The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling and allowed the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) to continue its lawsuit against the Texas Medical Board (the Board). The lower court had previously found that the AAPS lacked standing (ability of a party to demonstrate to the court connection to and harm from the law or action) to proceed in a suit against the Board. The Fifth Circuit has directed the lower court to hear the case.
AAPS sued the Board under a federal discrimination statute for declaratory and injunctive relief. It claimed, among other things that that a board member used anonymous complaints against certain physicians, that an insurance company did the same, that a former Board member was operating at the Board with a significant conflict of interest , by arbitrarily rejecting unfavorable SOAH rulings, by releasing unproven facts and records from disciplinary hearings, and retaliated against physicians who complained about the Board.
As the Court concluded “…we express no opinion on whether AAPS will ultimately be able to prove its rather dramatic claims” but AAPS will have an opportunity to try to prove these allegations before a federal judge.