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Chicago College of Osteopathy v. Puffer

OPINION FILED JUNE 22, 1954.

CHICAGO COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHY, APPELLANT,

v.

NOBLE J. PUFFER, AS DIRECTOR OF DEPARTMENT OF REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION OF STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE.



Appeal by plaintiff from the Superior Court of Cook county; the Hon. JAMES J. McDERMOTT, Judge, presiding. Heard in the second division of this court for the first district at the June term, 1953. Judgment reversed and cause remanded with directions. Opinion filed June 22, 1954. Released for publication July 9, 1954.

MR. JUSTICE ROBSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is an action under the Administrative Review Act brought by the Chicago College of Osteopathy, plaintiff, to review a final administrative decision by Noble J. Puffer, as Director of the Department of Registration and Education, defendant (hereinafter called Department), denying plaintiff's application for approval as a college whose graduates are permitted to take examinations conducted by the Department for a license to practice medicine in all its branches. Vera M. Binks, now Director of the Department, was substituted as defendant by order of the trial court without change in the title of the cause. The trial court conducted a hearing on the record made before the Department and affirmed the decision of the Department. Plaintiff appealed from this order.

The first question that we must decide is a motion of the Department, which was taken with the case, to dismiss the appeal on the ground that plaintiff failed to join as parties defendant the members of the Medical Examining Committee. Defendant in support of its contention cites as directly in point the case of Cuny v. Annunzio, 411 Ill. 613. This involved an appeal from a judgment of the superior court of Cook county affirming a decision of the Board of Review of the Department of Labor which approved the findings of the deputy and referee of the Division of Unemployment Compensation. The sole defendant named in the complaint was the Director of Labor of the State of Illinois, and a review was sought of the decision of the Board of Review of that department. The Director moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that appellant had failed to join as parties defendant the Board of Review. The plaintiff contended that while the Board of Review is an administrative agency, it is not independent of the Director but is in reality a division of the Department. The Supreme Court held that the Board of Review was a necessary party defendant on appeal saying, at p. 616:

"The decision of the Board of Review in this cause terminates proceedings within the Department of Labor and review of the Board's decisions on matters pertaining to unemployment compensation lies only to the circuit court or superior court. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1945, chap. 48, par. 230.) Thus, while the Board of Review may be a division or arm of the Department of Labor which operates under the superintendence of a Director, it is the Board which acted as the administrative agency and entered the administrative decision, and is the party contemplated by section 8 of the Administrative Review Act."

It is clear from this decision that the Board of Review was independent of the Director of Labor and could make final decisions. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1945, chap. 127, par. 44a [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 126.164(1)].) It is also provided in chapter 48, paragraph 230 of the Unemployment Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1945 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 45.141]) that the Director or Board of Review, as the case may be, shall be competent to make "final administrative decisions" and that the "Board of Review or the Director, as the case may be, shall certify the record of the proceedings to the Circuit or Superior Court. . . ." (Cf. Abbott Publishing Co. v. Annunzio, 414 Ill. 559.)

We have examined the comparable provisions of the Medical Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, chap. 91 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 79.01-79.40]) and we find no provision giving the Medical Examining Committee a like degree of independence of the Director of Registration and Education. The Department contends that paragraph 60a of the Civil Administrative Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, chap. 127, par. 60a [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 126.189]) authorizes the Medical Examining Committee to function as an administrative agency within the purview of paragraph 8 of the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, chap. 110, par. 271 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 104.094(8)]). Paragraph 8 reads:

"In any action to review any final decision of an administrative agency, the administrative agency and all persons, other than the plaintiff, who were parties of record to the proceedings before the administrative agency shall be made defendants."

Paragraph 60a reads:

"None of the functions, and duties enumerated in section 60 of this Act shall be exercised by the Department of Registration and Education except upon the action and report in writing of a committee which shall be composed of persons designated from time to time or as hereinafter set forth by the Director of Registration and Education to take such action and to make such report, for the respective professions, trades and occupations. . . ."

[2-4] In our opinion paragraph 60a makes it clear that the Medical Examining Committee exercises no final decision-making powers. It is merely a fact-finding body that makes recommendations in a report to the Director. Bodenweiser v. Department of Registration & Education, 347 Ill. 115, 121; Schireson v. Walsh, 354 Ill. 40, 55; Smith v. Department of Registration & Education, 412 Ill. 332, 333; and see, generally, 18 A.L.R.2d 606 et seq. The Director, though not possessing power to act without the Committee's recommendations, in his sole discretion decides whether the Committee's findings and recommendations shall be adopted by him and become final or the matter returned to the same committee or another for rehearing. (Ill. Rev. Stats. 1951, chap. 91, pars. 16b-1, 16d; chap. 127, pars. 60, 60a [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 79.18(1), 79.20, 126.188, 126.189].) An appeal may be had to the circuit or superior courts only if he adopts the findings and recommendations of the Committee. This case is, therefore, clearly distinguishable from Cuny v. Annunzio, supra, where the action of the Board terminated the proceedings.

[5-7] Prior to the Illinois Administrative Review Act of 1945, review of an administrative agency's decision was generally by way of the common-law writ of certiorari. (See, e.g., par. 17, Medical Practice Act, Laws 1923, p. 436; chap. 91, par. 16b, Smith-Hurd Ann. Stat.) By that procedure, many cases were on review prosecuted against the Director or the Department. (See e.g., Schireson v. Walsh, supra; Bodenweiser v. Department of Registration & Education, supra; and see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, chap. 127, par. 4 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 126.123].) Return to the writ was made by the Director. (Cf. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1945, chap. 48, par. 230 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 45.141].) The Administrative Review Act of 1945 did not reorganize the sources of power and authority vested by other Acts in the several offices or officers of any one department. It primarily effected uniform administrative review procedure and broader review on appeal from the administrative agency's final decisions. Under the Act, the Director of Registration and Education remains the official empowered to certify and file the record of administrative proceedings on appeal. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, chap. 91, par. 16b-3; chap. 127, par. 4; and cf. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, chap. 48, par. 520 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 79.18(3), 126.123, 45.211].)

We are of the opinion that the Medical Examining committee is not a final decision-making body under paragraph 8 of the Administrative Review Act. Therefore its members were not necessary parties defendant in this proceeding. Defendant's motion to dismiss is denied.

The next question is whether the Department was lawfully justified in denying plaintiff's application. The decision of the Department was based upon its adoption of six findings of the Medical Examining Committee holding that the plaintiff had failed to comply with certain fixed rules and standards of the Department for approval as a medical college. These rules and standards were promulgated pursuant to sections 19 and 20 of the Medical Practice Act of 1923. (Laws 1923, p. 436, Smith-Hurd Ann. Stat. chap. 91, secs. 16d and 16e [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 79.20, 79.21].) For a proper understanding of this controversy, it is necessary to review some of its history.

The Medical Practice Act of 1899 was held unconstitutional because of its discriminatory provisions against osteopaths. People v. Schaeffer, 310 Ill. 574. The court said at p. 583:

"This statute therefore tends to deprive the osteopaths of their constitutional right to practice surgery, who are, so far as this record shows, just as efficient and as well prepared by college and hospital training to practice surgery as are the physicians of the medical schools. The act is therefore void as to such physicians so deprived."

The same type of discrimination appeared in the Medical Practice Act of 1917, and that was held unconstitutional. People v. Love, 298 Ill. 304. In the case of People v. Witte, 315 Ill. 282, in which the Supreme Court had for consideration the constitutionality of the present Medical Practice Act, it said, construing the subsections of sections 19 and 20, at p. 292:

"The first subsection of section 19 requires the department to make rules for establishing reasonable minimum standards of educational requirements to be observed by medical colleges, or by any professional school, college or institution teaching any system or method of treating human ailments, and to determine the reputability and good standing of all schools, colleges and institutions. By the twentieth section it is provided that the provisions of the act shall not be so construed as to discriminate against any system or method of treating human ailments, or against any medical college or any professional school, college or institution teaching any system or method of treating human ailments, on account of any such system or method which may be taught or emphasized in such medical college or in any such professional school, college or institution. Hence the act requires the making of rules and regulations under which all examinations shall be conducted; it enjoins uniformity in examinations, so far as their nature will permit; it imposes the duty of making rules for establishing reasonable minimum standards of educational requirements, and it expressly prohibits discrimination against any system or method of treating human ailments or against any medical school or college whatever. The department is not permitted, under the act, arbitrarily to prescribe minimum standards of educational requirements nor conduct examinations of applicants for licenses according to its arbitrary whim or caprice. The rules and regulations promulgated by the department are subject to review by the courts to determine whether or not they are reasonable."

It is encumbent upon us on the basis of the record to determine whether the rules and regulations of the Department are fair; whether the plaintiff has substantially complied with these rules and regulations and whether discrimination has been practiced against it in the findings made by the Medical Examining Committee and in the approval of its findings by the Department.

The relevant parts of the lengthy record reveal the following: On May 19, 1949, plaintiff made its application and at the request of the Department submitted information to the Medical Examining Committee preliminary to a complete investigation of the hospital. Correspondence was had with the chairman of the Committee pertaining to it. An examination of the school was made by the Committee on October 20, 1949. A lengthy report was filed by plaintiff setting forth the organization, administration, property statement, equipment valuation, teaching ...


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