also, Bartolone v. Best Western Hotels, FCHR Order No. 07-045 (August 24, 2007).

A review of Respondent’s exceptions document suggests that it does not comply with this statutory provision.

Instead, Respondent’s exceptions document sets out what Respondent perceives to be inconsistencies in the testimony presented in the transcript.

It can be said, generally, that Respondent excepts to the Administrative Law Judge’s finding that unlawful discrimination occurred in this matter.

The Commission has stated, “It is well settled that it is the Administrative Law Judge’s function ‘to consider all of the evidence presented and reach ultimate conclusions of fact based on competent substantial evidence by resolving conflicts, judging the credibility of witnesses and drawing permissible inferences therefrom. If the evidence presented supports two inconsistent findings, it is the Administrative Law Judge’s role to decide between them.’ Beckton v. Department of Children and Family Services, 21 F.A.L.R. 1735, at 1736 (FCHR 1998), citing Maggio v. Martin Marietta Aerospace, 9 F.A.L.R. 2168, at 2171 (FCHR 1986).” Barr v. Columbia Ocala Regional Medical Center, 22 F.A.L.R. 1729, at 1730 (FCHR 1999). Accord, Bowles v. Jackson County Hospital Corporation, FCHR Order No. 05-135 (December 6, 2005), Eaves v. IMT-LB Central Florida Portfolio, LLC, FCHR Order No. 11-029 (March 17, 2011), and Symons v. Grandeville on Saxon, Ltd., et al., FCHR Order No. 12-011 (March 27, 2012).

In addition, it has been stated, “The ultimate question of the existence of discrimination is a question of fact.” Florida Department of Community Affairs v. Bryant, 586 So. 2d 1205, at 1209 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). Accord, Coley v. Bay County Board of County Commissioners, FCHR Order No. 10-027 (March 17, 2010), Eaves, supra, and Symons, supra.

FCHR Order No. 12-039

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Noting that we have above found the facts as found by the Administrative Law Judge to be supported by competent substantial evidence, Respondent’s exceptions are rejected.

Affirmative Relief

Through our adoption of the Administrative Law Judge’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, as set out above, we find that unlawful discrimination occurred in this matter in the manner found by the Administrative Law Judge and have adopted the Administrative Law Judge’s recommendation for the remedy of the discrimination.

Respondent is hereby ORDERED:

(1) to cease and desist from engaging in the prohibited practice by which it has been found to have unlawfully discriminated against Complainant (Section 760.35(3)(b), Florida Statutes (2012)); and

(2) to pay Complainant $430.00 as quantifiable damages resulting from the unlawful discrimination that occurred.

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 to appeal is found in Section 120.68, Florida Statutes, and in the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.110.

DONE AND ORDERED this 15th day of August , 2012.


Commissioner Mario M. Valle, Panel Chairperson;

Commissioner Donna Elam; and

Commissioner Billy Whitefox Stall

Filed this 15th day of August , 2012,

in Tallahassee, Florida.


Violet Crawford, Clerk

Commission on Human Relations

2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 100

Tallahassee, FL 32301

(850) 488-7082

FCHR Order No. 12-039

Page 4

Copies furnished to:

Florida Commission on Human Relations

on behalf of Karen Davis

c/o Cheyanne Michelle Costilla, Esq.

2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 100

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Paul Tinsley

3014 Shearwater Drive

Navarre, FL 32566

Robert S. Cohen, Administrative Law Judge, DOAH

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed to the above listed addressees this 15th day of August , 2012.

By: ___________/s/______________

Clerk of the Commission

Florida Commission on Human Relations