LAWSUIT HUNT NSBDE .pdf

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Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 1 of 14

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THE AMIN LAW GROUP NV, LTD
Ismail Amin, Esq. (State Bar No. 9343)
Lawrence Kulp, Esq. (State Bar No. 7411)
Breane P. Stryker (State Bar No. 13594)
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Telephone: 702.990.3583
Facsimile: 702.441.2488
Attorneys for Plaintiff LAS VEGAS DENTAL ASSOCIATION and ADRIAN RUIZ, DDS.

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA

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LAS VEGAS DENTAL ASSOCIATION, a
Nevada corporation; and ADRIAN RUIZ,
DDS, an individual resident,

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Plaintiffs,

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v.

The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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JOHN HUNT, ESQ., an individual; BYRON
BLASCO, DMD, an individual; GREG
PISANI, DDS, an individual; NEVADA
STATE BOARD OF DENTAL
EXAMINERS, a State Agency; DOES 1-20;
and ROES 1-10, inclusive,

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Defendants.
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) Case No. 2:17-CV-859
)
)
)
)
) COMPLAINT
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)
)
)
)
) JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
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)
)
)
)

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For their Complaint against Defendants JOHN HUNT, ESQ., an individual; BYRON

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BLASCO, DMD, an individual; GREG PISANI, DDS., an individual; NEVADA STATE

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BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS, a state actor; DOES 1-20; and ROES 1-10, inclusive,

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(collectively, “Defendants”), Plaintiffs LAS VEGAS DENTAL ASSOCIATION, a Nevada

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corporation and ADRIAN RUIZ, DDS, an individual resident, (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), by

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and through their counsel of record, ISMAIL AMIN, ESQ., of THE AMIN LAW GROUP NV,

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LTD., and hereby allege as follows:
I.

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1.

JURISDICTION

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331, which gives

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District Courts original jurisdiction over civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or

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treaties of the United States.

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1
COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 2 of 14

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2.

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction because this is a civil action for violation,

by Defendants, of Plaintiffs’ due process rights, under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
of the United States Constitution.
3.

Plaintiffs are informed, believe, and thereon allege that venue is proper in this

District, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b)(2) because the events giving rise to this Complaint
occurred in this District.

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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II.
4.

PARTIES

Plaintiff LAS VEGAS DENTAL ASSOCIATION (“Plaintiff LVDA”) is a

professional association organized under the laws of the State of Nevada, with its principal
place of business in Henderson, Nevada. The LVDA is, and was at all times mentioned herein,
qualified to do business in the State of Nevada.
5.

Plaintiff ADRIAN RUIZ, DDS (“Plaintiff Ruiz”) is an individual, who, at all times

mentioned herein, is and was a resident of Clark County, Nevada.
6.

Plaintiff Ruiz is the President of Plaintiff LVDA.

7.

Defendant JOHN HUNT, ESQ. (“Hunt”) is an individual resident, who at all times

mentioned herein, is and was domiciled in the State of Nevada.
8.

Defendant BYRON BLASCO, DMD (“Defendant Blasco”), is an individual resident,

who at all times mentioned herein, is and was domiciled in the State of Nevada.
9.

Defendant GREG PISANI, DDS (“Defendant Pisani”), is an individual resident, who

at all times mentioned herein, is and was domiciled in the State of Nevada.
10.

Defendant NEVADA STATE BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS is a state agency

of the State of Nevada.
11.

The true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate or otherwise

of Defendants DOES 1-20, inclusive, and ROES 1-10, inclusive are unknown to Plaintiffs and
therefore, Plaintiffs sue said Defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiffs are informed,
believe, and on that basis, allege, that each of the Defendants designated herein as a fictitiously
named Defendant is, in some manner, responsible for the acts, events, occurrences, and

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2
COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 3 of 14

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happenings described in this Complaint and has proximately caused injuries and damages to
Plaintiff.

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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III.
12.

FACTS COMMON TO ALL ALLEGATIONS

Defendant Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners (“NSBDE” or the “Board”) is a

state agency.
13.

The Board consists of 11 members appointed by the Governor who “are to (1) develop

and maintain programs to ensure only qualified professionals are licensed to practice dentistry
and dental hygiene and (2) ensure violators of the laws regulating dental practitioners are
sanctioned.” The Mission Statement of the NSBDE is available at the NSBDE, at the following
web address:
14.

http://dental.nv.gov/About/MIssion/,

last visited March 22, 2017, at 6:57 p.m.

Defendant Hunt is an independent contractor of the Board, contracted to act as the

legal counsel to the Board.
15.

Defendants Blasco and Pisani are each members of the Board and were appointed to

their position by the Governor of the State of Nevada.
16.

In or around May 24, 2016, an audit of the Board was completed by the Audit

Division of Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau (“LCB”), at the direction of the Sunset
Subcommittee of the Legislative Commission, to determine whether the Board has assessed
reasonable costs to Licensees for investigating and resolving complaints and disciplinary
matters. Legislative Auditor of the State of Nevada, Performance Audit: Nevada State Board
of Dental Examiners, 2016. (the “Audit”). A true and accurate copy of the Audit is attached
hereto as Exhibit A.
17.

The Sunset Subcommittee is a permanent subcommittee of the Legislative

Commission whose authorization and duties are set forth in Chapter 232B of the Nevada
Revised Statutes. The Subcommittee is responsible for conducting reviews of all boards,
commissions, and similar entities created by the Nevada Legislature, and determining whether
those entities should be continued, modified, consolidated with another board or commission,
or terminated.

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COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 4 of 14

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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as of April 1, 2016. Id.
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20.

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practicing in the State of Nevada (generally, “Licensee(s)”).
22.

Members of the NSBDE are appointed to the Board by the Governor of the State of

Nevada.
23.

Pursuant to the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC 631.240), any aggrieved person

may file a verified, written complaint, containing specific charges of misconduct, with the
Board against Licensees and the Board shall proceed as follows:
a. Upon receipt of a verified, written complaint, submitted in accordance with NAC
631.240, the Board will send a notice and a copy of the complaint to the Licensee,
who is the subject of the complaint.

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b. If the Board conducts an investigation upon a complaint against a Licensee, the

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Board may extend its investigation to any additional matters which appear to

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constitute a violation of any provision of chapter 631 of the Nevada Revised

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Statutes or NAC 631.

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c. If, after its investigation, the Board dismisses the complaint, the dismissal does

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not operate as a limitation on or a detriment to any subsequent investigation or

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The Board is responsible for investigating complaints and allegations of misconduct

made by members of the public, including patients of dentists licensed by the Board, and

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For fiscal year 2015, the Board had revenues of $1.3 million and expenses of $1.1

million. Id.

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The Board’s office is located in Las Vegas and staffed with six people including the

Executive Director. Id.

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The Board’s register showed 1,809 and 1,393 actively licensed dentists and hygienists

other action by the Board.
24.

Investigation of complaints against Licensees are conducted by Disciplinary

Screening Officers (“DSO(s)”).
25.

Upon information and belief, if the evidence found during the investigation of the

allegations, representatives of the Board and its legal counsel may then negotiate with the
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COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 5 of 14

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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individual Licensee, to try to reach an agreement with the Licensee regarding the allegations
(generally, the “Stipulations”).
26.

Upon information and belief, if the Board and a Licensee reach a Stipulation,

regarding the allegations against the Licensee, the investigation will effectively close, and no
formal public hearing will be heard by the Board.
27.

If the parties do not reach a Stipulation, a formal public hearing is to be held, to be

heard by the entire Board, to determine any disciplinary action to be taken against the Licensee,
as well as any fees to be assessed.
28.

Upon information and belief, the investigations and hearings are not being conducted

in accordance with the Nevada Revised Statutes and/or the Nevada Administrative Code.
29.

Upon information and belief, when a complaint is made against a Licensee, the Board

designates a single party, Defendant Hunt, to oversee all investigations of complaints.
30.

Moreover, the Board does not provide any oversight of Hunt’s investigative process,

including any review of the factual findings, regarding the legitimacy of the complaints against
Licensees, the methods used by Hunt to investigate the claims, the legitimacy of the facts and
conclusions reached following an investigation, the sufficiency of the records created or
obtained during the investigation, the methods and means used by Hunt to convince Licensees
to enter into Stipulations, or the bases for assessing fees, fines, and discipline to Licensees, at
the termination of an investigation.
31.

Upon information and belief, Hunt is an independent contractor of the Board, and the

Board pays him approximately One Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,200,000.00)
annually. See http://budget.nv.gov/Meetings/Board_of_Examiners/2016/2016_BOE_Meetings
(Minutes for November 8, 2016).
32.

Upon information and belief, Hunt, while acting on behalf of the Board, performs a

perfunctory investigation of allegations, in advance of the ‘informal hearing’ to be held. Prior
to the informal hearing, Hunt sends the Licensee a Stipulation.
33.

During the informal hearing, Hunt uses improper suggestion and coercion to persuade

the Licensee to sign the Stipulation. Such improper suggestion and coercion techniques,
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COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 6 of 14

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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includes threatening Licensees, including Plaintiffs, that if they fail to sign the Stipulation, they
will be required to pay the Board’s attorneys’ fees and costs and threatening the Licensee with
the loss of its professional licensure.
34.

These informal hearings, where Plaintiffs are coerced into signing the Stipulations,

under fear of being forced to pay additional fees and costs, in addition to other disciplinary
action and loss of their professional license, are held prior to the Board receiving a copy of the
investigator (Hunt)’s “findings and conclusions.”
35.

Upon information and belief, at said informal hearings, at Hunt’s direction, only the

conclusions of hearings are transcribed by a court reporter, and only after all the investigative
questions have been asked and answered by Board members or agents of the Board. Thus, the
transcription of the informal hearing proceeding is devoid of all discussions and/or negotiations
prior to reaching an agreement to sign the Stipulation.
36.

Nevada Administrative Code (“NAC”) 631.255 states “the hearing conducted as a

result of that delegation of authority must be recorded and transcribed in permanent form by a
shorthand reporter licensed to do business in this State.” Hunt’s failure to properly transcribe
these informal hearings is thus a Code violation which deprives all parties of a permanent
record of the entire informal hearing to be used for review by a future impartial factfinder.
37.

Pursuant to NRS 631.363(3) and NRS 631.363(4), the Board must review the findings

and conclusions of the investigator’s investigation, to decide whether to hold its own formal
public hearing on the matter.
38.

Therefore, if a Licensee enters into a Stipulation with the Board (as they are strongly

coerced to do by Defendant Hunt), the facts and findings, as reached solely by Hunt, do not
need to be reviewed by the Board, as a Stipulation has already been reached, and thus, Hunt’s
facts and findings, in such an instance, are never reviewed by the Board and the allegations
against the Licensee are never heard at an open hearing.
39.

Upon information and belief, this process has been followed during Hunt’s 26-year

tenure with NSBDE.

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COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 7 of 14

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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40.

In essence, the Board has shirked its duty to investigate such complaints, affecting

the licensure of Licensees, including Plaintiff Ruiz, and has permitted Hunt to have total control
over investigations and prosecution of complaints received from the public about Licensees.
41.

Moreover, Hunt, while acting on behalf of the State, has failed to properly conduct

investigations by the conduct described above.
42.

In or around 2008, and again in 2010, Plaintiff Ruiz was the subject of claims and

subsequent investigations by Defendants Hunt and the Board.
43.

In 2008, a, claimant made allegations against Plaintiff Ruiz that Plaintiff Ruiz had

been improperly dispensing medications. (the “2008 Claim”).
44.

Hunt, acting on behalf of the Board, alleges to have investigated the 2008 Claim.

45.

Following the completion of his investigations of the 2008 Claim, Hunt, acting on

behalf of the Board, pressured Plaintiff Ruiz to enter into a Stipulation, rather than have a
formal public hearing.
46.

Under the terms of the Stipulation settling the 2008 Claim, Plaintiff Ruiz agreed to

pay a total of Fourteen Thousand Dollars ($14,000.00).
47.

Following the completion of the investigation and the payment of the fines to the

Board, Ruiz discovered that the allegations that were purportedly against him had actually been
made about a female medical practitioner having the same (common) last name as Ruiz.
48.

Determining that the 2008 Ruiz Claim allegations had actually been made against a

doctor of a different gender, who practiced in a completely separate area of medicine, should
have been discovered during a reasonably prudent investigation by Hunt and/or the Board, but
no such facts were ever discovered. Upon information and belief, neither Hunt nor the Board
conducted any investigation of the 2008 Ruiz Claim at all. A true and accurate copy from the
Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, attesting to this mistaken identity is attached hereto as
Exhibit B.
49.

In 2010, a claimant made an allegation that Dr. Ruiz had failed to meet the standard

of care in providing patient care (the “2010 Claim”).

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COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 8 of 14

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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50.

Following Plaintiff Ruiz’s experience during Hunt and the Board’s handling of the

investigation of the 2008 Claim, Plaintiff Ruiz was not willing to enter into a Stipulation with
Dr. Hunt and the investigation of the 2010 Claim continued to the formal hearing stage.
51.

As a part of his participation in the investigation into the 2010 Claim, Plaintiff Ruiz

provided Hunt and the Board with four separate copies, from separate, independent specialists,
attesting that his treatment of the complaining patient had met or exceeded the standard of care.
True and accurate copies of these supporting letters, attesting to Plaintiff Ruiz’s standard of
care are attached hereto as Exhibit C. All identifying information regarding the patient’s
identity has been redacted.
52.

Despite being in receipt of these four opinions in support of Plaintiff Ruiz, during a

break in the formal hearing on the 2010 Claim, Hunt had a personal conversation with Plaintiff
Ruiz, where he informed Plaintiff Ruiz that the Board was allegedly planning to vote against
Plaintiff Ruiz and that he would lose his professional licensure, if the matter went to a Board
vote. Accordingly, Hunt convinced Plaintiff Ruiz to enter into a Stipulation for the 2010 Claim.
53.

Under the terms of this Stipulation settling the 2010 Claim, Plaintiff Ruiz agreed to

pay a total of Forty-Two Thousand Dollars ($42,000.00).
54.

As a result of the Board and Hunt’s failure to act in accordance with its duties to

reasonably investigate the 2008 Claims, failure to properly consider evidence in the 2010
Claim, and failure to provide Ruiz with a fair opportunity to be heard on the baseless claims
against him, Plaintiff Ruiz was forced to pay Fifty-Six Thousand Dollars ($56,000.00), in fines
and attorneys’ fees, to the Board, despite never having his claims actually properly investigated
or heard, due to Hunt’s improper influence and coercion, and the State’s failure to properly
monitor Hunt’s conduct.
55.

Upon information and belief, from July l, 2013, to December 31, 2015, the Board

received 374 complaints against Licensees, including Plaintiff Ruiz and members of Plaintiff
LVDA. See Audit.
56.

According to the Audit, “[a]bout 64% of complaints were remanded, 32% resulted in

some form of additional Board action, and 4% were not yet resolved.” Id.
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COMPLAINT

Case 2:17-cv-00859 Document 1 Filed 03/23/17 Page 9 of 14

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The Amin Law Group NV, LTD.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Phone: (702) 990-3583 / Fax: (702) 441-2488

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57.

The scope of the Audit focused on “a review of the Board's disciplinary process and

costs assessed for investigations resulting from approved Board actions during calendar years
2014 and 2015. Certain information included data from prior years to provide additional
context or complete [the] analysis.”
58.

The LCB’s Audit found a number of issues with the Board’s conduct of its

investigative process as well as its assessment of fees and costs to Licensees.
59.

The LCB summarized its audit findings as follows:
a. The Board did not always assess reasonable costs to licensees for investigating
and resolving complaints and disciplinary matters. Due to the Board’s inadequate
tracking of costs, many licensees were overcharged for the cost of investigations.
Although the amounts overcharged were not significant to the Board overall,
some amounts that individual licensees were overcharged were substantial. In
addition, four licensees made charitable contributions totaling over $140,000 as
required by stipulation agreements; however, charitable contributions are not
allowed under NRS 631.350.
b. The Board’s reporting and monitoring of legal expenses was not adequate. First,
the manner in which legal expenses are reported reflects a lower amount than is
actually spent. Second, the Board can reduce its legal expenses by hiring its own
General Counsel. Since the Board is funded by fees, it is responsible for
monitoring expenses to ensure resources are spent efficiently to minimize the
burden on licensees.
c. The Board needs to provide greater oversight of complaint investigations
performed by Disciplinary Screening Officers (DSOs). Investigation results are
not reviewed and sufficient guidance has not been developed to provide
additional assurance that DSO conclusions and recommendations are based on
sufficient evidence.
d. Without a review process, variations in DSO decisions are more likely to occur.
e. In addition, [the LCB] found the Board's investigation files were incomplete.
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COMPLAINT


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