Guam – After some fiery testimony on Veterinarian Dr. Joel Joseph’s license, the Guam Board of Allied health voted not to suspend the wise owl vet’s license. Joseph’s attorney David Lujan and Assistant Attorney General Ben Abrams quarreled for over an hour competing for the board’s vote. But in the end the board voted not to suspend his license for now, or at least until they’ve heard all supporting evidence.
It was a madhouse at the board hearing last night as Dr. Joseph’s attorney David Lujan and the board’s attorney Ben Abrams went back and forth competing for the board’s favor on the summary suspension of Dr. Joseph’s license. Stinging words were flung between the rival attorneys.
Assistant AG Abrams filed the specification of charges against Dr. Joseph seeking a summary suspension of Joseph’s license. He claims Dr. Joseph is an imminent threat to the Guam community and the board should therefore suspend his license for a period of 30 days until the board can set a full blown trial with evidence and merits argued by both sides. He began by pointing out that Superior Court Judge Vernon Perez had already taken away Dr. Joseph’s controlled substance registration and his ability to use his xray machine.
“When [Department of Public Health and Social Services] conducted a search with an administrative search warrant of the Wise Owl premises, they found records that indicated the use of controlled substances and the xray machine,” asserts Abrams.
“The only reason behind that order was the safety and the welfare of the Guam community and when you have a man like Dr. Joseph who says, in effect, ‘I don’t care what the courts say I’m gonna keep doing what I wanna do anyway,’ if you’re waiting for a better example of what constitutes an imminent threat to the community of Guam, I’m telling you you’re gonna wait a long time,” laments Abrams.
Abrams goes on to accuse Dr. Joseph of a number of other violations, such as committing fraud against the US Air Force by lying about the breed of a dog, operating on the wrong leg of a dog and still charging the pet owner for the procedure, and breaching his contract in Fiji, among other charges. Attorney Lujan fought back.
“The extent that Mr. Abrams goes in the examples he comes up with, a lot of them just have absolutely nothing to do with his ability to practice veterinary medicine safely,” states Lujan.
Lujan also points out that not even Judge Perez has given Abrams’ complaints priority.
“[Abrams] has filed it, but guess what? There’s been no hearing, no hearing yet. Well it was such a big thing. If it was such a grievous offense, a grievous breach of Judge Perez’s order then why has Judge Perez not scheduled a hearing? Why is he not in a hurry to schedule a hearing?” Lujan notes.
Lujan then gives the board a stern warning about its decision.
“Since when do you have the power, notwithstanding Mr. Abrams advice to you, so called legal advice–since when do you have the power to overrule a superior court judge’s order?” Lujan questions.
But Abrams disagrees, arguing that Joseph’s license was not issued by Judge Perez, it was issued by the board.
“Hhe’s had his license conditionally renewed by a judge, but that license was issued by whom? It was issued by the Guam Board of Allied Health Examiners,” Abrams points out.
The board then deliberated on the summary suspension. One board member suggested that the board wait for the conclusion of Joseph’s court cases before ruling on the suspension of his license.
Five of the six board members voted not to suspend Dr. Joseph’s license.
No date has been set yet for an evidentiary hearing.