Today’s question is whether or not a complaint filed against my professional license will open me up to civil liability and/or monetary payments. So let’s take the first part of that question. Will it open you up to civil liability? Civil liability is essentially somebody filing a lawsuit in state or federal court against you to recoup money or recoup damages. A lot really goes into that, but I’m just going to keep this to a relatively simple and short version. Just because you have a complaint filed against you by a licensing entity does not necessarily open you up to civil liability. There still has to be certain elements of whatever cause of action that somebody is filing against you in state or federal court that they would have to meet to recoup whatever monetary loss that they would have or property loss or such and such. So could it open you up to civil liability? Not necessarily. Although you could end up having kind of like a parallel investigation by somebody that’s looking to file a lawsuit against you. Maybe they hire a private investigator, and that person starts looking into a lot of the same things that a Board or state agency does, and they get a civil lawsuit as a result of that. But just specifically speaking about whether the Board or state agency’s investigation opened you up, no. They’re just looking at whether you violated the administrative code or general statute through that licensing Board or agency and the rules that they have established or have been established by the General Assembly for that.
Moving on to the second part of the question concerning monetary compensation, within the scope of the licensing entity, if a violation of a general statute or administrative code is found, a Board or licensing agency can impose fines, court costs, and request attorney’s fees. They can also seek that you repay restitution. That could be part of what’s called a consent order. That is pretty common. And honestly, if there was a situation where someone who made a mistake and someone came up missing, or someone who didn’t make a mistake and they defrauded somebody or intentionally stole from somebody, and the licensing entity became aware of that, one of the things that they would probably impress upon the licensee is that the money needs to go back to the client. And that, like I said, could be part of a consent order as well.