Dr. Joseph Dorn, MD, is suing the state of Florida after the Board of Medicine decided there was no evidence that he broke the law when he prescribed medical marijuana to two undercover investigators from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).
This case has been ongoing since 2019 when, according to Dr. Dorn, FDOH investigators visited his office for no obvious reason, fabricated medical records, and claimed to have conditions specifically designed to elicit a marijuana prescription. The FDOH claimed that Dr. Dorn failed to perform physical examinations on the investigators and asked the Board of Medicine to revoke his medical license, prohibit him from prescribing marijuana, and impose a $10,000 fine. The Board of Medicine refused. Dr. Dorn's lawsuit alleges that the FDOH exceeded its investigative authority, causing him to suffer losses of income and reputation.
Licensing Boards: Licensees Beware
Medical boards are just one of many types of licensing authorities across the country. States differ in what professions and industries they regulate, but they may include everything from barbers and electricians to engineers, dentists, and veterinarians. And they all have one thing in common: they exist to protect the consumer, not the license holder.
The primary function of licensing authorities, aside from issuing licenses, is to receive and decide complaints filed against individuals they license. Complaints may come from anyone, including the licensee's clients, family members of clients, supervisors, or peers. As in the case of Dr. Dorn, complaints can escalate even when the licensee has done nothing wrong.
Licensing boards generally have broad disciplinary authority if they decide there has been a violation of the laws regulating the profession in their state. Actions may include a confidential slap on the wrist, public reprimand, fines, suspension, or revocation of a license. Most states have rules that require their licensing board to report specific violations to criminal authorities.
The Disciplinary Process
After receiving a complaint, licensing boards typically begin the investigative process by sending a letter to notify the licensee of the complaint. The licensee will then have an opportunity to respond. A detailed investigation may include reviewing records, interviewing witnesses, and, sometimes, inspections.
The burdens of proof required to support a licensing violation are low. If the board finds evidence sufficient to support a legal violation, the license holder has the right to a formal hearing.
If you're under scrutiny from a professional licensing agency, you have the right to legal representation. Contact Joseph D. Lento and the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm immediately at 888-535-3686 or online. They can help negotiate with the board for the best possible outcome, and will fight for your rights if it becomes necessary. Protecting your livelihood is worth it.