Footnotes lead Florida judge to charges of insubordination

Footnotes lead Florida judge to charges of insubordination

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at tampabay.com/coronavirus as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating , and by sharing our work. Thank you. The suspension of an administrative law judge and the public scrutiny are extremely rare at the agency, which handles cases ranging from big-money fights involving gambling operators and medical-marijuana companies. Judge John Van Laningham [State of Florida Division of Administrative Hearings] TALLAHASSEE — A state Division of Administrative Hearings judge has been suspended for accusing the agency’s director of making what are known as improper “ex parte communications” when reviewing an order in a case about a South Florida horse track. The five-day suspension of Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham for “insubordination and misconduct,” which was effective Wednesday, sent shockwaves through the state’s tightly knit administrative-law community. Van Laningham, who intends to appeal the sanction, was appointed to serve as a judge at the division 20 years ago. He is renowned for lengthy, sharply written orders in which he sometimes harshly rebukes state agency officials. The suspension of an administrative law judge and the public scrutiny are extremely rare at the agency, which handles cases ranging from big-money fights involving gambling operators and medical-marijuana companies to a dispute about bakers who refused to make a pastry with an anti-gay slogan. Van Laningham’s sanction, issued by Administrative Law Judges Li Nelson and Gar Chisenhall on March 26, stemmed from two footnotes he included in a March 13 recommended order in a case involving Calder Race Course Inc. The footnotes said division Director John MacIver, who is […]

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