TBVME v. Kristen Lindsey, D.V.M. – The Legal Process

The legal process of deciding whether or not to revoke Kristen Lindsey’s veterinarian’s license is long and convoluted. It is confusing to be honest. It could be more straightforward but the overriding purpose is to ensure that the correct decision is arrived at and the livelihood of the veterinarian is not taken from him/her unjustly.

Complaint to TBVME on Kristen Lindsey

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

On 28th August 2015 TBVME found Lindsey in violation of the Texas Veterinary Licensing Act and/or Rules of Professional Conduct for shooting, through the head, a neighbour’s cat named Tiger with a bow and arrow. You have probably heard about the case.

Following that decision, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) decided (voted) to revoke her license after a hearing. It was reported on 1st October 2015 on PoC.

This is the complicated bit. As I understand it, the decision to revoke Lindsey’s license would have stood if it had been accepted by Lindsey. As I see it that could have been the end of the matter.

Note: I believe it is fair and correct to say that Lindsey’s veterinary license was revoked but it was a technical revocation because the revocation was pending the outcome of her “appeal”. Some people have argued that her license was not revoked. I feel that is slightly misleading because if TBVME decided to revoke her license it is surely revoked at that instant but the revocation is held in abeyance while the long legal process continues to its conclusion. I have been criticised for taking this point of view.

As expected, Lindsey in effect “appealed” the decision by rejecting the decision to revoke her license. This automatically forced the matter to the next stage: a more formal and contested hearing in what appears to be a courtroom setting. This hearing is probably quite like a criminal or civil court hearing with judges. That hearing is called: State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH). It took place on 25th – 26th April 2016.

Office of Administrative Hearings

The outcome of the SOAH has not been decided. Both parties (Lindsey’s team versus those who argue her license should be revoked) submit written closing arguments to SOAH by 10th June 2016. Then both parties can submit written replies to each other’s closing arguments by 1st July 2016. You can see that this is a lengthy and careful process.

At that point the process is still far from concluded. The SOAH judges have 60 days to issue a Proposal for Decision (PFD). Note that the judges don’t make a final decision – a court order – but a “proposal”. Once again the parties can respond to the PFD in writing.

Then and only then is the PFD presented to TBVME at “its next open meeting”. This is expected to occur on 18th October 2016.

We can see, therefore, that the final decision to revoke her license or not is pending by which I mean it has not yet been made.

It is an exceptionally long process full of checks and balances. It seems to be as lengthy as the normal criminal process. It certainly appears to be longer than than the normal civil court process.

Sometime after the 18th October we would expect to hear the final decision of TBVME having before it all the information from this lengthy process.

Important note: If I have this wrong then please tell me and I’ll correct the error quickly. It is easy to get this wrong I have to say!

P.S. Someone with a limited grasp of the English language, judging by their headline, copied a Huffington Post article on the revocation of Lindsey’s license (this is a violation of copyright) to the 3dprintinghome.net website. They misunderstood the process and declared that her license had been revoked indicating a final decision had been made. This is obviously incorrect. The author’s headline is: VETERINARY BOARD DECISION!!!!….. LICENSE FOR TEXAS VET WHO KILLED CAT WITH ARROW ARE REVOKED (bad grammar).

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