Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County. No. 93L607. Honorable Dan L. Flannell, Judge Presiding.
As Corrected March 31, 1995.
Honorable Carl A. Lund, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, P.j., Honorable John T. McCULLOUGH, J. Knecht, P.j., and McCULLOUGH, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lund
JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court:
Plaintiff Steven Zielinski filed a 42-page, 12-count complaint in the circuit court of Champaign County, listing the following as defendants: Richard Schmalbeck, Gerard V. Bradley, Jeanne E. Galvin, and Robert Barry. Based upon defendants' motions under sections 2-615 and 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-615, 2-619 (West 1992)), the trial court dismissed all counts with prejudice. Sanctions based upon Supreme Court Rule 137 (134 Ill. 2d R. 137) totaling $26,872.76 were entered against plaintiff and his attorney, Jerrold H. Stocks. Plaintiff appeals from both the dismissal and the sanctions. Stocks appeals from the sanctions.
A. Plaintiff Steven R. Zielinski
Plaintiff first obtained his medical degree and then became a law student at the University of Illinois (U of I) College of Law. He became friends with defendant Bradley and was introduced to defendant Galvin. Eventually, he became the subject of complaints of sexual harassment from Galvin.
B. Defendant Richard Schmalbeck
Schmalbeck, dean of the U of I College of Law (Dean), was responsible for certifying plaintiff's character, upon graduation, to the Illinois State Board of Law Examiners (Board of Examiners) (now the Board of Admissions to the Bar) and the Character and Fitness Committee (Committee). Based upon information from Bradley and Galvin, he refused to certify plaintiff's character.
C. Defendant Gerard V. Bradley
Bradley was a law professor at the U of I College of Law, and the trial practice course was one of his responsibilities. He evidently introduced Galvin to plaintiff. He eventually recommended that the Dean not certify plaintiff as being morally fit to practice law in Illinois. Bradley was (as were Galvin, Barry, and plaintiff) involved in what is popularly referred to as the "pro-life movement."
D. Defendant Jeanne E. Galvin
Galvin was a student at the U of I College of Law, as well as being a student in Bradley's trial practice course. She was active in the pro-life movement and sought medical knowledge from plaintiff in connection with her pro-life activities. She eventually complained of plaintiff's harassment.
E. Defendant Robert Barry
Defendant Barry is apparently a priest who was an advisor to a pro-life organization that existed on the U of I campus. Plaintiff, for a time, was apparently part of this pro-life group.
Stocks is plaintiff's attorney of record in the trial court proceedings.
The pleadings and arguments provide a view of the background for the cause of action. Plaintiff and Bradley were friends. Bradley introduced plaintiff to Galvin. All were interested in the pro-life movement, and Galvin thought plaintiff's medical background would be helpful. Plaintiff's interest in Galvin eventually went beyond the pro-life movement. Galvin's interest did not go beyond friendship, and she rebuffed plaintiff. According to Galvin's communication to Bradley, and eventually to Schmalbeck, plaintiff's conduct was, in her opinion, sexual harassment and included plaintiff's contact with Galvin's parents. Bradley rebuked plaintiff. Bradley's communication to Schmalbeck included allegations that plaintiff had made false allegations of unethical conduct by Galvin in her trial practice participation. Bradley's communication to Schmalbeck stated that plaintiff was not morally fit to practice law. Schmalbeck informed plaintiff that he was not furnishing the Board of Examiners with the usual certification related to character and fitness.
Barry allegedly made statements to the pro-life group that plaintiff had sexually harassed Galvin. He allegedly also responded negatively in a report to the Committee. The negative report was based upon the alleged harassment. After a hearing before the Committee, plaintiff was granted the license to practice law in Illinois in May 1993.
Plaintiff received his law degree in August 1991 and, about April 30, 1992, delivered to Schmalbeck a form certificate from the Board of Examiners. This form was used to establish that the applicant for law license had obtained necessary educational requirements. It also called ...