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Attorney Challenges Peer Review Process

ORLANDO (CN) - A Brevard County attorney claims the Florida Bar's peer review process unconstitutionally denied him the right to see his peer reviews and cost him his certification as an elder law specialist. Robin Petersen was a Florida elder law-certified attorney from 1998 until the Bar rejected his application for specialty re-certification last year.

The application process "requires that an attorney applicant for specialization show 'satisfactory' peer review," by listing the names of five other attorneys whom the Bar can interview, according to the federal complaint.

Petersen says he applied for recertification in April 2008 but the Bar rejected him in February 2009 because "his peer review did not meet the requisite 'standards' of competence and professionalism."

Petersen disputes that, and claims that due process requires that he be allowed to see the negative peer review and be given an opportunity to rebut it.

Petersen says he requested the materials several time, but the Bar refused.

He seeks declaratory judgment that the Florida Bar's "policies pertaining to the confidentiality of peer review materials in re-certification matters either facially violate the Due Process Clause or are unconstitutional."

Petersen is represented by Douglas Beam of Melbourne, Fla.

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