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11 N.J.A.R. 1

Otte, James and Statline Ambulance Services; Health, State Dept. of v
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Citation: 11 N.J.A.R. 1
Decision Date: 1987
Synopsis: Respondent appealed two actions by the Department of Health relating to the Department's decision not to renew respondent's licenses to provide ambulance and invalid coach service. Upon respon- dent's request for hearings, both appeals were transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law, where they were heard as a consolidated case. Respondent was notified in December 1986 that its licenses would not be renewed for 1987 because the Department had information that respondent was using forged vehicle licenses. Nonetheless, respondent continued to provide ambulance service for at least one patient in 1987. Therefore, the Department initiated the action to assess a fine for operating without a license. The administrative law judge who heard the matter first denied a motion by respondent to be allowed to continue to operate pending a final agency decision on its appeal. Citing N.J.S.A. 52:14B-11 and N.J.S... 26:2H-13, respondent argued that its license could not be suspended if an appeal was requested in a timely manner until the appeal was finally determined. The administrative law judge held that respondent had incorrectly read the statutes, since the Department is an agency which has authority to suspend a license without first holding a hearing, provided an opportunity for a hearing is promptly afforded. On the merits of the appeals, the administrative law judge upheld both the refusal to renew respondent's licenses and the imposition of the fine. Respondent had been operating vehicles with forged licenses in violation of Department regulations. Such behavior was held to be so contrary to public policy as to make retention of a license by respondent 'unthinkable.' In addition, respondent had operated an ambulance service without a license for 60 days in 1987 and, therefore, was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:2H-14. Upon review, this initial decision was affirmed by the Commissioner of Health. Eileen O'Donnell, Deputy Attorney General, for petitioner (W. Cary Edwards, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Anthony F. LaBue, Esq., for respondents (LaBue, Farber, Newman, & Holstein, P.A., attorneys)
Rule(s) Cited: 8:40-2.4(a) 8:40-2.9(b) 
Statute(s) Cited: 26:24-5(a)