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Mark Gekas v. Peter Vasiliades

April 13, 2011

MARK GEKAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PETER VASILIADES, MARY RANIELI, JOHN LAGATUTTA, DANIEL BLUTHARDT, JOHN KRISKO AND FRANK MAGGIO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

Wednesday, 13 April, 2011 01:26:06 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff Mark Gekas is a dentist who has filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against employees of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation ("IDFPR") for violating his First Amendment rights. The employees, Defendants Peter Vasiliades, Mary Ranieli, John Lagatutta, Daniel Bluthardt, John Krisko and Frank Maggio have collectively filed Defendants' Third Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss. Id. at d/e 35 (hereinafter the "Motion").*fn1 For the reasons stated below, the Motion is DENIED.

FACTS

In 1988, Gekas complained to the Deputy Governor of Illinois about the way Michael Vold, Dental Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation ("IDFPR"), performed his official duties. Over the years, Plaintiff met with Illinois State Senator Larry Bomke and IDFPR Director Daniel Bluthardt to complain about Vold and how IDFPR performed its duties. On September 27, 2005, Robert A. Rechner, the Executive Director of the Illinois State Dental Society, wrote a letter to Bluthardt complaining about IDFPR's treatment of Plaintiff.

In 2002, IDFPR employees Peter Vasiliades, Mary Ranieli, John Lagatutta, John Krisko, Frank Maggio and Bluthardt all participated in the initiation of two administrative proceedings against Gekas. These same individuals participated in yet another administrative proceeding against Gekas in 2003. Gekas prevailed in the administrative proceedings and all claims against him were dismissed in December 2008.

On December 9, 2008, Plaintiff filed a Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request to obtain documents relating to IDFPR's various actions. By the summer of 2009, Krisko, Ranieli and Vasiliades launched an investigation into Gekas' dental practice.

Gekas filed the instant § 1983 lawsuit against Defendants Daniel Bluthardt, Peter Vasiliades, Mary Ranieli, John Lagatutta, John Krisko, and Frank Maggio on March 18, 2010. Gekas alleges that the Defendants' conduct was in retaliation for his criticisms of IDFPR and its personnel. He asserts that the retaliation by these government officials violated his First Amendment rights and caused him to suffer harm.

The Defendants' Motion seeks dismissal of Gekas' claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Defendants have filed a Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Third Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss. See d/e 36 (hereinafter "Defendants' Memorandum"). Gekas has responded and the matter is ripe for decision.

JURISDICTION & VENUE

The federal question posed by Gekas' § 1983 claim gives this Court subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §1331. Personal jurisdiction and venue requirements are satisfied because the relevant acts occurred in this judicial district. See World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980) (personal jurisdiction exists where a defendant "purposefully avail[ed] [himself or herself] of the privilege of conducting activities" in the forum state); see 28 U.S.C. §1391(b) (venue in non-diversity cases is proper in a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State).

STANDARD

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, "the district court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Evers v. Astrue, 536 F.3d 651, 656 (7th Cir.2008). Factual allegations must satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)'s notice pleading requirements. The United States Supreme Court has reviewed Rule 8(a)'s pleading requirements and has held that "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." See Bell Atl. Corp. v. ...


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