Florida Senate - 2014                                     SB 600
       By Senator Dean
       5-00822-14                                             2014600__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to administrative procedures; amending
    3         s. 120.595, F.S.; requiring that a final order in
    4         specified administrative proceedings award all
    5         reasonable costs and attorney fees to a prevailing
    6         party under certain circumstances; revising the
    7         criteria used by an administrative law judge to
    8         determine if a party participated in a proceeding for
    9         an improper purpose; making technical changes;
   10         providing an effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 120.595, Florida
   15  Statutes, is amended to read:
   16         120.595 Attorney’s fees.—
   18  120.57(1).—
   19         (a) The provisions of this subsection are supplemental to,
   20  and do not abrogate, other provisions allowing the award of fees
   21  or costs in administrative proceedings.
   22         (b) The final order in a proceeding conducted pursuant to
   23  s. 120.57(1) shall award all reasonable costs and all a
   24  reasonable attorney fees attorney’s fee to the prevailing party
   25  only if where the administrative law judge determines that the
   26  nonprevailing adverse party has been determined by the
   27  administrative law judge to have participated in the proceeding
   28  for an improper purpose.
   29         (c) In proceedings conducted pursuant to s. 120.57(1), and
   30  upon motion, the administrative law judge shall determine
   31  whether a any party participated in the proceeding for an
   32  improper purpose as defined in by this subsection. In making
   33  such determination, the administrative law judge shall consider
   34  whether the nonprevailing adverse party has participated in
   35  another two or more other such proceeding proceedings involving
   36  the same prevailing party and the same project as an adverse
   37  party and in which such two or more proceedings the
   38  nonprevailing adverse party did not establish either the factual
   39  or legal merits of its position. The judge shall also, and shall
   40  consider whether the factual or legal position asserted in the
   41  instant proceeding would have been cognizable in the previous
   42  proceeding proceedings. In such event, it shall be rebuttably
   43  presumed that the nonprevailing adverse party participated in
   44  the pending proceeding for an improper purpose.
   45         (d) In a any proceeding in which the administrative law
   46  judge determines that a party participated in the proceeding for
   47  an improper purpose, the recommended order shall so designate
   48  that party and shall determine the award of costs and attorney
   49  attorney’s fees.
   50         (e) For purposes the purpose of this subsection, the term:
   51         1. “Improper purpose” means participation in a proceeding
   52  pursuant to s. 120.57(1) primarily to harass or to cause
   53  unnecessary delay or for frivolous purpose or to needlessly
   54  increase the cost of litigation, licensing, or securing the
   55  approval of an activity.
   56         2. “Costs” has the same meaning as the costs allowed in
   57  civil actions in this state as provided in chapter 57.
   58         3. “Nonprevailing adverse party” means a party that has
   59  failed to have substantially changed the outcome of the proposed
   60  or final agency action which is the subject of a proceeding. If
   61  In the event that a proceeding results in any substantial
   62  modification or condition intended to resolve the matters raised
   63  in a party’s petition, it shall be determined that the party
   64  having raised the issue addressed is not a nonprevailing adverse
   65  party. The recommended order shall state whether the change is
   66  substantial for purposes of this subsection. In no event shall
   67  The term “nonprevailing party” or “prevailing party” may not be
   68  deemed to include a any party that has intervened in a
   69  previously existing proceeding to support the position of an
   70  agency.
   71         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.