Geotes v. Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine
986 F.Supp. 1028
United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Jackson Division, 1997
FACTS: The Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine received complaints alleging that licensed veterinarian, Dr. Geotes, expected his unlicensed employees to perform services constituting the practice of veterinary medicine without his supervision. These services included diagnosing, putting animals under anesthesia, suturing, and prescribing medications. Two days before the hearing on these issues was to take place, Geotes filed suit seeking an injunction against the Board’s administrative proceedings and declaratory relief based on allegations that the Mississippi Veterinary Practice Law of 1946 violated his due process rights. The Board went ahead with the hearing, offering Geotes the opportunity to present evidence relating to the allegations against him. Geotes refused, asserting that the proceedings against him were constitutionally flawed. The Board entered an order revoking Geotes’ license. Geotes appealed and the Harrison County Chancery Court entered an order staying the ordered revocation pending appeal.
ISSUES: Whether the federal court can hear Geotes’ claim for injunctive relief.
HOLDING: No, the federal court cannot hear Geotes’ claim for injunctive relief. The three criteria which preclude the federal court from hearing a claim are met here: 1) the judicial state proceedings are ongoing, 2) the proceedings implicate important state interests, and 3) there is an adequate opportunity in state proceeding to raise constitutional challenges. Federal court intervention is neither necessary nor appropriate.
Boswell v. Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine
477 N.W.2d 366
Supreme Court of Iowa, 1991
FACTS: The Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine revoked the veterinary license of Dr. Bradley Boswell, on the basis that his conduct fell below the standard of veterinary practice in Iowa. Boswell has been licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Iowa since 1981. The Board charged Boswell with falsifying test records, failing to supervise employees, violating FDA regulations regarding the use of illegal animal drugs, extending medications with the use of water instead of approved diluents, and overcharging clients for animal feed. These allegations were based on the testimony of Boswell’s former employees and corroborated by another veterinarian. A hearing panel, using a “preponderance of evidence” standard, found that Boswell’s acts violated several state and federal statutes. Boswell petitioned for judicial review, successfully convincing the district court that a standard of “clear and convincing evidence” should have been used. The district court remanded the matter to the hearing panel, which filed a supplemental decision holding that its previous findings were justified even under the higher standard of proof. Boswell appealed.
ISSUES: 1) Whether the district court erred in requiring the evidence to meet a standard of “clear and convincing evidence;” 2) whether the evidence asserted was sufficient.
HOLDING: 1) The district court did err in requiring a higher standard of proof. Proof in a veterinary disciplinary proceeding must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. 2) The evidence is sufficient to prove Boswell’s misconduct. The question in determining the sufficiency of the evidence is whether there is substantial evidence to support the finding that was made.
Lambert v. Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine
489 So.2d 1341
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit, 1986
FACTS: Dr. Lambert is a licensed veterinarian whose practice consists primarily of performance animals such as race horses and fighting cocks. During the period of 1979 to 1983, Lambert purchased and prescribed large quantities of Schedule II drugs. Schedule II drugs are those with a high potential for abuse. Lambert used these drugs in the treatment of race horses and fighting cocks. Due to the large quantity of Schedule II drugs prescribed during this time period, the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine decided to investigate Lambert. An adjudicatory hearing was held. The Board found that Lambert had failed to establish a patient/veterinarian relationship with the animals before prescribing Schedule II drugs, and he had failed to maintain proper individual records on each animal treated. As these were the two criteria which had to be met before prescribing Schedule II drugs, the Board held that Lambert had engaged in unprofessional conduct. The Board ordered the immediate revocation of Lambert’s license to practice veterinary medicine, but suspended the revocation if Lambert would permanently surrender his license to prescribe controlled substances and if he completed continuing education courses in veterinary medicine for five years. Lambert appealed the Board’s decision, and the trial court reversed the Board’s judgment in its entirety. The Board appealed.
ISSUES: Whether the evidence adduced at the adjudicatory hearing was sufficient to support the Board’s conclusions.
HOLDING: Yes, there is sufficient evidence in the record to support the Board’s determination that Lambert violated the rule regarding the prescription of Schedule II drugs. Not only did Lambert frequently prescribe Schedule II drugs based only on what the owners and trainers of the animals told him, without actually examining the animals himself, but also Lambert relied on his memory instead of keeping records of each individual animal.
State of Nebraska Department of Health v. Jeffrey
525 N.W.2d 193
Supreme Court of Nebraska, 1994
FACTS: Jeffrey had been practicing equine dentistry full time for 9 or more years. He is not licensed to practice veterinary medicine. On September 18, 1990, Peggy Thorp, suspecting that her horse Ebby had hooks on her back molars, asked Jeffrey to examine Ebby. Jeffrey examined Ebby’s mouth, concluded that there were hooks on the back molars, and removed them. He also floated the horse’s molars, which means that he cut the front molars with a tool resembling a bolt cutter. Ebby began bleeding profusely, and Jeffrey told Thorp the bleeding would stop shortly. Ebby’s mouth did not stop bleeding, however. Thorp took Ebby to a licensed veterinarian who found lacerations and a quarter-sized hole on Ebby’s tongue. After unsuccessful treatments, the veterinarian recommended that Thorp take Ebby to a veterinary college. The district court issued an injunction preventing Jeffrey from practicing equine dentistry. Jeffrey appeals, alleging six errors.
ISSUES: 1) Did Jeffrey violate statute 71-1,155 by practicing dentistry without a license; 2) does equine dentistry fall under an exception to the statute; 3) was an injunction an appropriate remedy?
HOLDING: 1) Jeffrey did violate 71-1,155 by practicing dentistry without being licensed as a veterinarian. 71-1,155 states that no person may practice veterinary medicine if they are not a licensed veterinarian, and the statute further provides that veterinary medicine includes dentistry. Therefore, Jeffrey did practice dentistry without a license, and so violated 71-1,155. 2) Equine dentistry does not fall under an exception to the statute because the exception only applies to those treating animals under their own ownership or to the exchange of services between people who are farm or ranch operators. Jeffrey was not treating his own animal; he was treating Thorp’s horse. There is also nothing to indicate that Jeffrey is a farm or ranch employee, and furthermore, he was not participating in an exchange of services. Rather, he was rendering a service in exchange for money. 3) An injunction was an appropriate remedy. According to both the Uniform Licensing Law and the Nebraska Veterinary Practice Act, an injunction is an appropriate remedy when a person is engaging in the practice of a profession for which a license is required without holding such a license.
Pessin v. Van Lindt
120 A.D.2d 507
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York, 1986
FACTS: Veterinarian Pessin’s license to practice as a veterinarian at race tracks was revoked. Pessin lost his license after admitting to making bets on football games through a bookmaker. He brought proceedings to review a refusal to reinstate his license. Pessin now appeals from a judgment dismissing his case on the merits.
ISSUES: Whether Pessin’s license to practice as a veterinarian at race tracks should be reinstated.
HOLDING: No, Pessin’s license should not be reinstated. Respondent Van Lindt’s refusal to reinstate Pessin’s license after he admitted to betting on football games through a bookmaker was reasonable and supported by law.
Riegel v. Ohio Veterinary Medical Board
655 N.E.2d 220
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, 1995
FACTS: The Veterinary Medical Board of Ohio suspended veterinarian Riegel’s license for six months. This suspension occurred after witnesses reported that Riegel allowed veterinary technicians to perform unsupervised surgeries. The Court of Common Pleas of Union County upheld the suspension. Riegel appeals, arguing that the activities of student externs and veterinary technicians working with a licensed veterinarian are outside the jurisdiction of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Board. Riegel also alleges that there is no reliable evidence to support the Court of Common Pleas decision to suspend his license.
ISSUES: Whether O.R.C. 4741.22(Q) should be construed as only prohibiting people who are not licensed veterinarians, not student externs and not veterinary technicians from performing duties in violation of R.C. Chapter 4741, and whether there is reliable evidence to support the court’s decision that Riegel violated O.R.C. 4741.22(Q).
HOLDING: No and yes. Holding 1: O.R.C. 4741.22(Q) should not be read as allowing student externs and veterinary technicians to fall outside the jurisdiction of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Board if they are working with a licensed veterinarian. The legislative intent in enacting O.R.C. 4741.22(Q) was the regulation and control of the practice of veterinary medicine, and Riegel’s interpretation of the statute would restrict the board’s control. Holding 2: Lack of detail does not render testimony unreliable. Therefore, there was reliable evidence to support the lower court’s decision.
Taylor v. Department of Commerce, State of Utah
952 P.2d 1090
Court of Appeals of Utah, 1998
FACTS: Licensed veterinarian Taylor has practiced veterinary medicine since 1956. In 1995, the Division began an investigation after receiving several complaints against Taylor. A hearing was ordered in which the Board concluded that Taylor had engaged in unprofessional conduct. Specifically, they determined that his practice of veterinary medicine demonstrated repeated instances of gross negligence, gross incompetence, and a pattern of negligence. The Board determined that Taylor was grossly incompetent in his treatment of Hillary and Shakesbear, and grossly negligent in his treatment of Hillary, Shakesbear and Char. Hillary was an English bulldog who gave birth to two dead pups. Her owner brought her to Taylor to determine if she had delivered her entire litter. Without taking any x-rays, Taylor told Hillary’s owner that she had. Later that night Hillary bled heavily and almost died because there was still a pup left in her. In the case of Shakesbear, Taylor took one inadequate x-ray and told the family he should be euthanized. When they went for a second opinion, the veterinarian told the family that at least two x-rays should have been taken and Taylor’s diagnosis was inaccurate. Finally, Char, a shar-pei, died when Taylor was performing a routine spaying on her. Taylor determined that Char died because she had pneumonia and an irregularly shaped heart; however more credible evidence established that Taylor misdiagnosed the cause of death. The Board recommended that Taylor’s license be revoked, which the Director of the Division ordered. Taylor appealed the director’s decision to the Executive Director of the Division. The Executive Director upheld the order, and Taylor appealed.
ISSUES: 1) Whether Taylor’s license was improperly revoked because of a lack of evidence to support the conclusion that Taylor was incompetent and grossly negligent, and 2) whether the revocation of his license was contrary to prior Division practice.
HOLDING: 1) No, Taylor’s license was not improperly revoked due to a lack of evidence. Rather there was sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that Taylor acted with gross incompetence and gross negligence in treating certain animals, including Hillary, Shakesbear and Char. 2) The revocation of Taylor’s license was not contrary to prior Division practice. The Division never previously encountered a case where the misconduct sprang from personal professional incompetence, as in Taylor’s case.