California Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation Attorney Lawyer

California Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation Attorney LawyerA nursing home administrator who alleged that state board officials violated his civil rights failed to submit the necessary factual information to state his claim, but his claims against a board investigator who was found to have presented false testimony are allowed to proceed, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled January 28 (David Ormiston v. State of California, Charles Teddington, Ed Quam, Board of Nursing Home Administration, Brenda Klutz).

The case stemmed from an April 2000 decision by David Ormiston, administrator at a skilled nursing facility in Davis, California, to authorize the emergency discharge of a resident because the resident posed an immediate and substantial danger to other residents and staff at the facility. The state Board of Nursing Home Administration sent an investigator, Charles Teddington, to the facility in April 2003, and four months later, board officials authorized the filing of an administrative complaint against Ormiston.

However, an administrative law judge found that Ormiston’s discharge decision was not only justified but required under state licensing regulations, and the testimony of investigator Teddington “was false and tainted the entire proceeding.”

Following this ruling, Ormiston filed suit against the board and its officials as well as Teddington, alleging that he suffered loss of reputation, incurred attorneys’ fees rebutting the false allegations, and suffered emotional distress associated with the prosecution. Board employees Ed Quam and Brenda Klutz, Ormiston claimed, failed to train, supervise, or control Teddington properly.

The court found that Ormiston was simply making “conclusory allegations” about the supervisors Quam and Klutz, and those claims should be dismissed, along with the claims against the board, which is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. However, his allegations against Teddington “satisfy the plausibility standard,” and can proceed.

© 2011 Professional Licensing Report, published by ProForum, a non-profit research group, www.plrnet.org. Reprinted by permission.

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