We have had this happen before with clients in the past, where, unfortunately, a former client of theirs, a former patient of theirs, or a former employer or coworker really has an axe to grind and submits a lot of complaints to the licensing entity.
So the question on that becomes: Will the licensing entity, whether that’s a Board or state agency, go ahead and investigate every single one of those complaints? Even if it’s made by the same person, and even if they’ve dismissed ones in the past, the answer to that is most likely they will. And if they continue to dismiss it, then there are other avenues which the licensee could explore, which could include having what’s called a North Carolina General Statute 50C. It could be a North Carolina General Statute 50B, if you’ve got some specific relationship with the other person that’s filing these bogus complaints, that could be an option.
There also could be the potential for a defamation suit. If there’s a numerous amount of complaints made against the licensee by an individual person, and all those complaints end up turning out to be dismissed and fraudulent complaints, that would be defamation. It’s costing you time, it’s costing you money, and it’s being published to a third party, which is the Board. So there are some repercussions if somebody is making fraudulent complaints against the licensee.
However, as it pertains to the Board, I should say, the Board has to investigate every complaint that’s made against the licensee. And once they realize, “Hey, this person’s made two, three, four, however many complaints, and these are all bogus,” at some point, the Board is going to kind of just take a cursory look at the complaints, and I don’t mean it in a bad way, but kind of fast-track it. It’s like, “Hey, we’ve dealt with three or four of these complaints by this specific person against this other licensee,” and those investigations might end up working themselves out pretty quickly.
If I had to guess on the other end, they might have a conversation with the person making all these complaints and just say, “Hey, what is going on here? What’s your relationship? We don’t find any of these allegations to be somewhat truthful,” and kind of have that conversation with the person as well. But yes, they unfortunately have to investigate all complaints made against the licensee.