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No due process violation in failure to adopt board minutes

A state board did not violate the due process rights of a prospective licensee whose application was repeatedly denied, the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii found in an August 31 ruling. (Lodi v. State of Hawaii Board of Medical Examiners).

In the appeal of his discipline to the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii , Lodi alleged that the Circuit Court and the BME (State of Hawaii Board of Medical Examiners) made multiple procedural errors that led to the denial of his licensure application, and by extension, violated his due process rights.

One of Lodi’s primary contentions, to which the court devoted considerable discussion, centered around the issue of “board minutes.” Lodi claimed that the board violated HRS § 92–9 because “Board executive session reports were never approved or adopted by the board as board minutes and therefore… cannot serve as a basis for denial of Lodi’s application.”

 The court rejected this argument, as state law “does not require an agency to formally adopt executive session reports as official minutes” and because Lodi failed to provide any other legal authority for this proposition.”

Lodi also contends BME meeting minutes do not contain “any record of any votes by the member [sic] of [BME] to adopt any specific facts or basis for denial. HRS § 92–9 requires that meeting minutes contain “a record, by individual member, of any votes taken[.]”

The Court wrote, “Although the minutes do not specifically reflect the votes of each individual member, they show for each meeting during which Lodi’s application or requests for reconsideration were denied, the members who were present, the existence of a quorum, that a majority of the members voted to deny Lodi’s application or request for reconsideration, the reasons for the denial, and the individual members who voted against the majority or abstained from voting.”

Further, the Court noted that Lodi failed to demonstrate how the board failed to record the votes of individual members correlated to a bias toward Lodi or “warrants invalidating the BME’s decision.”

The minutes argument also served to undermine another of Lodi’s arguments that letters delivered to him by the Executive Director “did not reflect the decision of the BME.” Instead, the court found the opposite to be true: that in each consideration of Lodi’s numerous application submissions, the majority voted to deny and their minutes were “adopted and confirmed” by the Executive Officer.

Lodi also claimed that his due process rights were violated “because BME failed to follow statutorily mandated procedures.” He argued that timely notice of the reasons for denying his application was not given prior to the notice of denial. In response, the court pointed out that the law does not require the BME to inform an individual of its reasons prior to lending its decision, but rather “with the notification of denial.”