The case of a suburban Philadelphia woman who sued the state’s Bureau of Professional
and Occupational Affairs after her nursing license was revoked following the results of a random screening that showed the presence of alcohol in her system will now move toward settlement.
U.S. District Judge Norma L. Shapiro, sitting in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued an order on June 24 removing the case from administrative suspense and referring it to U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Faith Angell for a July settlement conference.
Records show that Laurie Beth Bolger, who resides in Glenside, Montgomery County, filed a federal complaint last August about a month after she was informed by the BPOA that her professional nursing license was being revoked, and she would face a “substantial fine,” after a test showed the presence of alcohol.
The complaint asserted that the “agreement” relied upon by the BPOA is unenforceable by law.
The suit further stated that the BPOA made a public entry of its claim with the National Practitioner Data Bank, a move that caused damage to the reputation and professional standing of the plaintiff.
The NPDB was also listed as a co-defendant in the suit.
Bolger claims that in late 2011 she was forced to sign an agreement that permitted the random issuance of drug and alcohol testing, and that the agreement further stated that the “incidental use of alcohol will not be accepted as a valid explanation for a positive drug test.”
Bolger claimed in her suit that in mid-July 2012, she received a notice from Pennsylvania’s State Board of Nursing informing her that her license had been revoked.
The complaint stated that she was effectively forced to sign the BPOA’s agreement.
“She could either surrender her nursing license, or she could sign the consent order that is nothing more than a blatant attempt to circumvent any notion of consent or procedural due process,” the complaint stated.
The lawsuit seeks declaratory judgment that the BPOA’s agreement is unenforceable as a matter of law.
The complaint further alleged that the license revocation is solely based on an alleged positive test, or admission of, mere alcohol use, although records submitted by the licensing authority never mentioned what percentage blood alcohol content was supposedly present in the woman’s body at the time of the test.
“The licensing authority does not attempt to allege any type of misconduct on the part of plaintiff,” the suit stated. “The entire statement claiming substance abuse by the plaintiff is false, defamatory, and adversely reflects upon the plaintiff’s fitness and competence to practice nursing.”
Bolger was requesting $200,000 in damages.
The court docket in the case shows that the two defendants filed motions to dismiss the litigation last fall.
Then, in late November 2012, Judge Shapiro placed the case in administrative suspense pending the appointment of legal counsel for the plaintiff.
It appears as though Bolger may have represented herself when she first filed her civil action.
The case was reopened this week after Michael J. Needleman, a lawyer with the Philadelphia firm Fineman Krekstein & Harris, entered his appearance on behalf of the plaintiff.
The federal case number is 2:12-cv-04828-NS.