Christopher L. Demas, M.D., Appellant-Appellant,
State Medical Board of Ohio, Appellee-Appellee.
from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, C.P.C. No.
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Eric J. Plinke, Daniel S.
Zinsmaster, and Justin M. Burns, for appellant.
Yost, Attorney General, and Kyle C. Wilcox, for appellee.
1} Initially after Christopher Lou Demas, a medical
doctor, was convicted of seven felony counts of forgery, the
State Medical Board of Ohio did not permanently strip him of
his license. Rather, the board suspended him from the
practice of medicine for a period that ran from June 8, 2013
to September 10, 2014.
2} It was only after the board found him to have
circumvented that suspension by practicing in the name of
others that it permanently revoked his practice certificate.
On administrative appeal to the common pleas court, and as he
had before the board, Dr. Demas did not contest the
board's power to sanction him for this latest
transgression, but argued that the permanent revocation was
improper because it had been based on considerations of which
he had not been given notice and that were contrary to
stipulations he had made with the board. Agreeing with that
view, the common pleas court remanded the matter for further
proceedings consistent with that rationale. In the next
go-round, the board again determined that revocation was the
appropriate sanction, and the common pleas court found that
the board had followed its directives and upheld the
3} Dr. Demas now appeals from the common pleas
court's judgment. The somewhat more detailed procedural
history that follows provides further context for our
decision affirming the common pleas court's judgment that
upheld the medical board's determination.
4} After his various felony convictions for forgery,
Dr. Demas wanted to "retain [his] solo family practice *
* * during [the] suspension," so he engaged
"several physicians * * * from various employment
agencies" to keep his several-thousand-patient practice
going until he sold it in October of 2013. Demas Affidavit at
¶ 9; Joint Stipulations at ¶ 7, 9. But during the
summer of 2013, he "did not have 100% coverage"
from those licensed, fill-in ("locum tenens")
doctors. Demas Aff. at ¶ 15. He admits that during the
June -August 2013 time period, he "prescribed
medications to Patients 1 through 8 under the [pretense] that
said prescriptions were authorized" by those other
doctors, "when, in fact, no such authorization had been
provided * * *." Joint Stipulations at ¶ 4
(admitting factual recitation from paragraphs 1-3 of December
9, 2015 Notice of Opportunity for Hearing); Dec. 9, 2015
Notice of Opportunity for Hearing at ¶ 3 (describing
ruse); see also, e.g., Demas Affidavit at ¶ 19
("my staff called in or had prescriptions issued under
my direction when the patient had not been seen by the
[contract] physicians and when [those] physicians had not
authorized the prescription").
5} The state medical board did not view this conduct
kindly. After reciting the key facts as then alleged (and
later admitted), the board's Notice of December 9, 2015
advised Dr. Demas that by undertaking these actions while his
license was suspended, he had violated the conditions of his
suspension and practiced medicine without a certificate.
Notice of Opportunity for Hearing at 1. The board apprised
him of its intent to "determine whether or not to limit,
revoke, permanently revoke, suspend, refuse to register or
reinstate your certificate to practice medicine and surgery,
or to reprimand you or place you on probation * * *."
Id. The board also advised him of his right to
appear in person, through counsel, or by written submission
at the hearing on the matter, and ended its Notice with
further reference to potential permanent licensure
revocation. Id. at 2.
6} The board conducted its administrative hearing
through a hearing examiner on August 25, 2016. Dr. Demas did
not appear in person, but was represented by counsel. Aug.
25, 2016 Hearing Proceedings at 5. By agreement of the
parties, subpoenas that had issued "to various
witnesses," including Dr. Demas himself, were called
off, the joint stipulation was submitted, and no live
testimony was taken. Id. at 6. The state's
lawyer began by expressing his understanding that, freed from
factual dispute, the matter had become "a case of
mitigation to make a determination" about what sanction
was appropriate. Id. at 7. Dr. Demas, through
counsel, agreed. His lawyer concurred that, "[a]s noted
by [the state's counsel] at the beginning of this case,
the factual and legal allegations in this case ...