This is the next post in my series dealing with a Registered Nurse having to defend their license before the Arizona Board of Nursing. My last article discussed how nurses can defend against drug use or criminal allegations. It is important to understand that all hope is not lost and that you have options in such a situation. In this article I will address another important topic – appealing the suspension or revocation of your license. If you have lost your license then you have the option to appeal. I cannot stress enough that Phoenix nurses should contact an attorney immediately to ensure that this right is exercised.
Appeals of a nursing license suspension (or revocation) will be heard by the Maricopa County Superior Court. It is important to understand that an appeal is not a new hearing or a “do over” of the process you went through previously. For the most part the Superior Court will not rehash what happened and will assume that the previous findings of the Administrative Law Judge are accurate. The Superior Court’s role is to determine whether mistakes of law were made or whether your rights were somehow violated during the previous stage of the process. If the Court finds that your appeal has merit then it has two options. It can reverse the decision outright, meaning that your license will be reinstated, or it can send the case back to the Administrative Law Judge for a new hearing. Which remedy the Court will choose will depend on the nature of the error which was made.
The process will begin by filing a Notice that your case is being appealed. An opening brief will be filed with the Court and the Nursing Board will have an opportunity to file an Opposition. You will then be allowed to file a Reply to that Opposition and an oral argument will be held before the Judge. An oral argument is not a trial – it is simply the attorneys arguing the merits of the case. The Judge will either issue a ruling immediately or will issue an Order at a later date, after having considered all relevant issues. There is no set time in which the Judge must issue an Order.
Appeals are a complex area of law and many attorneys do not handle them. They require a detailed knowledge of a particular area of law – such as professional licensing defense in matters involving nurses. They require an ability to go through an entire Court record and spot issues which indicate an error was made. The filing of such matters are time sensitive and if you wait too long you can lose your right to appeal. It is, therefore, imperative that you contact a nursing license appeals lawyer as soon as possible. In addition to Phoenix we represent professionals in other Maricopa County cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert. We also assist Pima County residents in Tucson. We are ready to assist you.