Austin,Texas—The government lied to Patricia Mosley about how to properly appeal a decision barring her from working as a home health aide, and this morning the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the government’s actions violated her due process rights. Mosley is a nurse who was placed on an “Employee Misconduct Registry” maintained by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. In an official letter sent to Mosley, the department misstated the procedure to appeal this decision. After Mosley followed the letter’s instructions, she was informed that her appeal had not been filed properly and that she had no further recourse in the law. This effectively barred Mosley from her job.
The court, in an opinion penned by Justice Jeff Brown, ruled that the department violated Mosley’s right to due process with Justice Jimmy Blacklock writing in the concurrence, “This is not primarily a case about Mosley’s ignorance of the law. It is a case about the government’s ignorance of the law.” In upholding Mosley’s right to due process, the court relied on a friend of the court brief filed by the Institute for Justice:
“The Texas Supreme Court got it exactly right,” said IJ Attorney Anya Bidwell, the lead author on the brief. “The government cannot mislead individuals and then turn around and say: ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us.’ People have a right to due process and government has a constitutional obligation to provide it. No excuses.”