Ruling mixed in CAMFT-BBS “gap exam” lawsuit

Court finds the BBS must consult with Office of Professional Examination Services to determine whether a “gap exam” is needed for MFTs seeking LPCC licensure.

JudgesTools IconAt 11:00 this morning, the California Superior Court for Sacramento County issued a tentative ruling in the CAMFT-BBS lawsuit over MFTs who wish to be grandparented into LPCC licensure. It leaves hanging the question of whether there will actually be such an exam — though it appears highly likely.

I’ve previously written about the issue here and here, the first of which offers a better review of the details.

Today’s ruling is mixed, siding with the BBS on two key questions and with CAMFT on one:

  1. The BBS was within its authority in determining that “the profession” and “the practice of the profession” mean effectively the same thing.
  2. The BBS was within its authority (and reading the law reasonably) in determining that those seeking grandparenting into LPCC licensure must be tested on any differences between the professions.
  3. The BBS went beyond its authority by determining that a “gap exam” was necessary without adequate consultation with the state’s Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES), as required by law.

Ultimately, the court orders that the decision to require a “gap exam” be set aside until the OPES consultation has taken place (which must be within 60 days) and the BBS makes a determination based in part upon the results of that consultation. Since the BBS and its contracted consultant both previously concluded that there were meaningful differences between the professions, the court ruling on the first two questions above suggests a strong likelihood that the BBS will go forward with an exam, but it is not fully certain.

You can read the ruling in full here.


Updated 1-30-2011: The court heard oral argument on Friday, to no effect — it adopted what had been the tentative ruling. The BBS now has 60 days to consult with OPES and make a final determination on the need for a gap exam.


Update 2-6-2011: CAMFT has released their spin on the Gap Exam ruling, which seems sure to mislead at least some readers. There’s nothing there that’s technically incorrect, but it takes a fair amount of reading to get the full picture. People who just read the headline, or even the headline and the first couple of paragraphs, will likely come away believing there will be no Gap Exam. Since CAMFT lost on the two substantive arguments that would suggest the exam is unnecessary, it still seems likely that an exam will be given.

Also updated the headline, as the court adopted its tentative ruling.