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Ikpoh v. Department of Professional Regulation

May 2, 2003

EMMANUEL C. IKPOH, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
THE DEPARTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL REGULATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Nancy J. Arnold Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gallagher

PUBLISHED

The defendant, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (the Department), appeals from a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County that granted a writ of prohibition enjoining the Department from holding further hearings to suspend, revoke or otherwise discipline the medical license of plaintiff Emmanuel Ikpoh (Ikpoh) which had previously been revoked and further ordered the Department to dismiss the administrative action pending against Ikpoh. We reverse.

BACKGROUND

On August 2, 1990, the Department summarily suspended Ikpoh's medical license for immoral and unprofessional conduct. In November 1991, the Department revoked Ikpoh's medical license for a minimum of five years on grounds of his felony conviction for criminal sexual abuse of a 13-year-old minor and other sexual misconduct with his patients.

In February 1996, Ikpoh filed a petition to restore his license. In his petition, Ikpoh stated that no medical license issued to him by another state had ever been disciplined or challenged and that he had not been arrested or convicted since the time his Illinois license was disciplined.

In October and November 1996, a hearing was held before the Department's administrative law judge, Philip S. Howe (ALJ Howe), on Ikpoh's petition for restoration. Shortly thereafter, on January 8, 1997, ALJ Howe recommended to the Department's Medical Disciplinary Board (the Board) that Ikpoh's petition be denied. Shortly thereafter, on February 19, 1997, the Board adopted ALJ Howe's decision and recommended to the Director of the Department, Nikki Zollar (Director Zollar), that Ikpoh's petition be denied. The Board based its recommendations on several factors, including the following:

(1) that Ikpoh did not make full restitution to the female victim;

(2) that Ikpoh showed no contriteness and was not credible, but instead argumentative;

(3) that Ikpoh did not submit a current psychological evaluation to show that he was sufficiently rehabilitated;

(4) that Ikpoh did not provide sufficient evidence of qualitative and quantitative rehabilitation; and

(5) that Ikpoh did not disclose on certain application forms his felony conviction for criminal sexual abuse and his Illinois license revocation.

Upon receipt of the 20-day notice informing him that the Board recommended denial of his petition, Ikpoh filed a motion for rehearing. During the time that Ikpoh's motion for rehearing was pending, two events occurred. The first event occurred on August 7, 1997, when the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana placed Ikpoh's Indiana medical license on indefinite suspension. The second event took place on August 26, 1997, when Ikpoh was arrested by the police department of Bartlett, Illinois, on the felony charge of failing to register as a convicted sex offender. Ikpoh took no action after August 7, 1997, to inform the Illinois Department about the Indiana suspension and took no action to correct the then-false statement in his petition for restoration that no license to practice medicine in another state had been disciplined. In addition, Ikpoh failed to take any action after August 26 to inform the Department of his arrest and took no action to correct the then-false statement that he had not been arrested since the time his Illinois license was disciplined. On September 11, 1997, presumably unaware that these events had transpired while Ikpoh's motion for rehearing was pending, Director Zollar rejected the Board's recommendation that Ikpoh's petition for restoration of his license be denied and ordered that Ikpoh's license be restored subject to certain conditions.

On September 12, 1997, a grand jury indicted Ikpoh for his alleged crime. On or about September 17, 1997, the Department learned of Ikpoh's arrest and subsequently learned of his indictment. As a result, on September 19, 1997, the Department filed with the Director a motion to supplement the record and vacate her order of September 11, 1997. On the same day, finding that Ikpoh's arrest for failure to register as a felon convicted of sexual abuse may pose an immediate danger to the public and that Ikpoh's arrest and indictment for failure to register as a felon convicted of sexual abuse was newly discovered evidence that was relevant to the petition for restoration, the Director granted the Department's motion and vacated her September 11, 1997, decision. She remanded the case to the ALJ and ordered that an additional hearing be held.

On December 15, 1997, prior to the start of the supplemental administrative hearing ordered by Director Zollar, the Department filed a nine-count administrative complaint, with the administrative case number of 1997-51323, against Ikpoh. In March 1998, Ikpoh's motion to dismiss the complaint was denied. In August 1999, the Department filed an amended complaint, adding ...


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