February 22, 2010
ANGELA BURNS, APPELLANT,
JOHN HEYRICH AND NEW JERSEY STATE BOARD OF ARCHITECTS, RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from the New Jersey State Board of Architects.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 26, 2010
Before Judges Wefing and Grall.
Angela Burns filed a complaint with the New Jersey State Board of Architects. She reported that an architect she retained to design a home, John Heyrich, performed incompetently, engaged in professional misconduct and employed improper billing practices. After reviewing the materials Burns provided, Heyrich's response and the testimony presented, the Board of Architects found "no violations of [the] statutes and regulations," "concluded that there is insufficient cause to support the filing of formal disciplinary charges," advised that it had "cautioned Mr. Heyrich regarding his communication methods when working on future projects," determined that "there is no cause for further action," and "closed" the matter.
Burns appeals and contends that the Board's procedures did not afford her a fair hearing, the Board did not answer the questions she raised, and the Board should be required to set forth its reasons.
The Board of Architects is among the professional boards subject to uniform investigative and enforcement powers set forth in N.J.S.A. 45:1-14 to -27. See N.J.S.A. 45:1-15. The Legislature has given the professional boards broad discretion to decide whether and how to investigate allegations that are brought to its attention. Marques v. New Jersey State Bd. of Medical Examiners, 264 N.J. Super. 416, 418 (App. Div. 1993); Beck v. Bluestein, 194 N.J. Super. 247, 257-58 (App. Div. 1984); see N.J.S.A. 45:1-17 (authorizing the boards and the Attorney General to promulgate rules and regulations governing "administrative complaints" but directing "nothing herein authorized shall be construed to require the . . . promulgat[ion of] rules regarding prehearing investigative procedures");
N.J.S.A. 45:1-18 (authorizing, but not requiring, the Attorney General and the several boards to investigate suspected violations information).
The Board of Medical Examiners is governed by the same statutes. N.J.S.A. 45:1-14. In Marques, this court considered an appeal by a patient who filed a complaint against two doctors. 264 N.J. Super. at 417. The patient sought review of the Board of Medical Examiners' decision that there was "insufficient evidence and cause . . . to bring disciplinary action" on his allegations. Ibid. Recognizing Marques' right to file the complaint and reviewing the broad discretion to investigate and act upon allegations, we held that the complainant did not have "a right to judicial review" of the Board of Medical Examiners' response because the patient was not a party to a proceeding before the professional board or "affected adversely by its action (or non-action)." Id. at 418. On that reasoning, the appeal was dismissed. Ibid.
We agree with the reasoning set forth in Marques and follow its holding. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.
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