Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Government Law
Sorongon v. W. Va. Bd. of Physical Therapy
Petitioner was a licensed physical therapist and the owner of a therapy center that operated two facilities. The West Virginia Board of Physical Therapy revoked Petitioner's license for failure to properly supervise physical therapist assistants and physical therapy aides employed by him. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the circuit court properly found that Petitioner failed to directly supervise a physical therapy aide who was performing patient treatment; but (2) the circuit court erred in finding that Petitioner failed appropriately to supervise a physical therapist assistant who was performing patient treatment. Remanded.View "Sorongon v. W. Va. Bd. of Physical Therapy" on Justia Law
Whittington v. Office of Professional Regulation
Respondent Leslie Anne Whittington appealed an Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) order that concluded she committed several acts of unprofessional conduct and sanctioning her to a five-year license suspension. Respondent worked as a Nursing Home Administrator (NHA) from October 2006 until 2010. In its Amended Specification of Charges, the State alleged that respondent committed a host of specified acts that amounted to unprofessional conduct. In particular, the State alleged that respondent engaged in unprofessional conduct by failing to keep the home’s supplies adequately stocked; failing to keep the home adequately staffed; creating an erratic and hostile environment for staff and residents, possibly due to mental or psychological instability; allowing regulatory deficiencies to occur and responding poorly to two routine regulatory by the Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection; failing to ensure that residents’ records were properly kept; improperly interfering with nurses’ delivery of medication to residents and other nursing duties or medical decisions; falsely representing that she was a licensed nursing assistant and was close to earning a nursing degree; and improperly physically removing the ombudsman responsible for the home from the premises. Upon review of the OPR record, the Supreme Court reversed the Administrative Law Officer’s determinations that respondent engaged in unprofessional conduct by questioning a doctor’s withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and on account of the Division of Licensing and Protection survey deficiencies, but affirmed the ALO’s other findings of unprofessional conduct. The case was remanded to the trial court for remand to the ALO for redetermination of the applicable sanction.View "Whittington v. Office of Professional Regulation" on Justia Law
Koch v. Sheehan
The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) terminated a physician's participation in the Medicaid program on the basis of a Bureau of Professional Medical Conduct (BPMC) consent order, in which the physician pleaded no contest to charges of professional misconduct and agreed to probation. Supreme Court annulled the OMIG's determination. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding (1) the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in barring the physician from treating Medicaid patients when the BPMC permitted him to continue to practice; and (2) the OMIG was required to conduct an independent investigation before excluding a physician from Medicaid on the basis of a BPMC consent order. The Court of Appeals affirmed but for another reason, holding (1) the OMIG is authorized to remove a physician from Medicaid in reliance solely on a consent order between the physician and the BMPC, regardless of whether BPMC chooses to suspend the physician's license or OMIG conducts an independent investigation; but (2) because OMIG did not explain why the BPMC consent order caused it to exclude the physician from the Medicaid program, the agency's determination was arbitrary and capricious.View "Koch v. Sheehan" on Justia Law
Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Fowlkes
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance filed a formal complaint against Municipal Court Judge Robert Fowlkes following a verbal altercation he had with a probation officer outside the courtroom. The Commission and Judge Fowlkes filed a joint motion asking the Court to approve agreed-upon sanctions of a public reprimand and costs of $200. The Supreme Court agreed that Judge Fowlkes should be publicly reprimanded and assessed $200 for the costs of proceedings, and the Court found he also should be fined $1,000.View "Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Fowlkes" on Justia Law
Appeal of Dr. Kevin D. Boulard, D.M.D.
Petitioner Dr. Kevin Boulard, D.M.D. appealed a New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners (Board) finding that he committed professional misconduct and suspending indefinitely his “moderate sedation – unrestricted” permit. The Supreme Court concluded that because the Board was in the process of conducting other investigations of petitioner’s practice, without more, it was error for the Board to continue the suspension of petitioner's permit based on the other facts presented on the record. The Court vacated a portion of the Board's order and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Appeal of Dr. Kevin D. Boulard, D.M.D." on Justia Law
Jones v. Conn. Med. Examining Bd.
Plaintiff, a licensed physician and surgeon, was charged with violating the applicable standard of care in his treatment of two children. The Connecticut Medical Examining Board (board) found that Plaintiff had violated the standard of care with respect to his treatment of both children and ordered a reprimand, imposed fines, and placed Plaintiff on probation for two years. The trial court primarily affirmed, as did the appellate court. Plaintiff appealed, asserting that the appellate court incorrectly concluded that the preponderance of the evidence standard applied in his disciplinary hearing rather than the clear and convincing evidence standard. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the preponderance of the evidence standard applied at the proceeding because the board is an administrative agency subject to the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, under which the preponderance of the evidence is the default standard of proof; and (2) the use of the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof at a physician disciplinary proceeding does not offend a physician's due process rights.View "Jones v. Conn. Med. Examining Bd." on Justia Law
Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Skinner, II
Hinds County Youth Court Judge William Skinner, II took action in a case in which he was recused and abused the contempt power. Judge Skinner and the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance submitted a Joint Motion for Approval of Recommendations, recommending that Judge Skinner be publicly reprimanded, fined $1,000, and assessed $100 in costs. The Supreme Court found that the more appropriate sanction was a thirty-day suspension without pay, a public reprimand, a $1,000 fine, and $100 in costs. Furthermore, the Court modified "Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Gibson," (883 So. 2d 1155 (Miss. 2004)) and its progeny to the extent that they mandated the Court examine moral turpitude as a factor in determining sanctions. Instead, the Court and the Commission should examine the extent to which the conduct was willful and exploited the judge's position to satisfy his or her personal desires.View "Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Skinner, II" on Justia Law
Chi. Title Ins. Co. v. Office of Ins. Comm’r
Chicago Title Insurance Company (CTIC) appointed Land Title Insurance Company as its agent for the purpose of soliciting and effectuating CTIC's insurance policies. Land Title violated the anti-inducement laws. The Supreme Court held that CTIC was responsible for Land Title's regulatory violations, pursuant to statutory and common-law theories of agency. "When the statute forbids the insurer or its agent from certain conduct, it means that the insurer may not do indirectly-through its agent-what it may not do directly." View "Chi. Title Ins. Co. v. Office of Ins. Comm'r" on Justia Law
Dyer v. Superintendent of Ins.
Paul Dyer held licenses as an insurance producer and consultant. Because of Dyer's alleged misconduct, the Bureau of Insurance filed a petition for enforcement against Dyer alleging that Dyer violated the Maine Insurance Code and seeking the revocation of his licenses and requesting civil penalties and restitution. After a hearing, the Superintendent of Insurance concluded that Dyer violated the identified provisions of the Insurance Code, revoked Dyer's licenses, and ordered him to pay civil penalties and restitution. Dyer appealed the judgment entered in the business and consumer docket affirming the Superintendent's decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Superintendent did not err in interpreting the Insurance Code or in making factual findings and did not abuse his discretion by imposing penalties permitted in the statute.View "Dyer v. Superintendent of Ins." on Justia Law
Peckham, DMD v. State Bd of Dentistry
The State Board of Dentistry fined Plaintiff-Appellant Lon Peckham, DMD for failing to adequately inform a patient prior to performing a procedure, and for publishing misleading material on his website. The district court affirmed the Board's decision. On appeal, Plaintiff challenged the district court's affirming of the Board's final Order. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court found insufficient evidence to support findings that Plaintiff failed to inform a patient prior to performing a procedure or for publishing misleading material. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the district court. View "Peckham, DMD v. State Bd of Dentistry" on Justia Law