When used in this chapter, the following words and terms have
the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) Administrative law judge or judge--An individual
appointed to serve as a presiding officer by SOAH's chief judge under
Tex. Gov't Code Chapter 2003.
(2) Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR--Processes
used at SOAH to resolve disputes outside or in connection with contested
cases, including mediation, mini-trials, early neutral evaluation,
(3) APA--The Administrative Procedure Act, Tex. Gov't
Code Chapter 2001.
(4) Arbitration--A form of ADR, governed by an agreement
between the parties or special rules or statutes providing for the
process in which a third-party neutral issues a decision after a streamlined
and simplified hearing. Arbitrations may be binding or non-binding,
depending on the agreement, statutes, or rules. See Chapters 156 and
163 of this title for procedural rules specifically governing the
arbitration of certain nursing home and assisted living facility enforcement
cases referred by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.
(5) Authorized representative--An attorney authorized
to practice law in the State of Texas or, if authorized by applicable
law, a non-attorney designated by a party to represent the party.
(6) Business day--A weekday on which state offices
(7) Chief Judge--The chief administrative law judge
(8) Confidential Information--confidential information
(A) information made confidential by law;
(B) information otherwise protected from disclosure
by law or order of the presiding judge or a court; and
(C) documents submitted in camera, solely for the purpose
of obtaining a ruling on the discoverability or admissibility of such
(9) Discovery--The process of compulsory disclosure
by a party, upon another party's request, of information, including
facts and documents, relating to a contested case.
(10) Electronic filing or filed electronically--The
electronic transmission of documents filed in a contested case referred
to SOAH by uploading the documents to the case docket using the electronic
filing manager, eFileTexas.gov, established by the Office of Court
Administration and an electronic filing service provider certified
by the Office of Court Administration, or in another the manner specified
on SOAH's website, www.soah.texas.gov.
(11) Electronic Filing Service Provider or EFSP--An
online web portal service offered by an independent third-party provider
for use in electronically filing documents at SOAH and judicial courts
of record, and that acts as the intermediary between the filer and
the eFileTexas.gov system. Filers must create an account with an EFSP
that is certified by the Office of Court Administration in order to
electronically file documents at SOAH. A list of EFSP's that have
met the requirements for certification by the Office of Court Administration
is available www.efiletexas.gov.
(12) Electronic signature or signed electronically--An
electronic version of a person's signature that is the legal equivalent
of the person's handwritten signature, unless the document is required
to be notarized or sworn. Electronic signature formats include:
(A) an "/s/" and the person's name typed in the space
where the signature would otherwise appear;
(B) an electronic graphical image or scanned image
of the signature; or
(C) a "digital signature" based on accepted public
key infrastructure technology that guarantees the signers identity
and data integrity.
(13) Electronic service or served electronically--The
electronic transmission of documents filed in a matter referred to
SOAH to a party or a party's authorized representative by means of
an Electronic Filing Service Provider.
(14) Ex Parte Communication--Direct or indirect communication
between a state agency, person, or representative of those entities
and the presiding judge or other SOAH hearings personnel in connection
with an issue of law or fact in a contested case or arbitration under
SOAH's jurisdiction where the other known parties to the proceeding
do not have notice of the communication and an opportunity to participate.
Ex parte communication does not include:
(A) communication where the parties to the proceeding
have notice of the communication and an opportunity to participate;
(B) communication concerning uncontested administrative
or uncontested procedural matters;
(C) consultation between the presiding judge and other
SOAH judges, SOAH legal counsel, or hearings personnel;
(D) consultation between the presiding judge and another
disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before
the judge, if the judge gives notice to the parties of the person
consulted and the substance of the advice, and affords the parties
reasonable opportunity to respond;
(E) ex parte communications required for the disposition
of an ex parte matter or otherwise expressly authorized by law; and
(F) communications between a state agency, party, person,
or representative of those entities and a SOAH mediator made in an
effort to evaluate a contested matter for mediation, or to mediate
or settle matters.
(15) Evidence--Testimony and exhibits admitted into
the record to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact.
(16) Exhibits--Documents, records, photographs, and
other forms of data compilation, regardless of media, or other tangible
objects offered by a party as evidence.
(17) Filed--The receipt and acceptance for filing by
SOAH's docketing department.
(18) IDEA--The Individuals with Disabilities Education
(19) Media or media agency--A person or organization
regularly engaged in news gathering or reporting, including any newspaper,
radio or television station or network, news service, magazine, trade
paper, professional journal, or other news reporting or news gathering
(20) Mediation--A confidential, informal dispute resolution
process in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication
among the parties to promote settlement, reconciliation, or understanding.
(21) Party--A person named or admitted to participate
in a case before SOAH.
(22) Person--An individual, representative, corporation,
or other entity, including a public or non-profit corporation, or
an agency or instrumentality of federal, state, or local government.
(23) Personal Identifying Information--Information
that alone or in conjunction with other information identifies a specific
individual, and that, is protected from unlawful use, possession,
or disclosure. Personal identifying information includes an individual's:
(A) Social Security number, taxpayer identification
number, driver's license number, passport number, or similar government-issued
personal identification number;
(B) bank account number, credit card number, or other
financial account number;
(C) telecommunication access device as defined by Section
32.51, Penal Code;
(D) date of birth;
(E) mother's maiden name;
(F) full name, if the person is a minor;
(G) unique biometric data, including the individual's
fingerprint, voice print, and retina or iris image; and
(H) information that identifies the individual and
(i) the physical or mental health or condition of the
(ii) the provision of health care to the individual;
(iii) payment for the provision of health care to the
(24) Pleading--A filed document that requests procedural
or substantive relief, makes claims, alleges facts, makes legal argument(s),
or otherwise addresses matters involved in the case.
(25) PUC--The Public Utility Commission of Texas.
(26) Redaction--To redact information means to remove
confidential references from the document.
(27) Referring agency--A state board, commission, department,
agency, or other governmental entity that refers a contested case
or other matter to SOAH.
(28) SOAH--The State Office of Administrative Hearings.
(29) Stipulation--A binding agreement among opposing
parties concerning a relevant issue or fact.
(30) TAC--The Texas Administrative Code.
(31) TCEQ--The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
(32) TRCP--The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The
TRCP are found on the website of the Texas Supreme Court.
(33) TRE--The Texas Rules of Evidence. The TRE are
found on the website of the Texas Supreme Court.