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12/20/94 DR. DIANE BAY HUMENANSKY v. MINNESOTA

December 20, 1994

DR. DIANE BAY HUMENANSKY, APPELLANT
v.
THE MINNESOTA BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS, ETC., ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from District Court, Ramsey County; Hon. Kenneth J. Fitzpatrick, Judge. District Court File No. C5-94-2638.

Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Jones, Judge.*

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Short

An allegation of "irreparable loss of privacy" fails to demonstrate irreparable harm sufficient to support a claim for temporary injunctive relief. Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 6(a) (1992) does not violate either the Minnesota or the United States Constitutions.

SHORT, Judge

This case questions the authority of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice ("board") to require a licensed physician to submit to an examination under Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 6(a) (1992). On appeal from the trial court's denial of her request for temporary injunctive relief, Dr. Diane Humenansky argues: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in concluding that an examination would cause her inconvenience but not irreparable harm; and (2) Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 6(a) is unconstitutionally vague and violates her constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches, to due process of law, and to privacy.

FACTS

Humenansky is a duly licensed psychiatrist in Minnesota and is subject to the board's jurisdiction. The board received twelve disciplinary complaints against Humenansky alleging nine different grounds for disciplinary action. Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 1(f), (g), (k), (1), (m), (q), (r), (s), (t) (1992).

Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 214.10, subd. 1 (1992), the board asked the Minnesota Attorney General to conduct an investigation into Humenansky's practice of medicine. The Complaint Review Committee ("committee"), composed of three board members and a designee from the attorney general's office, conducted an initial investigation and held a conference with Humenansky. See Minn. Stat. § 214.103, subd. 6(a) (attempts at resolution). In June 1992, the committee found probable cause to believe Humenansky could not practice medicine with reasonable skill and assure her patients' safety; therefore, it ordered Humenansky to submit to a mental and physical examination.

Humenansky asked the board to postpone her examination so she could address the committee's complaints about her treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder patients. The board agreed and Humenansky met with the committee. Following that meeting, the board asked a psychiatric expert to review the committee's investigation into Humenansky's practice. The expert concluded Humenansky's "personal and loose responses to questions, the disorganized rambling discharge summaries, her inconsistency with patient care, her repeated significant and dangerous boundary problems pose serious threats to respectful, consistent, noninjurious patient care." The expert recommended Humenansky undergo both a psychiatric evaluation and psychological testing.

In January 1994, the board again ordered Humenansky to submit to a mental and physical examination. Humenansky sued the board, its executive director, and the state, asking the trial court to enjoin the board's order and to declare Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 6(a) (1992) (authorizing mental examination and access to medical data) unconstitutional. In March, the trial court temporarily restrained implementation of the board's order and demanded clarification regarding the nature of the tests to be performed on Humenansky. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied Humenansky's request for a temporary injunction and upheld the statute's constitutionality.

ISSUES

I. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in denying Humenansky's request for temporary injunctive relief?

II. Is Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 6(a) (1992) constitutional?

ANALYSIS

If the board has probable cause to believe that a physician is unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients because of a mental or physical condition, the board may direct the physician to submit to a mental or physical examination. Minn. Stat. § 147.091, subd. 6(a) (1992). The statute provides in relevant part:

For the purpose of this subdivision every physician licensed under this chapter is deemed to have consented to submit to a mental or physical examination when directed in writing by the board and further to have waived all objections to the admissibility of the examining physicians' testimony or examination reports on the ground that the same constitute a privileged communication.

Id. As a condition of licensure in Minnesota, Humenansky gave her consent to a board-directed examination. A majority of states have similar licensure requirements. *fn1 By this lawsuit, Humenansky challenges ...


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