The 17th and final day of testimony in the trial of Balpal Sandhu, who’s accused of negligent practices at his veterinary facilities in the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, wrapped up Wednesday.
However, any outcome for the proceedings, which have a process spelled out in the Administrative Procedure Act, is unlikely to happen until at least some time in the second half of next year.
Sandhu stands accused of 41 causes for action with respect to the veterinary facilities he runs in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. The complaint against his three facilities — All Creatures Emergency in Newhall, Canyon Country Animal Hospital and Antelope Valley Veterinary Center — was filed in November 2019. His license has been under probationary status since a previous three-cause complaint was adjudicated in 2016.
While the presentation of evidence with respect to the complaint wrapped up Wednesday, now begin the final stages, and then a lengthy review of the material, a decision and then any potential administrative action that could arise from the judge’s decision.
The next step for the proceedings in the 72-page cause of action against Sandhu is for Deputy Attorney General Nancy Kaiser to submit a closing brief to presiding Judge Ji-lan Zang, which is expected sometime toward the end of January. (The complaint is available here.)
The respondent then is expected to submit his response by mid-February, and then once both sides have submitted their briefs, Zang will take both, as well as the evidence, into consideration and issue her decision sometime in mid-March, according to the timeline discussed Wednesday during the virtual trial.
The issuance of Zang’s opinion would then prompt the start of a timeline for the Veterinary Medical Board, a Department of the Consumer Affairs agency. VMB members would then decide whether they concur with the judge’s decision or plan to modify it.
Their process can take up to 100 days, and could include a tweaking of the order but, according to a person familiar with these types of hearings, the board often concurs with the judge’s findings. If the board does not act on the decision, then Zang’s ruling on the matter would stand as the outcome.