In the matter of the suspension/revocation of the medical license of Leonard Joachim, MD
Submitted by New Jersey Medical License Defense Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
The issue in this case is the final revocation of the physician’s license after he was provided two prior probationary periods, significant restrictions on his medical license, significant prior fines and assessments. Regardless of his substantial prior criminal conduct the medical board still allowed the doctor to practice medicine and endangered the public.
At the time of this third criminal sexual conduct violation the doctor was charged with having a sexually inappropriate contact with a patient for the third or fourth time in his career. The doctor’s first disciplinary proceeding commenced after he pled guilty in 1995 to the 4th degree criminal sexual conduct.
At this time, the doctor appealed to the Appellate Division arguing that the Board’s decision to finally revoke his license was capricious, arbitrary, unreasonable and without factual support in the record.
The Appellate Division determined the case all is well settled in this regard and any Board decision has a strong presumption of reasonableness when it exercises its statutorily delegated responsibilities. The Appellate Division will only upset an agency decision (here the Board of Medical Examiners) if the appellant can make a clear showing of arbitrary, capricious and unreasonableness decision that is missing a factual and legal basis. The reviewing court can only reverse a Board decision that lacks fair support of evidence that violates legislative policies. In this case the Board is charged by the legislature in the Medical Practices Act found at N.J.S.A. 45:9-1 through 27. The New Jersey Supreme Court has previously recognized the Medical Board’s supervision of the medical field as critical to the state’s obligation to protect the general health of the public.
In addition, the Board has the unquestioned power under the Uniform Enforcement Act, NJSA 45:1-14 through 27 to revoke the license of any physician who has engaged in gross malpractice, repeated malpractice, professional misconduct, has been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude or fail to comply with any act or regulation and ministered by the Board. The Licensee in this case has clearly admitted to have failed to comply with the act and regulation by the Board.
In addition, the Appellate Court has stated that it cannot substitute its own views of whether a particular penalty is correct for those of the administrative agency or Board charged with making that decision regarding those it is statutorily charged with monitoring.
As a result, in this case the Appellate Court found absolutely no basis to reverse the Medical Boards well reasoned opinion that was supported by the facts, the licensee’s prior history, and the legislative intent of the MPA and the UFA.