In its January 24, 2018 unreported opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (“Maryland Appellate Court”), which is Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, held that the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners (“Board”) had the authority to sanction violation of a consent agreement as a violation of a Board order, that the Board’s decision to revoke the appellant dentist’s license was supported by substantial evidence, and that the Board’s decision to revoke his license, given the evidence presented, was not arbitrary or capricious.
The Board had found, after a hearing and a review of the record, that the dentist was in violation of the terms of the earlier consent order that he had entered into with the Board that required that he abstain from drugs and alcohol and that his employer write quarterly reports regarding him. The Board stated that twice he was found to have cocaine in his system by hair sampling and that cocaine was also found in his system through urinalysis. The Board had found that only four reports were produced in a span of over two years, and that after being contacted by the Board through certified mail, the dentist wrote two reports.
The Board determined that by failing to comply with the terms of his order, the dentist violated Md. Code Ann., Health Occ. § 4-315(a) and that the dentist’s license should be revoked for failing to abide by the terms of his consent order, which determination was made in accordance with the Board’s sanctioning guidelines. COMAR 10.44.31. The Board found that the dentist had an extensive disciplinary history with the Board and his failure to abide by the terms of the order has the potential to cause serious patient harm (COMAR 10.44.31.05(C)(1)(a) & (c)4), and that the dentist had previously been unsuccessful in his attempts at rehabilitation (COMAR 10.44.31.05.(C)(1)(j)). Lastly, the Board found that these were the aggravating factors that best fit this case, and these aggravating factors trumped any of the possible mitigating factors.
The Maryland Appellate Court held “that under COMAR and § 4-315, the Board was authorized to revoke [the dentist’s] license for violation of his consent agreement,” stating that “[t]here were a total of twelve violations regarding quarterly reports and a urinalysis report from Friends Medical Laboratory on November 30, 2011. Given the above, a reasonable mind could have reached the same conclusion as the Board, that [the dentist] had violated the consent agreement.”
The Maryland Appellate Court further held that “the Board’s action was not ‘disproportionate’ or ‘extreme and egregious.’ Their decision was fully in accordance with the substantial evidence and was not an erroneous conclusion of law.”
Source Hyde v. Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners, No. 2618, September Term, 2014.
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