Section 406.075, Florida Statutes 2009
406.075 Grounds for discipline; disciplinary proceedings.--
(1) A medical examiner may be reprimanded, placed on a period of probation, removed, or suspended by the Medical Examiners Commission for any of the following:
(a) Failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter or with the rules of the commission.
(b) Misuse or misappropriation of public funds or property.
(c) Being convicted or found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the duties of the district medical examiner or the ability to perform the duties of the medical examiner.
(d) Disciplinary action against him or her by any state board licensing him or her as a physician.
(e) Having a financial interest in any funeral or direct disposal establishment or transportation service which does business, directly or indirectly, with the office of the district medical examiner.
(f) A material misrepresentation of his or her education, training, experience, or expertise while in his or her capacity as a medical examiner.
(g) A material misrepresentation of data upon which an opinion or conclusion as a medical examiner is based.
(h) Violation of s. 406.11(2)(b).
(i) Negligence or the failure to perform the duties required of a medical examiner with that level of care or skill which is recognized by reasonably prudent medical examiners as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.
(2) The commission shall cause to be investigated any complaint which is filed before it if the complaint is in writing, signed by the complainant, and legally sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it contains ultimate facts which show a violation of this chapter or of any rule promulgated by the commission. The commission may investigate and take action on a complaint even though the complainant withdraws the complaint. The commission may investigate a complaint from a confidential informant if the complaint is substantial, if the alleged violation is substantial, if the complaint is legally sufficient, and if the commission has reason to believe, after inquiry, that the allegations are true. When an investigation of any district medical examiner or associate medical examiner is commenced, the commission shall notify the person against whom the complaint was made of the substance of the investigation, unless the commission chair agrees in writing that such notification would be detrimental to the investigation. The commission may conduct an investigation without notification to any person if the act under investigation is a criminal offense. The commission chair shall direct the commission staff to perform an expeditious investigation into the facts of the case, with the assistance of the Department of Law Enforcement, if needed. The staff report shall contain investigative findings and recommendations as to probable cause.
(3)(a) The commission chair shall appoint a probable cause panel of three members from among the commission membership, one of whom shall be a medical examiner. The probable cause panel may request staff to perform additional investigations as it sees fit.
1. The determination as to whether or not probable cause exists shall be made by a majority vote of the probable cause panel within 30 working days of its receipt of staff investigative findings and recommendations. The commission chair may grant 30-day extensions of the 30 working day time limit.
2. All proceedings and findings of the probable cause panel are exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011 until probable cause has been found or until the subject of the investigation waives confidentiality. The complaint, all investigative findings, and the recommendations of the probable cause panel are exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) until 10 days after probable cause has been found or until the subject of the investigation waives confidentiality. The commission may provide such information at any time to any law enforcement agency or to any regulatory agency.
(b) If the probable cause panel finds that probable cause exists, it shall direct the commission to file a formal complaint against the subject of the investigation. The commission shall file a formal complaint pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120. The probable cause panel may also direct the commission to suspend a district medical examiner from office immediately, under the provisions of s. 120.60(6), if a danger to public health, safety, or welfare so requires.
(c) A formal hearing before an administrative law judge from the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services shall be held pursuant to chapter 120 unless all parties agree in writing that there is no disputed issue of material fact. The administrative law judge shall issue a recommended order pursuant to chapter 120. If any party raises an issue of disputed fact during an informal hearing, the hearing shall be terminated and a formal hearing pursuant to chapter 120 shall be held.
(d) The commission, with those members of the probable cause panel who reviewed the case being excused from voting, shall determine and issue the final order in each disciplinary case, and such order shall constitute final agency action. Any consent order or agreed settlement shall be subject to the approval of the commission.
(e) The commission shall periodically notify the person who filed the complaint of the status of the investigation, whether probable cause has been found, and the status of any civil action or administrative proceeding or appeal.
(4) A privilege against civil liability is hereby granted to any complainant or any witness with regard to information furnished during any investigation or proceeding pursuant to this section, unless the complainant or witness acted in bad faith or with malice in providing such information.
History.--s. 3, ch. 87-359; s. 2, ch. 88-303; s. 9, ch. 90-344; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 128, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 246, ch. 96-406; s. 189, ch. 96-410; s. 1015, ch. 97-103; s. 2, ch. 98-253.