Review of Administrative Board Decision In the Matter of the License Revocation of AMGAD HESSEIN, M.D. Appellate Division Docket No.: A-3308-15T3
Submitted by Medical License Defense Attorney, Jeffrey Hark.
In this case the New Jersey Medical Board moved to revoke the medical license of a doctor who plead guilty in criminal court to illegal billing, falsifying medical records, and providing medical treatment not medically necessary. The Administrative Law Judge developed a thorough and complete record with testimony from several expert witnesses, former employers and patients. The key to this decision is the standard of review the appellate court employs while reviewing all of New Jersey’s Board decision. The court stated:
“Our scope of review of an administrative agency’s final determination is limited. In re Herrmann, 192 N.J. 19, 27 (2007). A “strong presumption of reasonableness attaches” to the agency’s decision. In re Carroll, 339 N.J. Super. 429, 437 (App. Div. 2001) (quoting In re Vey, 272 N.J. Super. 199, 205 (App. Div. 1993), aff’d, 135 N.J. 306 (1994)). The burden is upon the appellant to demonstrate grounds for reversal. McGowan v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 347 N.J. Super. 544, 563 (App. Div. 2002); see also Bowden v. Bayside State Prison, 268 N.J. Super. 301, 304 (App. Div. 1993) (stating that “[t]he burden of showing the agency’s action was arbitrary, unreasonable[,] or capricious rests upon the appellant”). To that end, we will “not disturb an administrative agency’s determinations or findings unless there is a clear showing that:
- the agency did not follow the law;
- the decision was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable;or
- the decision was not supported by substantial evidence.” In re Virtua-West Jersey Hosp. Voorhees for a Certificate of Need, 194 N.J. 413, 422 (2008).
It is not our place to second-guess or substitute our judgment for that of the agency and, therefore, we do not “engage in an independent assessment of the evidence as if [we] were the court of first instance.” In re Taylor, 158 N.J. 644, 656 (1999) (quoting State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 471 (1999)). Additionally, we give “due regard to the opportunity of the one who heard the witnesses to judge . . . their credibility[,]” and therefore accept their findings of fact “when supported by adequate, substantial and credible evidence[.]” Id. at 656. (first quoting Close v. Kordulak Bros., 44 N.J. 589, 599 (1965); and then quoting Rova Farms Resort, Inc. v. Investors Ins. Co., 65 N.J. 474, 484 (1974)). Applying these principles, we discern no basis for disturbing the Board’s well- reasoned determination that appellant submitted numerous fraudulent bills, created fictitious treatment records, and provided “grossly deficient” and “grossly negligent” medical care to patients that constituted a “gross deviation” from the required standard of care. “
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