Howard T. Spence, the Principal and Owner of MinorityADR LLC, served as an Administrative Law Judge for the State of Michigan for ten years before he retired from the State of Michigan Government service in 2002. During that time he heard and issued opinions for hundreds of contested cases, Unlike private adjudications in arbitration cases, decisions in public administrative law contested cases are a matter of public record and can be shared freely by members of the public.
The scope of the hearing subject matter jurisdiction of State of Michigan ALJs is quite broad, and includes almost all regulatory administrative hearings. Among the hearings held and decided by Howard T. Spence during that 10 year adjudication period were hearings related to almost all areas of occupational licensing regulated by the state. Among the occupations of parties to those contested cases were doctors, nurses, health care professionals of all licensing types, financial services professionals including insurance agents and solicitors, corporate agencies and large insurers, adjusters, builders and construction conractors, and almost every other type of Michigan occupational license other than that of attorneys and legal professionals, and auto mechanics. Depending on the licensing jurisdiction, the ALJ had authority to either issue proposals for decision to be reviewed and adopted by various state boards and commissions, or in some instances final decisions and adjudications which could be appealed to state circuit courts and appellate courts.
In addition to occupational licensing, the hearing jurisdiction of ALJ Spence included hearing and making decisions relating to disputes and licensing matters between state agencies and regulated entities, between private sector parties exclusively in some situations, and for quasi-public entities which required a mechanism for review of their decision making and rule-making.
Consumer complaints directed towards some agencies and regulatory bureaus were also heard, as well as rate cases for insurance companies and some regulated public utilities.
Contested case adjudications within the authority of the Michigan Departtment of Labor were also heard by ALJ Spence. Among those DOL cases were MIOSHA and MIOSHA Discrimination cases, Wage Hour disputes, and some cases determining workplace disputes within the state oversight and regulatory review. Some unemployment benefit cases were also heard.
Other employment disputes were heard by ALJ Spence related to disputes between state employees, teachers, and others covered by the various state of Michigan retirement programs within the Michigan Office of Retirement Services. In those cases the ALJ would make determinations as to compliance with retirement requierments, the extent and nature of benefits to be awarded, and the review and approval or disapproval of ORS determinations as to whether retirement disability benefits should be paid.
The state of Michigan began to catalogue and give online access to ALJ decisions in 2002. Some of the ALJ decisions by ALJ Spence issued in 2002 before his retirement can be accessed and reviewed on the online state of Michigan decision archives maintained by the Michigan Administrative Hearings Service. To access and review any of those decisions, click on the image to the right which will take you to a MAHS decision database record search screen. In the search box you find there, just type in "Spence, Howard T" to be taken to some of ALJ Spence's Contested Case decisions from that time frame.
[[Note: The State of Michigan has just taken the older version of the ALJ decision database offline and redirected to a new system which does not include those older decisions and also does not allow for searches by ALJ name. Sorry for the inconvenience. We are working to locate and restore the older link's data.]]
Following retirement from his position as ALJ, Howard T. Spence served as a "fact finder" in unionized public sector labor and employment cases for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). Fact-finding decisions are also public documents. One such set of fact-finding decisions by Howard T. Spence involving an impasse between the Southfield Public Schools and some of their union bargaining units can be found and reviewed here by clicking on this link.