Defined unfair practices; hearings, witnesses, appearances, production of books, and service of process.

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(1) Whenever the department or office has reason to believe that any person, entity, or health maintenance organization has engaged, or is engaging, in this state in any unfair method of competition or any unfair or deceptive act or practice as defined in s. 641.3903 or is operating a health maintenance organization without a certificate of authority as required by this part and that a proceeding by it in respect thereto would be to the interest of the public, the department or office shall conduct or cause to have conducted a hearing in accordance with chapter 120.

(2) The department or office, a duly empowered hearing officer, or an administrative law judge shall, during the conduct of such hearing, have those powers enumerated in s. 120.569; however, the penalties for failure to comply with a subpoena or with an order directing discovery shall be limited to a fine not to exceed $1,000 per violation.

(3) Statements of charges, notices, and orders under this part may be served by anyone duly authorized by the department or office, either in the manner provided by law for service of process in civil actions or by certifying and mailing a copy thereof to the person, entity, or health maintenance organization affected by the statement, notice, order, or other process at her or his or its residence or principal office or place of business. The verified return by the person so serving such statement, notice, order, or other process, setting forth the manner of the service, shall be proof of the same, and the return postcard receipt for such statement, notice, order, or other process, certified and mailed as aforesaid, shall be proof of service of the same.

History.—ss. 38, 47, ch. 85-177; ss. 187, 188, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 285, ch. 96-410; s. 1754, ch. 97-102; s. 1593, ch. 2003-261.

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