Karen A. Forman, Appellant,
South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Social Work Examiners, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2014-000285
November 10, 2015
From The Administrative Law Court S. Phillip Lenski
Administrative Law Judge John D. McLeod Administrative Law
Franklin McDow, IV, and Erin K Urquhart, both of McDow and
Urquhart, LLC, of Rock Hill, for Appellant.
Prentiss Counts Shealey and Megan Joan Flannery, of Columbia,
Forman appeals the decision of the Administrative Law Court
(ALC) affirming the order of the South Carolina Department of
Labor, Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Social Work
Examiners (Board) prohibiting her from working as a Guardian
ad Litem (GAL) and barring her from all independent social
work practice. We affirm.
has a master's degree in social work and became a
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the early 1990s. At
the time of the Board's action, she also had become a
Licensed Independent Social Worker-Clinical Practice
(LISW-CP). She primarily worked as a GAL and has served on
over 150 cases. On August 19, 2009, the Board served Forman
with a Notice of Charges (Notice) alleging she had engaged in
misconduct in violation of the Social Work Examiners Practice
Act.The Notice was based upon Forman's work
as a GAL in two family court private custody actions. The
Notice alleged Forman made recommendations to the family
court without interviewing all of the parties involved,
conducting a full investigation of all relevant documents and
allegations that may be relevant, or supporting her
conclusions with a full report. In addition, the Notice
alleged Forman failed to disclose to the family court the
Board had placed her license on probation, she had billed for
services she had not performed, and she had failed to
disclose potential conflicts of interest.
responding to the Notice, Forman asserted that in Case I, she
followed the GAL statute and had done nothing wrong. For Case
II, she stated she believed the mother was mentally unstable
and "was angry at me because she has no one left to
target her anger toward." Forman filed a motion to
dismiss contending she was not providing social work services
and only the family court has authority over actions taken as
hearing, the Board determined Forman had committed fraud in
violation of South Carolina Code Regulation 110-20(8) (2012)
by representing she had performed services she had not
performed. It also found Forman had represented herself as a
LMSW without disclosing she had been placed in a probationary
status. The Board ordered Forman to no longer work
as a GAL. It prohibited her from all independent practice and
provided she may "engage only in supervised practice,
within a recognized, organized setting such as social,
medical, and governmental agencies." It required her to
submit to the Board semi-annually written reports from her
supervisors for two years.
appealed to the ALC. In its final order, the ALC rejected
Forman's arguments she was entitled to quasi-judicial
immunity and the Board lacked authority to discipline her for
her work as a GAL. The ALC found substantial evidence
supported the Board's decision she had violated section
40-63-110(B)(9) of the South Carolina Code (2011) and
Regulation 110-20(8) by representing to the Board that she
had performed services in the two family court cases that she
did not perform. It reversed the Board's finding Forman
was required to disclose her prior discipline in her GAL
affidavit. Because it found the Board's order was unclear
whether this finding affected the sanctions, the ALC remanded
the matter to the Board for reconsideration of the sanctions.
remand, the Board found Forman's failure to disclose the
previous disciplinary action "played little, if any,
role in its decision for the sanctions imposed."
Accordingly, it imposed the same sanctions as in the original
order. The ALC affirmed this order. This appeal followed.
I. Does quasi-judicial immunity apply to professional
II. Are the Board's findings of fact supported by
III. Does the Board have subject matter jurisdiction to
discipline Forman for her actions as a GAL and to prohibit
her from serving as a GAL?
review of agency decisions is governed by section 1-23-380 of
the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) (Supp. 2015).
Osman v. S.C. Dep't of Labor, Licensing &
Regulation, 382 S.C. 244, ...