IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF Y.L. TO PRACTICE MASSAGE AND BODYWORK THERAPY IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Argued September 16, 2014.
Approved for Publication October 3, 2014
On appeal fro the New Jersey State Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy Examiners, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Application ID. 1666779.
Angela F. Pastor argued the cause for appellant Y.L.
Shirley P. Dickstein, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent Division of Consumer Affairs ( John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General; Andrea M. Silkowitz, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Susan Carboni, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).
Before REISNER, KOBLITZ and HAAS
[437 N.J.Super. 410] OPINION
[437 N.J.Super. 411] KOBLITZ, J.A.D.
Y.L. appeals from the September 25, 2013 Final Order of Denial of Certification/Licensure issued by the Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (the Board) because Y.L. engaged in misrepresentation on her sworn application, in violation of the Uniform Enforcement Act (UEA) governing professional and occupational boards, N.J.S.A. 45:1-14 to -27. We reject Y.L.'s argument that the Board must find she had an intent to deceive, and affirm the Board's denial, which required Y.L. to wait two years before reapplying for a license.
In both the application and the accompanying authorization for a background check Y.L. submitted in 2012, she swore that she had never been arrested for any crime or offense. She signed an affidavit stating: " [a]ll information provided in connection with this application is true to the best of my knowledge and belief. I understand that any omissions, inaccuracies or failure to make full disclosure may be deemed sufficient to deny licensure[.]"
She certified similarly on the authorization. The Board discovered that Y.L. had been arrested for prostitution, N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1, in a massage therapy establishment in 2004. The charge was later dismissed. Y.L. wrote the Board a letter explaining that she did not read the application questions carefully and mistakenly neglected to acknowledge the arrest. She indicated that " English is not my primary language" and denied having engaged in prostitution.
After retaining counsel, she submitted an affidavit again attributing the mistake to her difficulty understanding English and also the fact that a friend had completed the application for her. She revealed for the first time that she was licensed as a massage therapist in Florida, another fact she had failed to mention in her original application. She stated that it was never her intention to deceive the Board. Y.L. is otherwise qualified for a license.
[437 N.J.Super. 412] Our scope of review of an administrative agency action is limited and highly deferential. So long as the Board's decision is supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record and was neither " arbitrary, capricious, [nor] unreasonable," it will be affirmed. Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210, 704 A.2d 547 (1997) (citing In re Warren, 117 N.J. 295, 296, 566 A.2d 534 (1989)). In making this determination, a reviewing court must examine: " (1) whether the agency's decision conforms with relevant law; (2) whether the decision is supported by substantial credible evidence in the record; and (3) whether, in applying the law to the facts, the administrative agency clearly erred in reaching its conclusion." Twp. ...