Block v. Ambach

537 N.E.2d 181 (1989)


The appeal represents two cases that were consolidated. A 16-year-old female who had attempted suicide was admitted to a Psychiatric Center. Block (D) was employed as a licensed practical nurse and a registered professional nurse. Block (D) was charged by P with professional misconduct for having had a sexual relationship with the complainant while she was hospitalized and after her discharge. Block (D) contends that these charges were insufficiently specific because of the excessively vague time periods alleged. The Hearing Panel of the Department of Education rejected this contention and Block (D) was found guilty of each of the charges. Block's (D) license was revoked. Block (D) instituted this article 78 proceeding in the Appellate Division claiming the proceeding was unconstitutional because it deprives the courts of jurisdiction to determine whether administrative charges satisfy due process. The Appellate Division confirmed and dismissed the petition. Ackerman (D) was licensed to practice medicine. Under the pretense of providing psychiatric treatment Ackerman (D) allegedly engaged in numerous sexual acts with patients and encouraged lewd and lascivious conduct during both individual and group therapy sessions. P charged him with professional misconduct and instituted disciplinary proceedings. He was charged with the fraudulent practice of medicine in inducing two of his patients to engage in sexual intercourse with him, to engage in lewd conduct, and to use inappropriate drugs during time periods covering 26 months, 78 months, 46 months, and 53 months. Thirty-five witnesses testified before a Hearing Panel of the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct. He denied that A, B, and D were his patients or that he had engaged in sexual activity with any of them. He claimed that the group sessions he led were merely gatherings of people engaged in the discussion of a variety of topics and did not involve any form of psychotherapy treatment. The Panel sustained the charges and recommended permanent revocation of his license and a $25,000 fine. The Commissioner of Health recommended to the Board of Regents that the Panel's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of license revocation be accepted in full. P accepted the Committee's recommendations and ordered the revocation of Ackerman's (D) license. Ackerman (D) instituted this article 78 proceeding seeking to annul P's determination.