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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 497
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F.S. 497.157
497.157 Unlicensed practice; remedies concerning violations by unlicensed persons.
(1) No person or entity shall engage in any activity for which a license is required under this chapter, without holding such licensure in good standing.
(2) A person may not be, act as, or advertise or hold himself or herself out to be a funeral director, an embalmer, or a direct disposer unless he or she is currently licensed by the department.
(3) A person may not be, act as, or advertise or hold himself or herself out to be a preneed sales agent unless he or she is currently licensed by the department and appointed by a preneed main licensee for which he or she is executing preneed contracts.
(4)(a) When the department has reasonable cause to believe that any person or entity not licensed under this chapter has violated any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted under this chapter, the department may issue an administrative complaint to such person or entity, alleging violation of this chapter and providing notice therein of intent by the department to order such person to cease and desist from the alleged violation of this chapter, to take corrective action including payment of restitution to persons adversely affected by the violation, to pay the department’s reasonable costs of investigation and prosecution, or to impose a fine of up to $10,000 upon such person for each violation of this chapter alleged in the administrative complaint.
(b) The issuance of the administrative complaint shall be a decision affecting substantial interests and shall entitle the respondent therein to proceedings pursuant to s. 120.569, if such proceedings are requested by the respondent in a writing received by the department within 21 days after service of the administrative complaint. If such proceedings are timely requested and the respondent shall contest any material fact alleged in the administrative complaint, the matter shall be heard before an administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings, who shall issue her or his recommended order to the department; otherwise, the proceedings shall be before the Chief Financial Officer or her or his designee. Upon conclusion of proceedings under s. 120.57 if the subject timely requested a hearing, or after the expiration of 21 days after service of the administrative complaint if no request for hearing is received within those 21 days, the department may take final agency action and issue its final order concerning the matter, which final order shall be enforceable as set forth in s. 120.69.
(5) Where the department determines that an emergency exists regarding any violation of this chapter by any unlicensed person or entity, the department may issue and serve an immediate final order upon such unlicensed person or entity, in accordance with s. 120.569(2)(n). Such an immediate final order may impose such prohibitions and requirements as are reasonably necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, and is effective when served.
(a) For the purpose of enforcing such an immediate final order, the department may file an emergency or other proceeding in the circuit courts of the state seeking enforcement of the immediate final order by injunctive or other order of the court. The court shall issue its injunction or other order enforcing the immediate final order pending administrative resolution of the matter under subsection (4), unless the court determines that such action would work a manifest injustice under the circumstances. Venue for judicial actions under this paragraph must be, at the election of the department, in the courts of Leon County or in a county where the respondent resides or has a place of business.
(b) After serving an immediate final order to cease and desist upon any person or entity, the department shall within 10 days issue and serve upon the same person or entity an administrative complaint as set forth in subsection (4), except that, absent order of a court to the contrary, the immediate final order will be effective throughout the pendency of proceedings under subsection (4).
(6) For the purpose of this section, the violation of this chapter by a person who is not licensed under this chapter or by any person who aids and abets the unlicensed activity shall be presumed to be irreparable harm to the public health, safety, or welfare.
(7) Any administrative complaint or immediate final order under this section may be served in person by a department employee or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the subject’s place of residence or business, or by other means authorized by law.
(8) Any person who is not licensed under this chapter and who engages in activity requiring licensure under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 27, ch. 2004-301; s. 7, ch. 2021-113.