Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Explains Appealing Restrictions On A New License

The Missouri Board of Healing Arts (“the Board”) has the authority to place restrictions on newly issued licenses. The licensee has the right to appeal the Board’s decision to the Administrative Hearings Commission of Missouri (“AHC”). Successfully appealing an adverse decision by the Board will make a tremendous difference in your practice and well as your personal life. If the AHC decides against you, then you may appeal to the Courts of Missouri for relief. Danielle Sanger, an experienced professional licensing attorney in Missouri, explains the process of appealing an adverse decision made by the Board to the Circuit Courts, and then to the Appellate Courts if necessary.

The procedure for imposing discipline by the Board restricting or denying new licenses differs from the imposing discipline of an existing license. Disciplining an existing license is a two-step process. First, the Board determines the appropriate discipline after the AHC determines the facts of the underlying case.  The licensee appeals the Board’s decision to impose discipline to the Circuit Court. The Board may rely upon the same grounds to issue a new license with restrictions as it does when imposing discipline on an existing license.  The Legislature gave the Board discretionary power to deny licenses for various reasons. Those reasons include evidence of bad character, unprofessional conduct, and conviction of a felony, to list a few.

The AHC hears appeals from Board decisions on new licenses. The AHC hears the issue de novo, or anew. The AHC reviews the record from the hearing before the Board. The record contains transcripts of testimony given by the witnesses before the Board as well as properly admitted exhibits. The AHC then decides whether the conditions the Board attached to the license are appropriate based on a new review of the record. The AHC must make findings of fact as well as rulings of law on the issues presented on appeal. The AHC then makes its determination and actually “steps into the shoes” of the Board.  In other words, the AHC exercises the same authority as granted to the Board by the Missouri legislature.  Exercising the same authority necessarily carries with it the discretion afforded the Board by the Legislature.  The AHC does not merely parrot the Board’s decision.  The AHC review is not designed to overturn the Board only if the Board made an error.

The Missouri courts are permitted to hear the case only after the agency made its final decision. The applicant must exhaust all administrative remedies before resorting to the courts for relief. Missouri law places restrictions on the circuit court’s authority when deciding AHC appeals. The petitioner must file for relief no greater than 30 days after the final decision by the AHC. A judge alone must hear the case; the parties are not entitled to a jury. The judge limits review to constitutional compliance, whether the Board exceeded statutory authority, whether the Board’s decision was supported by competent evidence, the hearing was unfair, whether the Board’s decision was arbitrary and capricious, or whether the Board abused its discretion when making its ruling.

The party aggrieved by the circuit court’s decision may file a further appeal. The appellate court reviews the Board’s action and not the circuit court’s decision. The issue the appeals court must address is very straightforward: whether the entire record supports the Board’s decision with substantial and competent evidence. The Board’s decision must be against the overwhelming weight of the evidence if the appellate court will overturn the agency’s decision.

Experienced Advocate Fighting For You Every Step Of The Way

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger is an experienced and zealous advocate for licensees facing discipline. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule your free consultation. Attorney Sanger will fight to protect you and your livelihood. Call today.