Friday, May 23, 2008

admin. law - due process - notice of charges

Goslin v. State Board of Medicine - Commonwealth Court - May 23, 2008

A registered nurse was charged by the State Board of Medicine with various offenses involving whether she was properly licensed to practice midwifery.

She was found to have violated a section of the law barring "practicing as a midwife without a license and for holding herself out to the public as a midwife."

She appealed, inter alia, on the ground that "the Board deprived her of due process by failing to provide notice that she was charged with violating" that section of the law. The Court agreed.

The court said that in an administrative proceeding, the essential elements of due process are notice and an opportunity to be heard.....The purpose of the notice requirement is to afford the person reasonable notice of the charges against her so that she will have sufficient opportunity to answer the charges....For such notice to be adequate, it must at the very least contain a sufficient listing and explanation of charges so that the individual can know against what charges she must defend herself if she can.

The court concluded that "[g]iven the different purposes" of the two statutes, the charges against the nurse the one act, did not give her adequate notice to defend against the offenses charged in the other, which she was found to have violated.