Although it could seem like you, the licensed professional, are up against powerful boards and officials and legal issues, you still have protections and rights. One of the protections for licensees that are facing action against a licensing board is timeliness. Timing limits and restrictions protect the licensee from long, drawn out legal issues and do not give boards the opportunity to waste the licensee’s precious time.
Time Restrictions on the Licensee
One of the times restrictions put on the licensee is the time frame to make a request for a hearing after receiving notice. It is completely understandable for a licensee to feel overwhelmed when getting notice that they are being accused of doing something wrong, but even if the licensee is unsure about how to move forward, it is best to request a hearing, and withdraw it later, if needed. The time frame given for requesting a hearing is strict and usually cannot be extended without showing good reason.
Time Restrictions on the Board
One of the time restrictions put on a disciplinary board is a forced timely decision. Not only does notice need to be timely, but the board’s decision after a hearing must be timely as well. According to the UAPA and C.G.S. §4-180: “Each agency shall proceed with reasonable dispatch to conclude any matter pending before it and, in all contested cases, shall render a final decision within ninety days following the close of evidence or the due date for the filing of briefs, whichever is later, in such proceedings.” The term “reasonable dispatch” is not defined anywhere, so a timeframe is generally established by regulations on the specific board. Although final decisions have a limitation, these hearings can often feel less limited because of continuances.
The licensee is protected not only by the statute, but also by the justice system, because if a board fails to comply with the time limit, the licensee can apply to the superior court to require the board to release the decision. The licensee and their attorney can first try to address the time issue with the board before seeking help from the superior court.
If a licensee decides to appeal the decision from the hearing board, that appeal must be immediately identified and pled to avoid a possible dismissal at the appellate stage. Right when the request for appeal is identified, the statute of limitations starts to run. The statute of limitations is a time limitation that is placed on the licensee that wants to appeal a final decision and prevents the licensee from having unlimited time to have this decision reviewed.
At every stage in the administrative process, there are time limits and constraints on both sides. Being aware of the limitations and having the mindset that it is better to be safe than sorry is important. If you are at any point in the administrative process and need counseling on time constraints or anything else, reach out to The License Lawyers to see how we can help you.