The Department of Health continues to score alternative treatment center applications despite a court-ordered stay, said a lawyer for seven applicants whose submissions were rejected before being reviewed.
Josh Bauchner, a partner at Ansell Grimm & Aaron, filed a motion in appellate court Friday to compel the DOH to stop all of its the proceedings after the court granted permission to file the motion late Wednesday night.
A technical issue with the portal created by the DOH to receive ATC license applications last summer prevented the DOH from opening files attached to certain medical cannabis business applications, which resulted in a court issuing the stay just before Christmas.
Bauchner, who represents seven of the nine appellants in the case, said he believes the stay enjoined the entire administrative proceeding, including the review and scoring of applications, not just the release of licenses.
By scoring other applicants now and then Bauchner’s clients only if and when their suit prevails, the DOH process would be “unduly prejudicial” and it would affect the objectivity of the scores, he said.
“Our concern is that if we prevail on appeal, they’ll score our applications at that time, which could be four to six months after they score the other applications, which risks significant prejudice to us. Then the judges would be scoring applicants adverse to them, who sued them and won,” Bauchner explained.
A large gap between scoring applications also changes the context in which they’re reviewed, he contends.
“You’re unable to understand contextually how each application should be scored vis-a-vis one another,” said Bauchner.
When the stay was originally issued, Bauchner represented five appellants in six appeals. There may be as many as 15 applicants affected by the technical issues, he said.
The DOH said it would not comment on ongoing litigation.