Update Your E-Mail Address: Significant Changes to Administrative Appeals – Part 2Published: Sep 08, 2023 by Brandon Smith
If you are licensed by any agency in Ohio, make sure the e-mail address that the agency has on file is one that you continue to have access to and continue to check regularly.
Under current law, when an agency intends to take action against your license, it must serve you notice of its intention by registered mail, return receipt requested. Once the adjudication has commenced, various other documents must be served on you by certified mail.
On October 3, 2023, those requirements change.
The same legislation we discussed last week now permits agencies to accomplish service by e-mail, fax, “traceable delivery service,” or personal service. While we can only speculate about how agencies will respond to this new authority, it seems very likely that many agencies will pivot from spending money on registered and certified mail to sending e-mails.
Importantly, the new statute, R.C. 119.05, still requires proof of delivery of these documents. For e-mail, it accomplishes that by making service complete on “the date receipt of the document is relayed electronically to the agency either by a direct reply from the recipient or through electronic tracking software demonstrating that the recipient accessed the document.”
It remains to be seen what effect this change to service requirements will have. Open questions include, in our estimation, whether a delivery receipt of an e-mail is ever enough to prove service, whether notice will be effective if sent to a shared e-mail address (e.g., husband and wife) when the wrong party sends the read receipt and fails to share the contents of the e-mail with the intended recipient, what impact e-mail forwarding may have on the tracking software, etc.
Another interesting quirk in this new statute is that documents sent by fax are considered delivered when confirmation of transmission is received. If you still have a fax number on file with your agency, make sure it is a fax number that only you have access to. The agency has no obligation, pursuant to this new statute, to ensure that you actually receive the notice (Due Process, but that is typically an issue for appeal), only that your fax number does—it assumes that your fax number will reach you.
These changes to service have the potential to dramatically alter the landscape of administrative proceedings.
If you have questions regarding adjudications against your professional license, you should consider contacting one of the licensed attorneys at Graff & McGovern, LPA. Attorney Brandon Smith is available at (614) 228-5800, x. 7 and email@example.com.