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01/20/2017    Chet Evans, MS, DPM

Podiatric Medical Board Volunteers Nationwide NOT Immune to Lawsuit

An Open Letter to the Podiatric Profession

RE: United States’ Supreme Court’s opinion in
North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v.
Federal Trade Commission, 135 S. Ct. 1101 (2015)

The profession must be made aware that the above
recent 2015 decision by the United States Supreme
Court, exposes those of us who volunteer to serve
their state on their professional boards, to
significant personal liability, including the
potential for assessment of treble damages in the
event of a successful antitrust action against the
board and its members. And in the case of most
states, the risk management divisions will not
provide coverage for defense costs, damages or
attorney’s fee awards in the event that a board
and its members are sued for an alleged antitrust
violation. This decision affects NOT just
podiatric medical boards nationwide, but ALL
professional boards.

Many states have begun to take action to resolve
this issue. Florida has apparently adopted a
“wait and see” attitude, there has been no
progress to date to alleviate this issue with the
health boards, and in fact, there have been
resignations from a number of them. In the
estimation of the entire Board of Podiatric
Medicine, no sensible person would or should
continue to volunteer to conduct business on
behalf of the State when exposed to the potential
to lose everything they own, having to pay to
defend themselves (even if the action may be
frivolous) and then pay treble damages in the
event an alleged anti-trust action is won against
them. Multiple letters to the governor’s office
requesting a workable resolution, copied to the
Department of Health in addition to other direct
queries, have gone unanswered. Should there
continue to be silence, the Florida Board of
Podiatric Medicine has made the decision to resign
in its entirety at the conclusion of its next
scheduled meeting February 3, 2017.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Chet Evans, MS, DPM, Chair, Florida Board of
Podiatric Medicine

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