Michael T. Wilson, D.C., Appellant-Appellant,
Ohio State Chiropractic Board, Appellee-Appellee.
from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 17CV-2014
Law Firm, PA. and David C. Gibbs, III; Kimberly Y Smith
Rivera, for appellant.
Yost], Attorney General, and Henry G. Appel, for appellee.
C. Gibbs, III.
1} Appellant-appellant, Michael T. Wilson, D.C.,
appeals from the judgment of the Franklin County Court of
Common Pleas which affirmed the adjudication order of
appellee-appellee, Ohio State Chiropractic Board ("the
board"), suspending his license for a period of 180
days, with 90 days stayed, and imposing a civil fine of $2,
For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
2} Appellant became a licensed chiropractic
physician in 1994. In April 1998, the board charged appellant
with violations of R.C. Chapter 4734 involving false
advertising, improper solicitation, and fraud. On June 30,
1998, appellant entered into a Consent Agreement with the
board pursuant to which his license was permanently revoked.
The revocation was stayed and, after a one-year suspension
and a period of probation, appellant's license was
reinstated in 2005.
3} On November 4, 2015, appellant placed an
advertisement in the Columbus Dispatch identifying himself as
"Dr. M. Todd Wilson, D.NMSc, DC." On March 7 and 8,
2016, he ran television advertisements on Fox 28, WTTE in
Columbus, Ohio, identifying himself as "Dr. Todd
Wilson," and "Dr. M. Todd Wilson, D.NMSc, DC,"
respectively. It is undisputed that appellant intended the
March 7 advertisement to include the same credentials as the
March 8 advertisement, and that the failure to include them
was the television station's error. In both the newspaper
and on television, appellant advertised that he diagnosed and
treated, inter alia, hormone imbalances, thyroid disorders,
4} On August 4, 2016, appellee issued to appellant
an "Amended Notice of Opportunity For Hearing"
letter ("notice letter"), advising him that it
would consider whether to take disciplinary action against
him for alleged violations of R.C. 4734.31(C)(7), (C)(31) and
(C)(32) and Ohio Adm.Code 4734-9-02 and 4734-9-08.
Specifically, the notice letter stated that the
advertisements (both print and television) "failed to
clearly reveal that you are a chiropractic physician" in
violation of R.C. 4734.31(C)(7) and Ohio Adm.Code
4734-9-02(F) (Counts 1 and 2); "failed to contain one of
these exact terms: chiropractic, chiropractor, doctor of
chiropractic or chiropractic physician" in violation of
R.C. 4734.31(C)(7) and Ohio Adm.Code 4734-9-02(G) (Counts 3
and 4); and "included the credentials 'D.NMSc'
after your name" which was "misleading in that the
credential is not a recognized credential by the chiropractic
profession. To wit, according to your website,
drtoddwilson.com, 'D.NMSc' means Doctor of
NeuroMetabolic Sciences, a credential awarded by the
International Association of NeuroMetabolic Professionals
(IANMP). According to the IANMP website, www.ianmp.com, the
IANMP is a non-profit organization whose mission is to
promote the practice of both functional medicine and
functional neurology. The IANMP is headquartered at your
practice location and phone number and you are the Executive
Director of IANMP." The board alleged that such conduct,
if proven, constituted a violation of R.C. 4731.31(C)(7),
(C)(31), and (C)(32) and Ohio Adm.Code 4734-9-02(C) and
4734-9-08(C) (Counts 5 and 6).
5} Appellant timely requested a hearing, which was
held on October 7, 2016. Thereafter, the hearing examiner
issued a report and recommendation which included findings of
fact and conclusions of law. The board subsequently adopted
the hearing examiner's report and recommendation in its
entirety and issued an adjudication order concluding, as a
matter of law, that appellant engaged in the conduct set
forth in Counts 1-6 of the notice letter. The board included
in its adjudication order the following statement: "The
general public does not understand what the acronym 'D.C
means and that is why the rule was implemented requiring that
chiropractors use 'chiropractic'[, ]
'chiropractor'[, ] 'doctor of chiropractic'[,
] or 'chiropractic physician' in all advertisements
and solicitations. The failure to do so is misleading to the
public." Accordingly, pursuant to the authority vested
in the board by R.C. 4734.31, the board ordered that
appellant's license be suspended for 180 days, with 90
days stayed, and that he pay a $2, 000 civil fine.
6} Pursuant to R.C. Chapter 119, appellant timely
appealed to the court of common pleas, which affirmed the
board's order. Thereafter, appellant timely appealed to
this court, advancing the following four assignments of error
for our review:
[I]. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THAT THE
BOARD'S RESTRICTION ON DR. WILSON'S COMMERCIAL USE OF
THE D.NMSc CREDENTIAL DID NOT VIOLATE HIS FIRST AMENDMENT
[II]. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THAT THE
BOARD'S DISCIPLINE OF DR. WILSON FOR HIS COMMERCIAL USE
OF THE D.NMSc CREDENTIAL DID NOT VIOLATE HIS FOURTEENTH
AMENDMENT RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
[III]. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THAT DR.
WILSON'S COMMERCIAL USE OF "DC" FAILED TO
IDENTIFY HIM AS A CHIROPRACTOR.
[IV]. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THAT THE
BOARD'S FORCED COMMERCIAL DISCLOSURE DID NOT VIOLATE DR.
WILSON'S FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.
7} In an administrative appeal under R.C. 119.12,
the common pleas court reviews the entire record to determine
whether the agency's order is supported by reliable,
probative, and substantial evidence and is in accordance with
law. Pons v. Ohio State Med. Bd.,66 Ohio St.3d 619,
621 (1993). The standard of review for a court of appeals in
an administrative appeal is more limited; this court must
determine whether the common pleas court abused its
discretion. Id. An abuse of discretion occurs when a
decision is unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable.
Blakemore v. Blakemore,5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219
(1983). An unreasonable decision is one unsupported by a
sound reasoning process. AAAA Ents., Inc. v. River Place
Community Urban Redev. Corp.,50 Ohio St.3d 157, 161
(1990). An arbitrary decision is one that lacks adequate
determining principle and is not governed by any fixed rules
or standard. Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, LLP v.
Frutta del Mondo, Ltd., 10th Dist. No. 08AP-69,
2008-Ohio-3567, ¶ 11. An unconscionable decision is one
that affronts the ...