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In re Judnick

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 8, 2013

In the Matter of Barbara L. Judnick, R. N. License No. 135260-5

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Minnesota Board of Nursing License No. 135260-5.

Peter B. Knapp, Kirsten A. Mickelson (certified student attorney), William Mitchell Law Clinic, St. Paul, Minnesota (for relator).

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Geoffrey S. Karls, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent).

Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Bjorkman, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

ROSS, Judge.

Registered nurse Barbara Judnick and the Minnesota Board of Nursing entered into a Stipulation and Order to resolve various allegations bearing on Judnick's fitness to serve as a nurse. The board suspended Judnick's nursing license indefinitely after she violated the terms of that stipulation in multiple ways. Judnick appeals this suspension by writ of certiorari, arguing that the Minnesota Board of Nursing violated her procedural due process rights and that the board's legal conclusions were not supported by substantial evidence. Because the board afforded Judnick adequate process and because substantial evidence supports its decision to suspend Judnick's license indefinitely, we affirm.

FACTS

Barbara Judnick is a registered nurse who tested positive for unprescribed morphine and was terminated from her job. Soon afterward, the Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP), a statutorily authorized monitoring agency, contacted Judnick to inform her that she may require monitoring to continue practicing as a nurse. Judnick failed to respond to HPSP, and HPSP reported the failure to the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Judnick met with the board of nursing review panel in April 2009. The panel evaluates complaints against nurses and settles them or commences contested-case hearings. The panel considered Judnick's behavior: she had failed to respond to HPSP's letters; been found to have engaged in child maltreatment; been convicted of driving while intoxicated; tested positive for unprescribed morphine; been twice discharged from nursing jobs; and engaged in nursing-practice deficiencies. Judnick told the panel that she suffered from anxiety and panic attacks and that these conditions had caused some of the misconduct and resulted in her receiving therapy and medication.

The panel continued the proceeding so that Judnick could undergo drug testing (for which Judnick tested negative) and provide waivers for her health and employment records (which Judnick was slow to provide). Judnick acknowledged difficulties communicating at work and asserted that she had been diagnosed with depression. The panel determined that the concerns about Judnick could be resolved through HPSP mental-health monitoring.

Judnick entered into a participation agreement with HPSP that outlined her monitoring plan and treatment requirements. This agreement required her to meet with a therapist and psychiatrist and to sign and return releases by December 2, 2010, allowing HPSP to receive reports from her employer and medical-care providers. She was also obligated to find a worksite monitor who would send these reports to HPSP.

Four days after the December deadline, HPSP had not received the required employer and medical releases. Judnick claimed that she was struggling to get an appointment with a mental-health professional. Judnick's HPSP case manager extended her deadline but soon learned that Judnick had resigned from her job the previous month. HPSP discharged Judnick from the program for failing to report the resignation and for failing to comply with the HPSP requirements. HPSP reported Judnick's discharge to the board of nursing review panel.

The panel sent Judnick a letter asking her to explain her conduct. Judnick alleged that she had phone problems and could not access mental-health providers. She assured the panel that she would obtain health insurance, return to HPSP, and comply with the participation agreement. To avoid prosecuting a contested-case proceeding against Judnick's nursing license, the panel proposed a Stipulation and Consent ...


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