2010 Mississippi Code
TITLE 73 - PROFESSIONS AND VOCATIONS
Chapter 11 - Practice of Funeral Service and Funeral Directing.
73-11-57 - 1. Authority to revoke, refuse to renew, suspend or place on probation license of funeral home establishment or director under certain circumstances.
§ 73-11-57. Grounds for refusal to issue or renew license; suspension or revocation of license; complaint procedure; temporary suspension of license; sanctions for violations; hearings; attendance of witnesses; production of books and records; subpoenas; appeal from decision of board or judgment or decree of circuit court; monetary penalties [Repealed effective July 1, 2013].
(1) The board, upon satisfactory proof at proper hearing and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the regulations of the board, may suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew any license under this chapter, reprimand or place the holder of a license on a term of probation, and/or take any other action in relation to a license as the board may deem proper under the circumstances upon any of the following grounds:
(a) The employment of fraud or deception in applying for a license or in passing the examination provided for in this chapter;
(b) The erroneous issuance of a license to any person;
(c) The conviction of a felony by any court in this state or any federal court or by the court of any other state or territory of the United States; having been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony in the courts of this state or any other state, territory or country which would prevent a person from holding elected office. Conviction, as used in this paragraph, shall include a deferred conviction, deferred prosecution, deferred sentence, finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere;
(d) The practice of embalming under a false name or without a license for the practice of funeral service;
(e) The impersonation of another funeral service or funeral directing licensee;
(f) The permitting of a person other than a funeral service or funeral directing licensee to make arrangements for a funeral and/or form of disposition;
(g) Violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation of the board;
(h) Having had a license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing suspended or revoked in any jurisdiction, having voluntarily surrendered his license in any jurisdiction, having been placed on probation in any jurisdiction, having been placed under disciplinary order(s) or other restriction in any manner for funeral directing and/or funeral service, or operating a funeral establishment (a certified copy of the order of suspension, revocation, probation or disciplinary action shall be prima facie evidence of such action);
(i) Solicitation of dead human bodies by the licensee, his agents, assistants or employees, whether such solicitation occurs after death or when death is imminent; if the person solicited has made known a desire not to receive the communication, or if the solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment, or if the solicitation takes place at the residence of the client or prospective client and is uninvited by the client or prospective client and has not been previously agreed to by the client or prospective client; however, this shall not be deemed to prohibit general advertising;
(j) Employment directly or indirectly of any apprentice, agent, assistant, employee, or other person, on a part-time or full-time basis or on commission, for the purpose of calling upon individuals or institutions by whose influence dead human bodies may be turned over to a particular funeral establishment;
(k) Failure to give full cooperation to the board and/or its designees, agents or other representatives in the performance of official duties of the board. Such failure to cooperate includes, but is not limited to:
(i) Not furnishing any relevant papers or documents requested by or for the board;
(ii) Not furnishing, in writing, an adequate explanation covering the matter contained in a complaint filed with the board;
(iii) Not responding without cause to subpoenas issued by the board, whether or not the licensee is the party charged in any preceding before the board;
(iv) Not reasonably providing access, as directed by the board for its authorized agents or representatives seeking to perform reviews or inspections at facilities or places utilized by the license holder in the practice of funeral service or funeral directing and/or in performing any other activity regulated by the board under this chapter;
(v) Failure to provide information within the specified time allotted and as required by the board and/or its representatives or designees;
(vi) Failure to cooperate with the board or its designees or representatives in the investigation of any alleged misconduct or interfering with a board investigation by willful misrepresentation of facts;
(vii) Deceiving or attempting to deceive the board regarding any matter under investigation, including altering or destroying any records; and
(viii) Failure, without good cause, to cooperate with any request by the board to appear before it;
(l) Knowingly performing any act that in any way assists an unlicensed person to practice funeral service or funeral directing;
(m) Knowingly making a false statement on death certificates;
(n) Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
(o) Violating any statute, ordinance, rule or regulation of the state or any of its boards, agencies or political subdivisions affecting the registration of deaths or the handling, custody, care or transportation of dead human bodies; or
(p) Unprofessional conduct in the practice of funeral service or funeral directing which includes, but is not limited to:
(i) Retaining a dead human body for the payment of a fee for the performance of services that are not authorized;
(ii) Knowingly performing any act which in any way assists an unlicensed person to practice funeral service or funeral directing;
(iii) Being guilty of any dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public;
(iv) Any act or omission in the practice of funeral service or directing which constitutes dishonesty, fraud or misrepresentation with the intent to benefit the licensee, another person or funeral establishment, or with the intent to substantially injure another person, licensee or funeral establishment; or
(v) Any act or conduct, whether the same or of a different character than specified above, which constitutes or demonstrates bad faith, incompetency or untrustworthiness; or dishonest, fraudulent or improper dealing; or any other violation of the provisions of this chapter, the rules and regulations established by the board or any rule or regulation promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission relative to the practice of funeral service or funeral directing.
(2) Any person, including a member of the board, may initiate a complaint against a licensee of the board by filing with the board a written complaint on a form prescribed by the board.
(a) Upon receipt of a properly verified complaint, the board shall send a copy of the complaint to the affected licensee by certified mail to the address of such licensee appearing of record with the board. The licensee shall answer the complaint in writing within twenty (20) days after receipt of the complaint. The licensee shall mail a copy of his, her or its response to the board and the complainant. Upon receipt of the licensee's response or lapse of twenty (20) days, the board is authorized to investigate a complaint that appears to show the existence of any of the causes or grounds for disciplinary action as provided in Section 73-11-57. Upon finding reasonable cause to believe that the charges are not frivolous, unfounded or filed in bad faith, the board may, in its discretion, cause a hearing to be held, at a time and place fixed by the board, regarding the charges that a violation of this chapter has occurred. The board shall order a hearing for the licensee to appear and show cause why he/she should not be disciplined for a violation of this chapter.
(b) The board shall give the complainant and the affected licensee twenty (20) days' notice of any hearing upon a complaint. Such notice shall be by United States certified mail.
(c) Any party appearing before the board may be accompanied by counsel.
(d) Before commencing a hearing, the chairman or designee of the board shall determine if all parties are present and ready to proceed. If the complainant fails to attend a hearing without good cause shown, the complaint shall be dismissed summarily and all fees and expenses of convening the hearing shall be assessed to, and paid by, the complainant. If any affected licensee fails to appear for a hearing without good cause shown, such licensee shall be presumed to have waived his right to appear before the board and be heard.
(e) Upon the chair's determination that all parties are ready to proceed, the chair or designee shall call the hearing to order and the complainant and the licensee may give opening statements. The board may order the sequestration of nonparty witnesses.
(f) The complainant shall then present his, her or its complaint. The licensee, any counsel and any member or designee of the board may ask questions of witnesses.
(g) The licensee shall then present his, her or its case in rebuttal. The complainant, any counsel and any member or designee of the board may ask questions of witnesses.
(h) At the completion of the evidence, all parties may give closing statements.
(i) At the conclusion of the hearing, the board may either decide the issue at that time or take the case under advisement for further deliberation. The board shall render its decision not more than ninety (90) days after the close of the hearing and shall forward the decision to the last known business or residence address of the parties.
(3) The board, on its own motion, may file a formal complaint against a licensee.
(4) The board may temporarily suspend a license under this chapter without any hearing, simultaneously with the institution of proceedings under this section, if it finds that the evidence in support of the board's determination is clear, competent and unequivocal and that the licensee's continuation in practice would constitute an imminent danger to public health and safety.
(5) The board may, upon satisfactory proof that the applicant or licensee has been guilty of any of the offenses above enumerated, take the action authorized by this section against an applicant or licensee of the board upon a majority vote of the board members, after a hearing thereon. The board is vested with full power and authority to hold and conduct such hearings, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records and documents, issue subpoenas therefor, administer oaths, examine witnesses, and do all things necessary to properly conduct such hearings. The board may waive the necessity of a hearing if the person accused of a violation admits that he has been guilty of such offense. Any person who has been refused a license or whose license has been revoked or suspended may, within thirty (30) days after the decision of the board, file with the board a written notice stating that he feels himself aggrieved by such decision and may appeal therefrom to the circuit court of the county and judicial district of residence of the person, or if the person is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, to the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County. The circuit court shall determine the action of the board was in accord or consistent with law, or was arbitrary, unwarranted or an abuse of discretion. The appeal shall be perfected upon filing notice of the appeal with the circuit court and by the prepayment of all costs, including the cost of the preparation of the record of the proceedings by the board. An appeal from the circuit court judgment or decree may be reviewed by the Supreme Court as is provided by law for other appeals. An appeal of a decision or order of the board does not act as a supersedeas.
(6) In addition to any other power that it has, the board may, upon finding that an applicant or licensee has committed any of the violations listed in Section 73-11-57(1), impose a monetary penalty as follows:
(a) For the first violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, a monetary penalty of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).
(b) For the second violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, a monetary penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).
(c) For the third and any subsequent violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, a monetary penalty of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).
(d) For any violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, those reasonable costs that are expended by the board in the investigation and conduct of a proceeding for licensure revocation or suspension, including, but not limited to, the cost of process service, court reporters, expert witnesses and investigators.
(7) The power and authority of the board to assess and levy such monetary penalties hereunder shall not be affected or diminished by any other proceeding, civil or criminal, concerning the same violation or violations except as provided in this section.
(8) A licensee shall have the right of appeal from the assessment and levy of a monetary penalty as provided in this section under the same conditions as a right of appeal is provided elsewhere for appeals from an adverse ruling, order or decision of the board.
(9) Any monetary penalty assessed and levied under this section shall not take effect until after the time for appeal shall have expired.
(10) A monetary penalty assessed and levied under this section shall be paid to the board by the licensee upon the expiration of the period allowed for appeal of such penalties under this section or may be paid sooner if the licensee elects.
With the exception of subsection (5)(d) of this section, monetary penalties collected by the board under this section shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the State Board of Funeral Service. Any monies collected by the board under subsection (5)(d) of this section shall be deposited into the special fund operating account of the board.
(11) When payment of a monetary penalty assessed and levied by the board against a licensee in accordance with this section is not paid by the licensee when due under this section, the board shall have power to institute and maintain proceedings in its name for enforcement of payment in the chancery court of the county and judicial district of residence of the licensee, or if the licensee is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, in the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi.
(12) In any administrative or judicial proceeding in which the board prevails, the board shall have the right to recover reasonable attorney fees.
(13) In addition to the reasons specified in subsection (1) of this section, the board shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153. The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be. Actions taken by the board in suspending a license when required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 are not actions from which an appeal may be taken under this section. Any appeal of a license suspension that is required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 shall be taken in accordance with the appeal procedure specified in Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, rather than the procedure specified in this section. If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.
Sources: Laws, 1983, ch. 351, § 9; reenacted and amended, Laws, 1991, ch. 463, § 11; reenacted, Laws, 1993, ch. 499, § 11; Laws, 1995, ch. 387, § 11; Laws, 1996, ch. 507, § 37; reenacted and amended, Laws, 1999, ch. 377, § 11; reenacted and amended, Laws, 2002, ch. 497, § 11; reenacted and amended, Laws, 2005, ch. 542, § 11; Laws, 2008, ch. 514, § 8, eff from and after July 1, 2008.
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