On December 2, 1010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against the Texas Medical Board (“TMB”), remanding a suit brought by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon (“AAPS”) and allowing the case to proceed. The AAPS complaint accused the TMB of the following:
- manipulation of anonymous complaints;
- conflicts of interest;
- violation of due process;
- breach of privacy; and
- retaliation against those who speak out.
The key issue in the case was whether AAPS had standing to bring the action. The TMB argued that only individual physicians have standing to sue, but AAPS argued that individuals could not typically prove a pattern of abuse involving other physicians and futher, physicians fear retaliation for complaining about the TMB. The Court noted that, “the Board manipulated anonymous complaints,” that the former Board president targeted physicians, and that “anonymous complaints allegedly were filed by a New York insurance company seeking to avoid paying … for claims.” The unanimous Court further described the allegations as “rather dramatic claims,” and sent the case to the federal trial court so that discovery can proceed.