After receiving an order revoking or disciplining a license, there is a less expensive alternative to a direct appeal that a licensee can take just after getting an adverse decision but before attempting an appeal in the courts: a Petition for Reconsideration filed directly with the state agency. Petitions for Reconsideration are the licensee’s opportunity to request, essentially, that the state agency change its mind about the Decision and impose either lesser discipline or no discipline at all. Any Petition for Reconsideration should be accompanied by a Request for Stay—a legal request to delay the effect of a Decision to allow an agency time to consider the Petition. This request, which can be filed by an experienced license defense attorney any time before the effective date of the Decision, is often granted, allowing a licensee precious additional time to work or conclude business before the imposition of discipline.
As a general rule, Petitions for Reconsideration can be most effective when the licensee has not had the opportunity to present a defense of any kind to the allegations against him/her. For example, if an insurance licensee has had his license summarily revoked due to a felony conviction or loss of another license (a subject we have written about on our blog), the Petition for Reconsideration can represent the licensee’s only opportunity to present mitigation and rehabilitation evidence to a decision-maker at the Department of Insurance. Even in situations where a licensee has received a default judgment (in other words, failed to assert their right to a hearing or failed to appear at a scheduled hearing, leading to discipline, often revocation), a Petition for Reconsideration can be a cost-effective method of giving the agency a chance to see evidence of a licensee’s good character and fitness for practice.
Even in situations where a hearing has taken place and led to a revocation, a Petition for Reconsideration can help address mistakes that were made at hearing. Sometimes licensees fail to present mitigation and rehabilitation evidence on their own behalf. A well-crafted Petition by an experienced licensing attorney can present strong evidence to the agency that a judge or agency never had the chance to consider. Other times, a judge may justify his or her ruling on the lack of certain evidence that the licensee could have provided. In these situations, a prompt Petition for Reconsideration can make the difference between revocation and saving a license.
A good rule of thumb for license defense: the earlier you involve an attorney, the most likely you are to succeed. Nevertheless, if you have suffered an adverse result at hearing, contact one of our experienced license attorneys immediately. There are immediate steps that you can take to protect your license.