The Division of Administrative Hearings was appointed by the state of Florida, executive authorities as its central adjudicatory body for administrative law in 1974. It is based on the California system of hearing examiners. Many attorneys and governmental institutes rely on the DOAH database for accurate information regarding the latest administrative caselaw. But how accurate is the DOAH database really? In this article we will give a review of the DOAH database, along with other legal database tools.
I am Jim Konish, Publisher/Editor of the Florida Administrative Law Reports (FALR) since January 1, 1984, and related Florida Administrative law publications as follows:
An overview of Florida Administrative Law Decisions regarding health care administration (AHCA), Health (including Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) Boards, Education Practices Commission (Teacher’s Certifications), Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission., Environmental Protection (DEP), Revenue (DOR), and more. We have published this Report twice a month since January 1, 1979.
Full text publication of all PSC orders. We have published this Report since November 1977.
Exhaustive reporting of Administrative, Circuit and Appellate Court Caselaw regarding Environmental & Land Use Regulations. We have published this Report since January 1984.
Florida Circuit, Appellate and Administrative caselaw together with all Department of Revenue (DOR) Technical Assistance Advisements (TAA). We have published this Report since January 1, 1981.
Full text publication of all substantive Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) Orders since January 1, 1996.
In 1977, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) contracted with me to construct an alphabetical, hierarchical subject matter index to any PSC order related to electric and telecommunications regulation. Judge Robert Mann, a PSC Commissioner and former appellate Court Judge, had lamented the absence of access to PSC precedents.
At that time, all PSC Orders were hardbound in the Clerk’s Office back to 1853, with no digital archive, keyword searchability, or any reference beyond an unsearchable PSC-authored “Summary” of each Order. There was only one telecommunications company at that time. In 1853, the PSC was the Railroad Commission.
The “Konish” Digest emerged. This was a welcomed and useful compliment to the recollections of my supervisor, Mr Prentice Pruit, who had been in the PSC legal Department for fifty (50) years. I worked alone with only a pen and 3” x 5” index cards.
We have gone from IBM select typewriters to the current technological marvels during my career.
As a library scientist/Attorney endeavoring to construct a complete, unredacted archive of precedential, high value S120, Florida Statutes, State of Florida Administrative Final Orders, both published and unpublished, we have diligently obtained, published, indexed, digitized, searched, archived, and distributed any available, precedential caselaw, without interruption.
Having enjoyed the privilege of providing legal publications and substantive legal research and inquiries for prestigious Tallahassee Law Firms and others, this is my review of the DOAH database:
The DOAH database is fundamentally flawed by the absence of:
LexisNexis obtained from our firm high-quality archives of a) PSC Utility, b) Environmental & Land Use and c) State Tax Orders – but otherwise merely relies on the DOAH database.
Westlaw obtained from our firm archives of PSC Utility orders only, and also otherwise merely relies on the DOAH database.
The Division of Administrative Hearings database is an incomprehensive search tool as you have seen from our review of the DOAH database. A search of a flawed, redacted or mismanaged database is flawed per se, regardless of technology. Moreover, not knowing of the keywords or Orders which do not utilize the appurtenant keywords lead to poor results.
I have personally edited and authored Summaries, as well as Alphabetical, Hierarchical Subject Matter Indexes and other reference tools to high value precedential Florida Administrative Final Orders as follows since January 1, 1979.
Our firm has archives which are comprehensive, unfiltered and well-managed. My substantive expertise in the areas in which we publish is unparalleled.
To search for Final Orders, please check out our online search legal database or contact us for personalized assistance.
Go to our home page at www.falr.com and learn more about us.