Ex parte communication is any communication between FSD staff and DLS hearing officers that does not include the EU and/or the EU’s representative. FSD staff is prohibited from communicating directly with a hearing officer by email, telephone, or any other written or verbal form on any case before or after a hearing.
Following are examples of prohibited ex parte communication.
EXAMPLE: Sending copies of a comment screen, medical evaluation, or client exhibits directly to a hearing officer’s personal email account is prohibited ex parte communication. Copies of these documents must be submitted as hearing exhibits to the appropriate AHU email address.
Any communication must be copied in full to all parties involved in the hearing. Copies of all exhibits the FSD will use in a hearing must be given to the EU; the EU’s representative, if any; and the AHU.
During the course of preparing for a hearing, FSD staff may call the AHU assigned to the EU’s county of residence and speak with support staff regarding procedural questions about hearings.
FSD staff must never send legal or policy questions to a hearings officer or to the AHU. FSD staff submit any legal or policy questions through supervisory channels to the appropriate Program and Policy Unit in Jefferson City.
Occasionally while a hearing is pending, the EU will contact the FSD to relay information to the hearing officer or to ask the hearing officer a question. Staff must be courteous to the EU, but do not contact the hearing officer on an EU’s behalf. Inform the EU to contact the AHU telephone number on the Notice of Scheduled Hearing.
NOTE: Do not email the hearing officer directly to convey information or to ask the hearing officer a question on behalf of an EU; because, doing so constitutes ex parte communication.
If the EU brings documents to the FSD to send for a hearing, it is appropriate to fax or scan and email copies of the documents to the AHU and to the FSD witness. Do not send documents directly to the hearing officer.
When additional information is received for a hearing that has been held open, email the additional exhibits to the appropriate AHU, not directly to the hearing officer.