SEC. 73-59-13. Charges of misconduct; disciplinary action; investigation; notice and hearing; subpoena; procedure; decision and powers of board; penalties; appeals.
(1) The board, upon satisfactory proof and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the regulations of the board pertaining thereto, is authorized to take the disciplinary actions provided for in this section against any person for any of the following reasons:
(a) Violating any of the provisions of this chapter or the rules or regulations of the board pertaining to the work of residential building or residential improvement;
(b) Fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in obtaining a license;
(c) Gross negligence or misconduct;
(d) Engaging in work of residential building or residential improvement on an expired license or while under suspension or revocation of license unless the suspension or revocation be abated in accordance with this chapter;
(e) Loaning a license to an unlicensed person;
(f) Failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance, if applicable; or
(g) Failing to pay for goods or services for which the builder is contractually bound.
(2) Any person, including members of the board, may prefer charges against any other person for committing any of the acts set forth in subsection (1) of this section. Such charges shall be sworn to, either upon actual knowledge or upon information and belief, and shall be filed with the board.
The board shall investigate all charges filed with it and, upon finding reasonable cause to believe that the charges are not frivolous, unfounded or filed in bad faith, may, in its discretion, cause a hearing to be held, at a time and place fixed by the board, regarding the charges and may compel the accused by subpoena to appear before the board to respond to such charges.
The board shall send a certified inspector to inspect the building or structure which is the subject of a complaint or the board may use a county certified building inspector from the county where the building or structure is located to inspect the building or structure which is the subject of a complaint. The report of the inspector shall be used in the investigation and the determination of the board. The provisions above shall only apply to hearings.
No disciplinary action may be taken until the accused has been furnished both a statement of the charges against him and notice of the time and place of the hearing thereon, which shall be personally served on such accused or mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known business or residence address of the accused not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date fixed for the hearing. The complaining party shall be notified of the place and time of the hearing by mail to the last known business or residence address of the complaining party not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date fixed for the hearing.
(3) At any hearing held hereunder, the board shall have the power to subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and may also require the production of books, papers, documents or other materials which may be pertinent to the proceedings. The board may designate or secure a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. All evidence shall be presented under oath, which may be administered by any member of the board, and thereafter the proceedings may, if necessary, be transcribed in full by a court reporter and filed as part of the record in the case. Copies of such transcriptions may be provided to any party to the proceedings at a price reflecting actual cost, to be fixed by the board.
All witnesses who are subpoenaed and appear in any proceedings before the board shall receive the same fees and mileage as allowed by law to witnesses in county, circuit and chancery court pursuant to Section 25-7-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, and all such fees shall be taxed as part of the costs in the case.
When, in any proceeding before the board, any witness shall fail or refuse to attend upon subpoena issued by the board, shall refuse to testify, or shall refuse to produce any books and papers the production of which is called for by the subpoena, the attendance of such witness and the giving of his testimony and the production of the books and papers shall be enforced by any court of competent jurisdiction of this state in the manner provided for the enforcement of attendance and testimony of witnesses in civil cases in the courts of this state.
The accused and the complaining party shall have the right to be present at the hearing in person, by counsel or other representative, or both. The board is authorized for proper cause to continue or recess the hearing as may be necessary.
(4) At the conclusion of the hearing, the board may either decide the issue at that time or take the case under advisement for further deliberation. The board shall render its decision not more than ninety (90) days after the close of the hearing and shall forward to the last known business or residence address of the accused, by certified mail, return receipt requested, a written statement of the decision of the board.
(5) If a majority of the board finds the accused guilty of the charges filed, the board may:
(a) Issue a public or private reprimand;
(b) Suspend or revoke the license of the accused; or
(c) In lieu of or in addition to any reprimand, suspension or revocation, assess and levy upon the guilty party a monetary penalty of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for each violation.
(6) A monetary penalty assessed and levied under this section shall be paid to the board upon the expiration of the period allowed for appeal of such penalties under this section or may be paid sooner if the guilty party elects. Money collected by the board under this section shall be deposited to the credit of the State Board of Contractors' Fund.
When payment of a monetary penalty assessed and levied by the board in accordance with this section is not paid when due, the board shall have the power to institute and maintain proceedings in its name for enforcement of payment in the chancery court of the county of residence of the delinquent party; however, if the delinquent party is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, such proceedings shall be in the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi.
(7) When the board has taken a disciplinary action under this section, the board may, in its discretion, stay such action and place the guilty party on probation for a period not to exceed one (1) year upon the condition that such party shall not further violate either the laws of the State of Mississippi pertaining to the practice of residential construction or residential remodeling or the bylaws, rules or regulations promulgated by the board.
(8) The board shall not assess any of the costs of disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to this section against the prevailing party.
(9) The power and authority of the board to assess and levy the monetary penalties provided for in this section shall not be affected or diminished by any other proceedings, civil or criminal, concerning the same violation or violations except as provided in this section.
(10) The board, for sufficient cause, may reissue a revoked license whenever a majority of the board members vote to do so.
(11) Any person aggrieved by any order or decision of the board may appeal within ten (10) days from the date of adjournment of the session at which the board rendered such order or decision, and may embody the facts, order and decision in a bill of exceptions which shall be signed by the person acting as chairman of the board. The board shall transmit the bill of exceptions to either the chancery court of the county of residence of the appellant, or the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, at the election of the appellant, and the court or chancellor shall hear and determine the same either in termtime or in vacation, on the case as presented by the bill of exceptions, as an appellant court, and shall affirm or reverse the judgment. If the judgment be reversed, the chancery court or chancellor shall render such order or judgment as the board ought to have rendered, and certify the same to the board; and costs shall be awarded as in other cases. The board may employ counsel to defend such appeals, to be paid out of the funds in the State Board of Contractors' Fund.
The remedies provided under this chapter for any aggrieved applicant shall not be exclusive, but shall be cumulative of and supplemental to any other remedies which he may otherwise have in law or in equity, whether by injunction or otherwise.
(12) Any political subdivision or agency of this state which receives a complaint against a residential builder or remodeler shall, in addition to exercising whatever authority such political subdivision or agency has been given over such complaint, forward the complaint to the board.
(13) In addition to the reasons specified in subsection (1) of this section, the board shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153. The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be. Actions taken by the board in suspending a license when required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 are not actions from which an appeal may be taken under this section. Any appeal of a license suspension that is required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 shall be taken in accordance with the appeal procedure specified in Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, rather than the procedure specified in this section. If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.
SOURCES: Laws, 1993, ch. 534, Sec. 7; reenacted and amended, 1995, ch. 431, Sec. 7, eff from and after passage (approved March 16, 1995), and shall stand repealed July 1, 2000 Laws, 1996, ch. 507, Sec. 84, eff from and after July 1, 1996. Reenacted and amended by Laws 2000, Ch. 345, Sec. 7, HB263, eff. July 1, 2000.
PREVIOUS VERSIONS: Pre-2000