The hearing process is designed to ensure that due process is afforded to any individual or entity before the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) takes administrative action against them. Due process is accomplished through the administrative hearing process by ODA issuing of a notice of opportunity for hearing, which describes the proposed administrative action, relevant law, and the allegations supporting that proposed action. Any individual or entity receiving such a notice is entitled to a hearing if requested within 30 days of the notice mailing date.
Among other matters, hearings may be requested to contest proposed action ODA has taken or is proposing to take for alleged violations of Ohio law. Hearings may not be requested to contest Letters of Warning or Letters of Instruction issued by ODA.
What is an administrative hearing?
An administrative hearing is a legal proceeding in which you (the "Respondent") are afforded the opportunity, before an independent hearing officer, to dispute ODA's proposed action. An administrative hearing is the first step in the legal process to dispute ODA's action, and is conducted pursuant to Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Who may request an administrative hearing?
Any individual or business that has received a notice of opportunity for hearing has the right to request an administrative hearing. A request for hearing can be made in writing or by telephone by contacting the: Ohio Department of Agriculture, Office of Chief Legal Counsel, 8995 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068, firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 728-6430. Please provide your name, the name of your company, date of the letter you received and the name of the division personnel that signed your letter.
When and where will the hearing take place?
Pursuant to Chapter 119, you have the right to have your matter within 7 to 15 days from the date you receive the letter. However, a later date can be scheduled if requested by you or ODA. All administrative hearings are held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Additionally, if requested, ODA will issue a subpoena to any witness you believe is important to your case since subpoenas must be served by the sheriff’s department in the county where the witness resides, ODA asks that you provide the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of your witness(es) at least 30 days before your hearing.
If your hearing is related to a dairy matter, you have ten days from the time you receive your notice regarding ODA’s proposed action to request a hearing. ODA must schedule the hearing for a time within ten days of receiving your request for a hearing. If you disagree with the hearing officer’s report and recommendation, you must file written objections within three days of receiving the report and recommendation.
May I have an attorney represent me?
At the administrative hearing, you have the right to represent yourself or obtain legal representation. However, if your business receives a notice of hearing and is a corporation, you may not represent your company. A corporation must be represented by a licensed attorney. You may testify as a witness on behalf of your company but you cannot present yourself as the company’s legal representation. ODA legal counsel does not represent you and cannot provide you with legal advice.
Who presides over my hearing?
At the administrative hearing, the case will be heard by a hearing officer. The hearing officer is a local attorney, independent of the department, that is under contract as a hearing officer. The hearing officer is not a judge.
Who represents ODA at my hearing?
The department will be represented by an Assistant Attorney General.
How is a hearing conducted?
The department, because it has the burden of proof, will present its case first. The department may call witnesses and offer exhibits into evidence in support of its claim of the alleged violation. The respondent will have the opportunity to cross examine (question) any witness the department calls. Upon completion of the department presenting its case, the respondent will have the opportunity to present its case, call witnesses and offer exhibits into evidence in support of the case. The hearing officer will take all testimony, exhibits and closing remarks (if any) under advisement and will render a decision. A decision will generally not be rendered the same day as the hearing.
When a decision is rendered by the hearing officer, it will be presented in the form of a Report and Recommendation and the hearing officer will mail the Report to the department. The department will serve you (the respondent) with a copy of the Report and Recommendation by certified mail.
How is a decision rendered?
When a decision is rendered by the hearing officer, it will be presented in the form of a “Report and Recommendation” and mailed to the department. The department will serve you with a copy of the Report and Recommendation by certified mail.