Saturday, May 4, 2013

Geotes v. Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine case brief

Geotes v. Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine case brief 986 F.Supp. 1028

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff veterinarian filed a 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 action against defendants, Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine and individual Board members, seeking an injunction against the Board's administrative proceedings and further seeking declaratory relief based on allegations that the Mississippi Veterinary Practice Law of 1946, Miss. Code Ann. § 73-31-1 et seq., on its face and as applied, violated his due process rights.

FACTS: The Board instituted disciplinary action against the veterinarian upon receipt of complaints that he permitted unlicensed employees to perform surgery and prescribe drugs. The veterinarian filed a judicial action to stop the administrative proceedings. The Board filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and (6), asserting that the court should abstain pursuant to Younger abstention principles. The court granted the Board's motion. The court held that abstention was warranted when judicial or judicial-in-nature state proceedings were ongoing, the proceedings implicated important state interests, and there was an adequate opportunity in the state proceedings to raise constitutional issues. The court found all factors satisfied. Meanwhile, the Board's proceedings resulted in suspension of the veterinarian's license. The court rejected the veterinarian's claim that because the Board was biased, abstention would not be proper. The court found that even if the Board was biased, its action was a fait accompli that could be remedied but not prevented, and that abstention was still proper to allow the appeal of the board's decision.

CONCLUSION: The court granted the motion to dismiss the veterinarian's judicial action in which he sought to stop the disciplinary proceedings instituted against him by the Board. The court held that it should defer to the state proceedings because the state proceedings were ongoing, they implicated important state interests, and the veterinarian would have an adequate opportunity to raise any constitutional issues.

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