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Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | December 2, 2016 | Volume IV, Issue 12
Firm Announcement
 
Simas & Associates, Ltd. Cautions Licensees to Seek Counsel Before Investigatory Interviews 

Sacramento, CA — The attorneys at Simas & Associates, Ltd. have recently received a number of inquiries from licensed health professionals - doctors, surgeons, veterinarians, nurses, etc. - who were on the cusp of partaking in an investigatory interview with a Department of Consumer Affairs analyst without legal representation. And their collective response has been, "no way."

"No licensee should agree to, schedule, and - for heaven's sake - participate in an investigatory interview without legal representation," explained Steven L. Simas, owner of Simas & Associates, Ltd., one of California's leading administrative law firms. "It may seem innocuous or formulaic to the licensee - especially one with no prior license discipline. However, there is always more than meets the eye."



Before this meeting, the DCA analyst - hired to be the underlying licensing board’s investigator - has already conducted the vast majority of their investigating. "They likely already have evidence that proves some form of misconduct or violation of the practice act," continued Simas. "As a result, they have a sore spot that they plan to attack and exploit, in hopes of drawing admissions from the licensee, as well as engaging in a fishing expedition identifying additional 'counts' of that particular violation and exploring other types of potential misconduct."

So, the analyst knows exactly what he or she wants to ask the unsuspecting physician. And they tape record the responses.

"This is done for the same reason it is done in litigation," explained Simas. "It is to lock the licensee in. And in case, after receiving counsel and obtaining an attorney, they cannot change their answer without losing some credibility down the road."

In addition, be prepared to be drug/alcohol tested.

"Not all cases will involve a drug test," confirmed Simas. "But when the investigation involves controlled substances, incompetence, or strange behavior by the underlying licensee, the analyst may suspect that the licensee is abusing drugs or alcohol. The best way to confirm this is to test the unsuspecting licensee, who has already agreed to the interview." And if the licensee refuses, it, again attacks their credibility and may, in of itself, be a violation (i.e. refusing to assist the Board in their investigation).

So, what does an attorney offer?

"Knowledge. Experience," explained Simas. "We have been there. We have sat in these interviews and know how the analyst operates. As such, if we are retained we will immediately reschedule any interview. We will also demand to know the nature of the investigation through a Business & Professions Code, section 800(c) request. And then we will check underlying evidence and maybe consult with independent, third party experts. We may ask our client to voluntarily submit to 4-8 weeks of randomized drug and alcohol testing. Finally, we will identify a comprehensive and diverse list of evidence of rehabilitation, mitigation, and character that we will want the licensee to build or obtain."

"Then, and only after submitting all of our own investigatory work," Simas continued, "will we agree to sit down and be interviewed by the Board's investigator."

For more information on Simas & Associates, Ltd. and its professional licensing and healthcare licensing practice areas, please visit our website at www.simasgovlaw.com.
Firm Announcement
 
Simas & Associates, Ltd. Has Tribe Building Event at Escape Sacramento 

On November 10, Simas & Associates, Ltd. had a day-long staff event centered on communication. Prompted by Firm Administrator, Rachelle Allison-Lamb, the day centered on sharing what each member of the firm had learned from reading Tribal Leadership and Conversational Intelligence among themselves. And then applying that knowledge in a couple of group assignments.

After a wonderful feast from the local On the Border, the Simas & Associates, Ltd. tribe went to Sacramento's Original Escape Room in Midtown. Again, the members of the tribe got to apply the knowledge learned from their readings, discussion, and training in a realistic and thrilling spy mystery.



"It was really a great way to get us all together, talking about the topics we have been reading about,' stated Justin Hein, Managing Attorney. "And then to top off by having some fun and exhibiting our strengths, weaknesses, and habits when trying to solve the puzzles in a group setting. It was different and fun."
 
For more information on Simas & Associates, Ltd. and its entire roster of legal professionals, please visit our website at www.simasgovlaw.com.
Client/Vendor of the Month

M&M Salvage, Inc.
42130 County Road 25
Woodland, CA 
P: (530) 662-0257
http://www.mm-salvage.com
 
Established in 1996, M&M Salvage, Inc. is a privately held wreckage facility. Licensed by the state of California as an automobile dismantler, it offers scrap metal and junk car junking and scrap sales. It is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Simas & Associates, Ltd. appreciates the opportunity to serve as M&M Salvage, Inc's special counsel. If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client/Vendor of the Month,” please contact us at info@simasgovlaw.com
Featured Agency Announcement

Gov. Brown Names Rep. Xavier Becerra Next Attorney General

San Francisco, CA — California Gov. Jerry Brown has named Rep. Xavier Becerra, the head of the House Democratic Caucus and a former state deputy attorney general, to serve as the state's next attorney general. The office will be vacated in January when Kamala Harris is sworn in as a U.S. senator. 

The move ends weeks of speculation about a possible appointment to fill the seat, which included a long list of dozens of potential candidates.

Becerra, 58, a son of Mexican immigrants from Los Angeles, is the first Latino member of the Committee on Ways and Means and the ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. Becerra has also been an outspoken member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which he chaired from 1997 to 1998.

Becerra said in a statement that it had been "an extraordinary privilege to serve my fellow Californians in Congress for the past 24 years, fighting for working families like my parents, and I look forward to continuing that battle as California's attorney general.”
Featured Blog Entry

Cannot Waive Licensing Complaints in Settlement

A recent settlement agreement Simas & Associates, Ltd. negotiated on behalf of  two licensed professionals inspired this blog. The parties – call them Doctor and CPA -- had a business dispute and were settling the case.  The settlement agreement was presented for review and contained the standard provisions, including a release of all claims referencing Section 1542 of the California Civil Code.

The problem is that the release of all claims specifically attempted to release claims against the licensing board. In this business dispute, CPA provided services for Doctor’s business.  Unfortunately, CPA was not licensed in California during the time CPA provided services for Doctor – thus creating a huge potential defense to having to pay for such services.  As a result, CPA sought a wide release of all claims, which included releasing the ability of Doctor to complain to CPA’s licensing board.

Unfortunately, including such a provision is illegal under California law. Not only would it void the entire settlement agreement; it would likely be independent grounds for license discipline. And not only for the CPA! 

To keep reading this entry, please click here:
Cannot Waive Licensing Board Complaints in Settlement. For more blog entries from our attorneys and legal staff, please visit our law firm’s official blog – Wit of Mandate.
Word of the Month

Bid Protest




The process of an interested party formally disagreeing with the decision of the public contracting officer or agency in the acceptance of a bid or awarding of a contract to a private third party. The public governing agency (i.e. federal, state, municipality, military, etc.) provides rules and regulations governing the process to ensure that the interested party has an opportunity to be heard.

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at 
SimasGovLaw.com - Glossary.
Upcoming Calendar

(Please note: all of our offices will be open December 19-24; 27-30; January 3-6)

December 5 - Happy
Repeal Day! 83 years of beers!

December 6 - Happy St. Nick's Day!

December 7 -
Pearl Harbor Day. 75th anninversary.

December 9 - National Pastry Day. Also, Bad Christmas Sweater Day.

December 10 -
Human Rights Day.

December 12 -
Poinsettia Day.

December 13 - Simas & Associates, Ltd. Holiday Party - office closes early.

December 20 - Go Caroling Day. Baby, its cold outside!

December 22 - Winter Solstice.

December 23 - Happy
Festivus!

December 24 - Christmas Eve. Chanukah Begins.

December 25 - Christmas Day.


December 26 - Boxing Day, Kwanzaa Begins - offices closed.

December 31 - New Year's Eve.

January 1 - New Year's Day.

January 2 -
Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl Gameoffices closed.

And three cheers to Michael Simas, Julianne Allen, and Lindsay Yoshitomi, all celebrating birthdays this month! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray!
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