Licensed Professionals: Options For Resolving Disciplinary Proceedings
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford | October 15, 2021
For licensed professionals, receiving a disciplinary complaint can be a harrowing experience. For many, these complaints come out of the blue – lawyers can receive complaints because the outcome wasn’t what the client expected, doctors can receive complaints because the treatment wasn’t successful. In other cases, you may be facing a disciplinary proceeding due to a criminal conviction or even because you know you did something wrong. Whatever the case may be, understanding your options is critical for determining how to proceed. If you are facing disciplinary proceedings, a Maryland employment lawyer can discuss your options with you and help you develop the best possible strategy for dealing with a complaint.
A Must – Cooperate with the Board
Before we discuss the potential options, it is important to note that you must cooperate with the investigation and subsequent proceedings. Refusing to respond to requests, refusing to turn over documents, or otherwise cooperating with the Board will only lead to further problems.
That said, blind cooperation can jeopardize your case. Disciplinary boards take complaints very seriously and they are aggressively pursued. The best thing you can do is contact a Maryland employment lawyer as soon as possible after receiving notice of the complaint.
Your First Option – Fight the Allegations
If you are confident that you did nothing wrong, the best course of action is to dispute the allegations contained in the complaint. Before doing that, however, it may be worthwhile to conduct your own internal investigation to ensure that you don’t have any exposure. Mistakes made by staff due to poor recordkeeping or other organizational problems can be used against you. Furthermore, identifying potential weaknesses before the Board conducts its own investigation can be highly beneficial to formulating your defense. In short, you want to begin collecting the documentation you need to refute the allegations as soon as possible, as well as reconciling any inconsistencies or other potential issues. A Maryland employment lawyer can assess both the case against you and the evidence you have in your favor.
Of course, this may mean that you will have to follow the process through to a quasi-judicial hearing. Preparing for the hearing can be very time-consuming, and the hearing itself can be incredibly stressful. Lastly, there is no guarantee that you will get the outcome you hope for. A Maryland employment lawyer can also evaluate your chances of success and advise on how to proceed.
Your Second Option – Attempt to Settle the Matter
Even professionals can make mistakes. Whether it was a lapse in judgment or intentional misconduct, there are times where admitting fault and attempting to resolve the complaint via settlement can be beneficial. The Board may accept your admission of wrongdoing and factor it into a more lenient punishment. In addition, admitting your mistake will likely avoid a hearing and resolve the matter more quickly so that you can move forward.
That said, admitting fault is a very serious step and can result in grave consequences, including the suspension or revocation of your license. In addition, accepting fault doesn’t necessarily mean that the Board will be lenient, and once you have admitted it, you may have done irreparable damage to your case.
A Maryland employment lawyer can help you decide whether or not settlement makes sense in your case. They can also help you understand the potential risks of admitting fault and what kind of consequences you may face. In any event, we strongly recommend that you speak with a Maryland employment lawyer before admitting fault and attempting to settle the complaint.
A Third Option – Appeal the Decision
Whether your settlement attempt failed or you decided to fight the allegations, you are entitled to a hearing before the disciplinary board that will determine the outcome of your case. Unfortunately, boards do not always arrive at the correct outcome. They may have chosen to ignore significant evidence or imposed an unnecessarily harsh punishment. In that situation, you likely have the option to appeal the decision or request the Board to reconsider the matter.
If available, requests for reconsideration are usually an easy step to take and can arrive at a result relatively quickly. However, the chances of a different outcome can be somewhat slim. Regardless, you probably have a right to appeal the decision to a local court. While this means that you will be engaged in litigation, you will get the opportunity for a full and fair review of the entire matter. That said, litigation can be expensive, and it can take several months to conclude. And, of course, there is no guarantee that you will reach a different outcome. A Maryland employment lawyer can help you decide whether appealing the decision makes sense in your case.
Contact Maryland Employment Lawyer J.W. Stafford Today
Disciplinary proceedings for licensed professionals are a very serious matter. Maryland employment lawyer J.W. Stafford has extensive experience in helping professionals defend themselves and resolve complaints before their respective disciplinary boards and can provide you with the guidance you need. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact us today at 410-514-6099.