Friday, June 8, 2012 | 4:42 p.m.
A federal appeals court denied a petition from Dr. Kevin Buckwalter of Henderson who sued the Nevada Medical Examiners Board for suspending his license to prescribe drugs after he was linked to deaths of patients.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the members of the medical board are immune from suit for money damages. And it denied Buckwalter's motion for the full membership of the court to rehear the case.
The examiners board in 2008 stripped Buckwalter of his license to prescribe drugs after finding cases of excessive doses of narcotics that may have resulted in the death of at least one patient.
And there were allegations other patients had died from the overprescription of the narcotic drugs.
In an emergency meeting in 2008, the examiners board suspended the license of Buckwalter. There were at least two subsequent efforts to reach a settlement that were unsuccessful.
Buckwalter maintained his constitutional rights were violated because the board failed to give him notice of the suspension hearing. And he complained that the board failed to conduct a hearing on the suspension after the order was filed.
The court said the medical board members are comparable to judges and are entitled to "absolute immunity." Buckwalter also maintained the board took the disciplinary action on flimsy evidence. But the court said Buckwalter should have presented that argument at a hearing before the board.
The court in 2011 denied Buckwalter's first appeal but then he asked for a rehearing.