2017 Florida Statutes
393.0678 Receivership proceedings.—
(1) The agency may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for the appointment of a receiver for a comprehensive transitional education program, a residential habilitation center, or a group home facility owned and operated by a corporation or partnership when any of the following conditions exist:
(a) Any person is operating a facility without a license and refuses to make application for a license as required by s. 393.067.
(b) The licensee is closing the facility or has informed the department that it intends to close the facility; and adequate arrangements have not been made for relocation of the residents within 7 days, exclusive of weekends and holidays, of the closing of the facility.
(c) The agency determines that conditions exist in the facility which present an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the residents of the facility or which present a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm would result therefrom. Whenever possible, the agency shall facilitate the continued operation of the program.
(d) The licensee cannot meet its financial obligations to provide food, shelter, care, and utilities. Evidence such as the issuance of bad checks or the accumulation of delinquent bills for such items as personnel salaries, food, drugs, or utilities constitutes prima facie evidence that the ownership of the facility lacks the financial ability to operate the home in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and all rules promulgated thereunder.
(2)(a) The petition for receivership shall take precedence over other court business unless the court determines that some other pending proceeding, having similar statutory precedence, has priority.
(b) A hearing shall be conducted within 5 days of the filing of the petition, at which time all interested parties shall have the opportunity to present evidence pertaining to the petition. The agency shall notify the owner or operator of the facility named in the petition of its filing and the date set for the hearing.
(c) The court shall grant the petition only upon finding that the health, safety, or welfare of residents of the facility would be threatened if a condition existing at the time the petition was filed is permitted to continue. A receiver may not be appointed ex parte unless the court determines that one or more of the conditions in subsection (1) exist; that the facility owner or operator cannot be found; that all reasonable means of locating the owner or operator and notifying him or her of the petition and hearing have been exhausted; or that the owner or operator after notification of the hearing chooses not to attend. After such findings, the court may appoint any person qualified by education, training, or experience to carry out the responsibilities of receiver pursuant to this section, except that the court may not appoint any owner or affiliate of the facility which is in receivership. Before the appointment as receiver of a person who is the operator, manager, or supervisor of another facility, the court shall determine that the person can reasonably operate, manage, or supervise more than one facility. The receiver may be appointed for up to 90 days with the option of petitioning the court for 30-day extensions. The receiver may be selected from a list of persons qualified to act as receivers developed by the agency and presented to the court with each petition for receivership. Under no circumstances may the agency or designated agency employee be appointed as a receiver for more than 60 days; however, the agency receiver may petition the court for 30-day extensions. The court shall grant an extension upon a showing of good cause. The agency may petition the court to appoint a substitute receiver.
(d) During the first 60 days of the receivership, the agency may not take action to decertify or revoke the license of a facility unless conditions causing imminent danger to the health and welfare of the residents exist and a receiver has been unable to remove those conditions. After the first 60 days of receivership, and every 60 days thereafter until the receivership is terminated, the agency shall submit to the court the results of an assessment of the ability of the facility to assure the safety and care of the residents. If the conditions at the facility or the intentions of the owner indicate that the purpose of the receivership is to close the facility rather than to facilitate its continued operation, the agency shall place the residents in appropriate alternate residential settings as quickly as possible. If, in the opinion of the court, the agency has not been diligent in its efforts to make adequate arrangements for placement, the court shall find the agency to be in contempt and shall order the agency to submit its plans for moving the residents.
(3) The receiver shall make provisions for the continued health, safety, and welfare of all residents of the facility and:
(a) Shall exercise those powers and perform those duties set out by the court.
(b) Shall operate the facility in such a manner as to assure the residents’ safety and adequate health care for the residents.
(c) Shall take such action as is reasonably necessary to protect or conserve the assets or property of the facility for which the receiver is appointed, or the proceeds from any transfer thereof, and may use them only in the performance of the powers and duties set forth in this section and by order of the court.
(d) Shall honor all leases, mortgages, and secured transactions governing the building in which the facility is located and all goods and fixtures in the building of which the receiver has taken possession, but only to the extent of payments which, in the case of a rental agreement, are for the use of the property during the period of the receivership or which, in the case of a purchase agreement, become due during the period of the receivership.
(e) May use the building, fixtures, furnishings, and any accompanying consumable goods in the provision of care and services to residents and to any other persons receiving services from the facility at the time the petition for receivership was filed. The receiver shall collect payments for all goods and services provided to residents or others during the period of the receivership at the same rate of payment charged by the owner at the time the petition for receivership was filed, or at a fair and reasonable rate otherwise approved by the court for private, paying residents. The receiver may apply to the agency for a rate increase for residents under Title XIX of the Social Security Act if the facility is not receiving the state reimbursement cap and if expenditures justify an increase in the rate.
(f) May correct or eliminate any deficiency in the structure, furnishings, or staffing of the facility which endangers the safety or health of residents while they remain in the facility, provided the total cost of correction does not exceed $3,000. The court may order expenditures for this purpose in excess of $3,000 on application from the receiver after notice to the owner. A hearing may be requested by the owner within 72 hours.
(g) May let contracts and hire agents and employees to carry out the powers and duties of the receiver under this section.
(h) Shall have full power to direct, manage, hire, and discharge employees of the facility subject to any contract rights they may have. The receiver shall hire and pay employees at the rate of compensation, including benefits, approved by the court. Receivership does not relieve the owner of any obligations to employees which had been made before the appointment of a receiver and were not carried out by the receiver.
(i) Shall be entitled to take possession of all property or assets of residents which are in the possession of a facility or its owner. The receiver shall preserve all such property or assets and all resident records of which the receiver takes possession; and he or she shall provide for the prompt transfer of the property, assets, and records of any resident transferred to the resident’s new placement. An inventory list certified by the owner and receiver shall be made at the time the receiver takes possession of the facility.
(4)(a) A person who is served with notice of an order of the court appointing a receiver and of the receiver’s name and address shall be liable to pay the receiver for any goods or services provided by the receiver after the date of the order if the person would have been liable for the goods or services had they been supplied by the owner. The receiver shall give a receipt for each payment and shall keep a copy of each receipt on file. The receiver shall deposit accounts received in a separate account and shall use this account for all disbursements.
(b) The receiver may bring an action to enforce the liability created by paragraph (a).
(c) A payment to the receiver of any sum owing to the facility or its owner discharges any obligation to the facility to the extent of the payment.
(5)(a) A receiver may petition the court that he or she not be required to honor any lease, mortgage, secured transaction, or other wholly or partially executory contract entered into by the owner of the facility if the rent, price, or rate of interest required to be paid under the agreement was substantially in excess of a reasonable rent, price, or rate of interest at the time the contract was entered into, or if any material provision of the agreement was unreasonable, when compared to contracts negotiated under similar conditions. Any relief in this form provided by the court shall be limited to the life of the receivership, unless otherwise determined by the court.
(b) If the receiver is in possession of real estate or goods subject to a lease, mortgage, or security interest which the receiver has obtained a court order to avoid under paragraph (a), and if the real estate or goods are necessary for the continued operation of the facility under this section, the receiver may apply to the court to set a reasonable rental, price, or rate of interest to be paid by the receiver during the duration of the receivership. The court shall hold a hearing on the application within 15 days. The receiver shall send notice of the application to any known persons who own the property involved or to the mortgage holders at least 10 days prior to the hearing. The payment by the receiver of the amount determined by the court to be reasonable is a defense to any action brought against the receiver by any person who received such notice, which action is for payment or for possession of the goods or real estate subject to the lease, mortgage, or security interest involved; but the payment does not relieve the owner of the facility of any liability for the difference between the amount paid by the receiver and the amount due under the original lease, mortgage, or security interest involved.
(6) The court shall set the compensation of the receiver, which shall be considered a necessary expense of the receivership.
(7) The court may require a receiver to post a bond.
(8) A receiver may be held liable in a personal capacity only for the receiver’s own gross negligence, intentional acts, or breach of fiduciary duty.
(9) The court may terminate a receivership when:
(a) The court determines that the receivership no longer is necessary because the conditions which gave rise to the receivership no longer exist; or
(b) All of the residents in the facility have been transferred or discharged.
(10) Within 30 days after termination of the receivership, unless this time period is extended by the court, the receiver shall give the court a complete accounting of all property of which the receiver has taken possession, of all funds collected and disbursed, and of the expenses of the receivership.
(11) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to relieve any owner, operator, or employee of a facility placed in receivership of any civil or criminal liability incurred, or any duty imposed by law, by reason of acts or omissions of the owner, operator, or employee before the appointment of a receiver; nor shall anything contained in this section be construed to suspend during the receivership any obligation of the owner, operator, or employee for payment of taxes or other operating and maintenance expenses of the facility or any obligation of the owner, operator, or employee or any other person for the payment of mortgages or liens. The owner shall retain the right to sell or mortgage any facility under receivership, subject to the approval of the court which ordered the receivership. A receivership imposed under the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the Health Care Trust Fund pursuant to s. 400.063. The owner of a facility placed in receivership by the court shall be liable for all expenses and costs incurred by the Health Care Trust Fund which occur as a result of the receivership.
History.—s. 13, ch. 83-230; s. 14, ch. 89-308; s. 41, ch. 93-217; s. 700, ch. 95-148; s. 104, ch. 2004-267; s. 23, ch. 2006-227; s. 8, ch. 2008-9; s. 1, ch. 2017-174.