What is the Division of Administrative Law?
The Division of Administrative Law (DAL) was created in the Department of State Civil Service in 1995 and began operations on October 1, 1996. DAL is Louisiana’s centralized administrative hearings panel. When disputes arise between certain state agencies and the people and entities they regulate, administrative law judges at DAL provide fair, prompt, and orderly adjudications. For more information, visit About DAL.
What is an Administrative Hearing?
An administrative hearing is a legal proceeding, held before an impartial administrative law judge, to review a governmental agency decision. Each party to the hearing has a right to testify, present and question witnesses, and submit or challenge documents regarding the decision. Except as qualified by law, DAL makes findings of fact and conclusions of law and issues a decision which affirms, modifies or sets aside the original agency decision.
What is an Administrative Law Judge?
An administrative law judge (ALJ) is not part of a court. The administrative law judge is an employee of DAL and not an employee of the regulating agency which has initiated the action or from whose action or inaction you have appealed.
What will Happen at the Hearing?
An administrative hearing is like a trial, but less formal. A record of everything that is said will be made at the hearing, so it is important that you speak in an audible, clear voice. Before the hearing begins, the administrative law judge will explain the procedures which will be followed. If you are confused about the procedures or any other matters, you should let the judge know. Before the hearing, each party may make an opening statement to tell the administrative law judge what the party believes the evidence will show. The judge will allow each party to present witnesses or other evidence. Evidence can be presented by each party, either as sworn testimony or as documents. At the end of the hearing, each party may present a closing argument to explain why the administrative law judge should rule one way or the other. After the hearing, the administrative law judge will review all the evidence and issue a decision.
Can I Settle my Case Without a Hearing?
Yes, cases often settle without a hearing. The parties are encouraged to discuss settlement and may agree to a settlement at any time. Contact the agency representative if you are interested in settling your case without a hearing.
How can I Request a Hearing?
If you received a notice from the agency, follow the directions on the notice for filing a hearing request. The procedural rules for filing an appeal of an agency action may vary, depending on the applicable law. Usually, hearing requests are filed with the agency that took the action being appealed. That agency will then refer the hearing request to DAL, and DAL will schedule the hearing and provide notice of the hearing to you and the agency. Some types of hearing requests may be filed directly with DAL, while others must be filed both with DAL and the agency. It is important that you read the notice you receive from the agency for guidance as to how to properly proceed. Please visit DAL's "Request a Hearing Page" to request a hearing.
How can I Request Special Accommodations?
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), DAL endeavors to ensure the accessibility of its hearings to all persons with disabilities. Should you, or anyone you call as a witness, need special accommodations, contact DAL's ADA Coordinator, the Administrative Hearings Clerk, at (225) 342-1800, at least three working days before the hearing.
Do I Need a Lawyer/What if I Have a Lawyer?
No one is required by DAL to have a lawyer. Individuals may, of course, represent themselves. However, when a party wishes to be represented by another, the Supreme Court restricts that representation to licensed attorneys, with certain exceptions. To enroll as counsel of record, please submit a Motion to Enroll Form.
How do I Find a Lawyer?
DAL employees are not authorized to provide legal advice. If you cannot afford legal representation, you may qualify for free legal services. Please call the Louisiana State Bar Association at (800) 421-5722 for help finding a lawyer.
Who will be at the Hearing?
An administrative law judge employed by DAL will preside over the hearing. Typically, there are at least two parties to an administrative hearing, the governmental agency and the person or organization appealing the agency’s action. The governmental agency is usually represented by an attorney. Parties may be represented by an attorney or may appear without an attorney. Depending on the area of law, a party may be represented by a non-attorney representative.
Will I Have a Pre-Hearing Conference?
A pre-hearing conference is to discuss the issues in the case and answer any questions there may be before the hearing. Conferences are normally conducted by telephone. If you would like to request a pre-hearing conference, please contact the Administrative Hearing Clerk's Office at (225) 342-1800.
How are Hearings Scheduled at DAL?
When DAL receives a hearing request, an administrative law judge is randomly assigned to the case. Sometimes the hearing date is already set on the agency notice for the action being appealed. In other cases, DAL will schedule a hearing or an initial status conference for the next available date. DAL will send a notice of the hearing or conference date to you and to the government agency.
May I Review the Information Relied Upon by the Agency in Making the Decision or Taking the Final Action?
Any records that are presented or entered into evidence must be made available to all parties. To request records, please complete a Records Request Form. The Division of Administrative Law's Custodian of Records is Tina Perkins, Administrative Hearings Clerk, (225) 342-1800.
How Should I Prepare for the Hearing?
In preparing for the hearing, it may be helpful to make a list of all the information which relates to your case and which you may want to present. Bring the originals and enough copies of all documents to the hearing so that you can give one to each of the other parties and one to the judge. Persons who have knowledge of your case should be asked to attend the hearing and testify on your behalf. Subpoenas should be issued for such individuals if you believe it to be necessary. If you need the testimony of a person who is an expert, such as a doctor, you may also ask that person to attend the hearing and testify. However, you may have to pay the expert a fee.
How do I Subpoena Witnesses or Documents?
There are two types of subpoenas. The first is an order for someone to appear. The second is an order for someone to make documents or other items available to you. For more information on requesting a subpoena, click here. To request a subpoena, please submit a Subpoena Request Form. Since you are required to have the subpoena served, you should request subpoenas well in advance of the hearing.
When and Where will the Hearing be Conducted?
You will receive a written notice stating the date, time, and place of your hearing. Many hearings are conducted by telephone. In-person hearings are usually held at a DAL office, but also are held in the offices of a different agency.
What if I Can't be There on the Scheduled Hearing Date?
Pursuant to LAC I.III.515, unless otherwise required by law, continuances may be granted in any case for good cause shown. Requests for continuance should be in writing, include identifying information about the case, such as a case number or caption, and sent by U.S. mail, fax, or e-mail. Parties are encouraged to use the Motion for Continuance Form located on DAL’s website (www.adminlaw.state.la.us). Continuance requests should be specific and submitted as soon as you discover a conflict. Continuances may also be requested during a hearing. In any event, DAL will always issue a written order as to whether a continuance is granted or denied. Unless you receive an order from DAL confirming that the hearing has been continued, you must assume the hearing will proceed as scheduled. Failure to appear may result in the matter being dismissed in accordance with LAC I:III.531(B), or other applicable statute or regulation.
What if I Don't Attend or Fail to Participate in the Hearing?
If you fail to attend your hearing after receiving written notice, the administrative law judge may proceed with the hearing in your absence. In some cases, if you fail to appear, you have waived your right to the hearing. For Medicaid cases, if you fail to attend your hearing, DAL will send a Conditional Order of Dismissal. If you want to have another Medicaid hearing scheduled you can do so by completing a Response to Conditional Order of Dismissal Form.
What if I am Late to the Hearing?
Unless you are excused by the administrative law judge for good cause, your case may be dismissed if you are more than 15 minutes late. If an emergency arises on your hearing date causing you to be late for the hearing, immediately telephone DAL's Administrative Hearings Clerk's Office at (225) 342-1800 and explain the problem. However, the Administrative Hearing Clerk's Office cannot grant a continuance. Please be prepared to provide information to help our staff identify the case, including the case name and docket number. A continuance may also be requested by an administrative law judge.
Can I Call the Judge to Discuss the Case?
A party to an adjudication may not talk to the presiding administrative law judge about a case without the participation of all other parties to that proceeding. However, if you have a question about your case or need to schedule a pre-hearing conference, you may contact the Administrative Hearing Clerk's Office for assistance at 225-342-1800, or 225-342-5800 for health cases.
How can I Prove my Case?
When the hearing begins, each party may present an opening statement which tells the administrative law judge what the party intends to prove.
Evidence: Each party may offer evidence to prove its case. Evidence can be sworn testimony made under oath at the hearing or it can be documents or other items. To be admissible, evidence must meet certain legal requirements. For example, evidence must be relevant to the issues in your case.
Filing Evidence: Documentary evidence should be submitted on letter-sized (8.5 x 11-inch) paper. You may introduce your evidence at the hearing or prior to the hearing. If you want to file documents into the record prior to the hearing, you may email, fax, mail, or hand-deliver them to the Administrative Hearing Clerk’s Office. The appropriate contact information for the Administrative Hearing Clerk is printed on your notice of hearing. Documents are deemed filed on the date received by the Administrative Hearing Clerk if received by 5:00 p.m. of a business day. If documents are received after 5:00 p.m., or on a non-business day, they will be deemed filed on the next business day.
Subpoenas: Parties may subpoena witnesses to testify at a hearing. If you wish to subpoena a witness, you need to prepare the subpoena and submit it to DAL. You may use DAL’s Subpoena Request Form. After processing the request, DAL will return the subpoena to you. You will then serve the subpoena on the witness. For more information please contact the Administrative Hearing Clerk's Office, at (225) 342-1800.
When Will DAL Render a Decision?
The administrative law judge will issue a written decision applying the applicable laws and regulations to the facts of the case. In most cases, the decision will be issued within 30 days, or less, of the hearing.
Do I Have the Right to Appeal the Decision?
Usually a party has a right to appeal the administrative law judge’s decision. In most cases, appeal rights will be attached to the end of the decision. Typically, the appeal is a judicial review of the record by the appropriate district court. However, the type of appeal varies depending on the area of law.
Where is DAL's Baton Rouge Office?
DAL’s main office is located at 1020 Florida Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. DAL’s parking lot and main entrance are in the rear of the building and accessible via Convention Street between N. 10th Street and N. 11th Street.