Monday, March 10, 2014

On Comet, On Cupid, on Donner, on DOAH

On DOAH?

What on earth does that mean, is DOAH one of the reindeer?

I hear this all the time, and see it referenced in pleadings. There seems to be some relevance assigned by attorneys to whether something is or is not "on DOAH."

DOAH is the Division of Administrative Hearings, a state agency in Tallahassee. Since 2001, the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims ("OJCC") has been a part of the DOAH. Both the OJCC and the DOAH have embraced the digital world and have pioneered electronic filing. Each has a web presence, which are similar, but are distinct. 

The DOAH website is http://www.doah.state.fl.us/ALJ/
The DOAH has an electronic filing service that is accessible from their web presence, it is called "eALJ," a reference to the fact that administrative hearings assigned to the DOAH are heard and determined by Administrative Law Judges ("ALJ"). 

The OJCC website is http://www.fljcc.org/jcc/
The OJCC website has an electronic filing service that is accessible from our web presence, it is called "eJCC," a similar reference to the fact that the disputes regarding Florida workers' compensation benefits are heard and determined by Judges of Compensation Claims ("JCC"). 

When something is electronically filed with the Administrative Law Judges, regarding some central panel dispute that is part of the DOAH ALJ jurisdiction, you would file that on http://www.doah.state.fl.us/ALJ/ and you might cogently assert that you have "filed" something "on DOAH," as that is the root of the name of that website. 

When something is electronically filed with the OJCC, you are not communicating clearly or descriptively if you tell someone your filing is "on DOAH." You are, instead, miscommunicating. In either instance, the more effective description would be to state that the filing is "in the OJCC case docket" or "in the DOAH case docket." 

What does "on DOAH" mean? It doesn't mean anything, it describes nothing effectively, and is prone to confusion. It would be helpful if its use was discontinued. 

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