CHAD R. ERICKSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
THE IDAHO BOARD OF LICENSURE OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS AND PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYORS and KEITH SIMILA, in his capacity as Executive Director of the Idaho Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors, Defendants-Respondents.
from the District Court of the Second Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Idaho County. Hon. Gregory FitzMaurice,
opinion of the district court is reversed and the Board's
order against Erickson is vacated.
Chad R. Erickson, appellant pro se.
Michael J. Kane & Associates, PLLC, Boise, for
respondent. Michael J. Kane argued.
NATURE OF THE CASE
Idaho Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers and
Professional Land Surveyors (the Board), through its
executive director, Keith Simila, brought disciplinary
proceedings against Chad R. Erickson for allegedly violating
certain statutes and rules governing the surveying
profession. Following an administrative hearing, the Board
found that Erickson violated a number of the statutes and
rules alleged and revoked his license as a professional land
surveyor. Erickson appealed the revocation of his license to
the district court. The district court upheld the Board's
finding that Erickson had committed certain violations;
however, the district court reversed the portion of the
Board's Order revoking Erickson's license and
remanded the matter for further consideration of the
appropriate sanction. Erickson appeals from the district
court's decision, arguing that the evidence does not
support the Board's finding of any violations. In
addition, Erickson asserts that numerous procedural errors
made by the Board necessitate reversal. For the reasons
stated below, we reverse.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Erickson's survey of Section 24.
underlying controversy surrounding the Board's
disciplinary action began when Erickson, a licensed
professional land surveyor in Idaho, prepared a record of
survey for his clients, Sydney and Dorothy Walker (the
Walkers), on July 27, 2010. In that survey, Erickson rejected
an original stone monument, known as the Carl Edwards
monument,  located at the southwest corner of Section
24, Township 30 North, Range 3 East, Boise Meridian, Idaho
County, Idaho ("Section 24"), by moving the corner
approximately 272 feet to the south in favor of the Walkers.
Erickson failed to note in the survey of record a parcel of
land owned by the Grangeville Highway District, implying the
Walkers owned the parcel.
also authored a survey report in July 2010, explaining his
reasons for relocating the monument, many of which the Board
found to be "significantly faulty." The survey
report also speculated that the Walkers' adjoining
neighbors, Diane and Richard Badertscher (the Badertschers),
had encroached upon the Walkers' property by building a
fence based upon a survey from 1996 that Erickson claimed was
incorrect. Since Erickson's surveys, there has been
ongoing litigation concerning the true location of the
boundaries to the neighboring properties.
December 29, 2011, Erickson sent the Walkers a document
titled "Report on the Southwest Corner of Section
24." This document was unstamped and unsigned. In that
document, Erickson stated that his original conclusions in
the 2010 survey of record and survey report were erroneous.
However, he continued to reject the Carl Edwards monument,
referring to both it and his newly monumented corner as
"bogus." It appears Erickson was willing to
relocate the corner to its "correct" location if
the Walkers paid him to do so. However, the Walkers chose not
to rehire Erickson. There is no evidence in the record to
suggest that Erickson filed an amended corner record or an
amended record of survey to memorialize or correct his
March 2015, Erickson published an article in American
Surveyor magazine, justifying his rejection of the Carl
Edwards monument. In that article, he cited information not
mentioned in his original survey report to the Walkers. Prior
to the publication of his article, Erickson recorded a
document nearly identical to the article, entitled
"Survey Report," with the Idaho County Courthouse.
Erickson's article and survey report allegedly contained
negative references about the Walkers and the surveyor they
hired to replace him.
Disciplinary proceedings by the Board.
February 24, 2011, the Board received a letter from the
Badertschers styled as a "complaint" against
Erickson. However, the letter was not a formal complaint as
it was unsworn. The Board initiated an investigation into the
allegations made in the letter. On May 5, 2011, the Board
entered an order extending the time to investigate the matter
raised in the letter. In addition to the Badertschers'
letter, the Board received a letter from Dorothy Walker on
March 31, 2015, alleging similar complaints regarding
Erickson. On June 10, 2015, the Board also extended the time
to investigate the charges alleged by the Walkers. Both
letters related to the 2010 survey.
completion of the Board's investigation, Simila, the
Executive Director of the Board, filed a complaint against
Erickson on October 28, 2015. The complaint alleged that
Erickson violated a number of Idaho statutes and the Idaho
Rules of Professional Responsibility for professional
engineers and land surveyors. An administrative hearing
regarding the complaint was set for June 20, 2016, through
June 22, 2016. While the administrative matter was
proceeding, Erickson filed a Petition for Judicial Review
with the district court, which was dismissed on June 13,
2016, primarily due to a lack of jurisdiction.
first day of the administrative hearing, Erickson orally
requested a continuance, on the grounds that the district
court entered its June 2016 order dismissing Erickson's
petition for judicial review less than one week prior to the
administrative hearing. Simila's counsel provided the
Board with evidence of an offer it made to vacate and
reschedule the June 20, 2016, hearing in return for Erickson
agreeing to the date set by the Board. Erickson declined the
offer. Therefore, the Board denied his request for a
also moved to disqualify the entire Board, claiming that each
member was personally biased against him. The Board denied
the motion, although one Board member recused himself from
the proceedings. Additionally, Erickson moved to disqualify
the Board's expert witness, John Elle, who was also a
Board member but participated only as an expert at the
hearing. The Board also denied this ...