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Robert C. Gross v. the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

November 2, 2011

ROBERT C. GROSS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION AND DANIEL E. BLUTHARDT, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF PROFESSIONAL REGULATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION,
DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. 09 CH 24019 Honorable Martin S. Agran, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Neville

JUSTICE NEVILLE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion . Justices Murphy and Salone concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Dr. Robert Gross filed a complaint for administrative review of a decision of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department), which held that the Department would refuse to renew Dr. Gross's license. The Department based its decision on a settlement reached between Dr. Gross and an inquiry panel of the Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners (Colorado Board). When the Colorado Board began to investigate allegations of misconduct brought against Dr. Gross, Dr. Gross agreed to have the Colorado Board place his license permanently on inactive status so that the Colorado Board would not formally charge him and he would not need to undergo the process of a full investigation and hearing. Dr. Gross argued to the Department and on administrative review that the Department should not discipline him based on the Colorado settlement because the Colorado Board never charged him with misconduct and it never imposed discipline on him. The trial court affirmed the Department's decision to refuse to renew Dr. Gross's license. Dr. Gross now appeals.

¶ 2 We find that the Department did not clearly err when it held that the agreement to place Dr. Gross's license permanently on inactive status counts as disciplinary action withing the meaning of the Illinois Medical Practice Act of 1987 (Illinois Act) (225 ILCS 60/1 et seq. (West 2006)). Therefore, we affirm the decisions of the trial court and the Department.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 Dr. Gross held licenses to practice medicine in Colorado, Michigan and Illinois. Dr. Gross did not renew his Illinois license after it expired in 2005. In May 2006, the Colorado Board reviewed seven of Dr. Gross's cases and referred the matter to the state Attorney General for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Gross. Dr. Gross reached an agreement with the Colorado Board in August 2006. The agreed order provides:

"4. It is the intent of the parties and the purpose of this *** Order *** to provide for a settlement of all matters set forth [in the allegations] *** without the necessity of holding a formal disciplinary hearing. ***

6. The Panel has reviewed seven of Respondent's surgical - cases and has found that Respondent failed to meet generally accepted standards of medical practice with regard to several cases. Respondent does not admit and specifically denies all allegations of unprofessional conduct. In order to resolve the differences between the parties and avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation, the parties have agreed to the terms of this Order.

7. The parties specifically agree that the terms of this Order are authorized by §§ 12-36-117(1)(p) and 12-36-118(5)(g)(III), C.R.S. [Colorado Revised Statutes.]

PERMANENT LICENSE INACTIVATION

8. Commencing on the effective date of this Order, Respondent's license will be placed on inactive status.

9. Following inactivation of his license, Respondent shall not perform any act requiring a license issued by the Board.

10. Respondent agrees that the inactivation of his license shall be permanent and Respondent shall not apply to reactivate his ...


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