Withrow v. Larkin

421 U.S. 35 (1975)


Wisconsin forbids the practice of medicine without a license. The Examining Board that issued such licenses was empowered to warn and reprimand, temporarily to suspend, or to institute criminal action or action to revoke a license when it found probable cause under criminal or revocation statutes. Larkin (P) was practicing medicine and was investigated for his abortion practices. During the first hearing, P was present but was not allowed to cross-examine. P filed his complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 eventually seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order preventing D from investigating him and from conducting the investigative hearing. After the first hearing and lawsuit by P, notice was sent to P that a contested hearing would be held to determine whether he had practiced under another name, split fees, or allowed unlicensed doctors to perform abortions. P eventually obtained an injunction against the contested hearing in that it was unfair and unconstitutional to have the investigator made the final decision as an adjudicator. D complied and did not go forward with the hearing. Instead, it held a final investigative session and found P guilty as charged. A three-judge panel found that the process given to P was unconstitutional as a violation of due process guarantees and enjoined the Board from enforcing it. The board (D) appealed.