Appeals of Board Actions to District Court
Once a nurse has filed a motion for rehearing in a timely manner that has been overruled by the Texas Board of Nursing, the licensee becomes eligible to file an appeal seeking judicial review of the Board’s order. Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), all appeals of this kind must be filed in the District Courts of Travis County. If the appeal is successful, a District Court Judge will enter a judgment reversing and/or remanding the matter to the Nursing Board for the entry of another order. Either party may then appeal the District Court’s ruling all the way up to the Court of Appeals or even the Texas Supreme Court.
Filing an appeal may be a necessary action for you to take in order to protect your nursing license. Don’t leave your livelihood and license up to chance. Enlist the support of our Texas nursing license defense lawyers of the Leichter Law Firm by calling 512-495-9995 today.
Power’s of the District Court
The District Court’s authority over an appeal from a Board of Nursing Order is specifically described in the APA. The APA permits the court to reverse and remand the Board Order if it fails the “substantial evidence” standard, a standard of review that is highly favorable to the Board of Nursing. Contrary to its name, substantial evidence does not mean a great deal of evidence, but in fact merely means the evidence was sufficient such that a reasonable person could have reached the same decision. This standard will still be satisfied if it is also true a reasonable person could have disagreed with the Board’s decision. In fact, this standard is weak enough that even if the bulk of the evidence weighs against the Board of Nursing’s order, the court may still uphold it if it believes the Board order is reasonable.
An appeal from a Nursing Board order has a greater chance of succeeding if the Administrative Law Judge’s Proposal for Decision has detailed findings of fact supporting the nurse’s position. These findings of fact are critical because the court must rely solely on the record prepared at SOAH and is generally unable to accept new evidence. If the Nursing Board’s order ignores or is contrary to the factual findings that is often a good grounds for appeal.
As the administrative appeals process can be lengthy, the Travis County District Courts are also empowered to issue a temporary injunction against a Texas Board of Nursing order. An injunction will suspend the Board’s order until there is a final judgment on the nurse’s petition for judicial review. Because it is not unusual for an appeal of a Nursing Board order to last six months to a year or more, this temporary injunction is extremely valuable as it allows the nurse to continue to work and avoid other imposed penalties until a final decision is reached.
The substantial evidence standard of review in District Court favors the Texas Board of Nursing and is strictly prescribed by the Texas Administrative Procedure Act. This burden often catches attorneys inexperienced in administrative law unprepared and unaware of what is needed to make a successful appeal. Fortunately, our nursing license defense attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm are thoroughly familiar with this standard and have experience successfully litigating administrative appeals against professional licensing agencies, such as the Texas Board of Nursing. Our lawyers know how to craft and argue a case successfully so that a nurse harmed by an order entered by the Texas Board of Nursing has a chance of receiving a positive outcome. Sometimes the only way to prevail against the Texas Board of Nursing is to receive a District Court judgment forcing the Board to reenter an Order in the licensee’s favor. Contact us at 512-495-9995 to discuss how we can help you today.