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Jack V. Rodriquez v. the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

December 27, 2011

JACK V. RODRIQUEZ,
PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANT,
v.
THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Division of Professional Regulation, No. 08 L 50717 Honorable Sanjay T. Tailor, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Quinn

PRESIDING JUSTICE QUINN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Garcia and Lampkin concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Plaintiff Jack V. Rodriquez, M.D., appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment against him and in favor of defendant the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation, Division of Professional Regulation (Department). We reverse in part and affirm in part.*fn1

¶ 2 In 2003, the Department filed a complaint against plaintiff under the Department's rules for contested cases in administrative hearings (Rules) (68 Ill. Adm. Code 1110 et seq. (2011)). The Department alleged plaintiff violated section 22 of the Medical Practice Act of 1987 (225 ILCS 60/22 (West 2002)) by improperly using electroconvulsive therapy. The parties agreed to stay the proceedings while plaintiff pursued the following two circuit court actions relating to the discovery and evidence rules found in actions brought under the Rules.

¶ 3 In 2004, plaintiff filed suit, seeking an order compelling the issuance of deposition subpoenas for several witnesses relevant to his defense. Plaintiff argued that sections 2105-15 and 2105-105 of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois (Code) (20 ILCS 2105/2105-15, 2105-105 (West 2004)), defendant's enabling statute, mandated their issuance. The circuit court denied plaintiff's request and he appealed. We affirmed on appeal, holding that section 21-150 of the Code did not apply to proceedings brought under the Medical Practice Act and plaintiff was not entitled to the subpoenas he sought. Rodriquez v. Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, 374 Ill. App. 3d 270, 870 N.E.2d 1029 (2007).

¶ 4 In 2005, plaintiff filed a second complaint, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiff argued that section 1110.220 of the Rules was invalid because it conflicted with the Department's enabling statute. The court granted summary judgment for plaintiff, finding that section 1110.220 was void because it conflicted with the enabling statute as plaintiff contended. The Department filed a motion for relief from judgment under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2004). The court granted that motion and vacated the earlier order invalidating section 1110.220 of the Rules. On appeal, we reversed and reinstated the court's original order declaring the section invalid. We held that the trial court had improperly granted the section 2-1401 motion. Rodriquez v. Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, No. 1-06-0236 (2007) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23) (Rodriquez II).

¶ 5 On January 16, 2008, plaintiff participated in a settlement meeting with the Department to discuss his charges. On April 18, 2008, the Department informed plaintiff in a letter that it "determined that no violation of the Medical Practice Act of 1987 ha[d] occurred" and "ordered th[e] file closed." The letter also said "that the file concerning these allegations is confidential and will not be made available for public inspection." Plaintiff tried to persuade the Department to "withdraw" the complaint against him, but the Department insisted that the case was "closed." The Department refused to dismiss the case with prejudice "in keeping with the long-standing practice of the Medical Disciplinary Board to close without prejudice."

¶ 6 On July 16, 2008, plaintiff filed his third complaint, which is the subject of this appeal. In that action plaintiff sought litigation expenses under section 10-55(c) of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (Act) (5 ILCS 100/10-55(c) (West 2008)) for invalidating section 1110.220 of the Rules in the trial court's action based on the second complaint.

¶ 7 On October 7, 2008, plaintiff amended his complaint to add count II, contending that the Department had improperly closed the case against him.

¶ 8 The Department filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint, asserting res judicata and arguing that the order in the second action had not invalidated section 1110.220. The court denied the motion.

¶ 9 The parties moved for summary judgment on September 10, 2009.

¶ 10 On October 29, 2009, plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint to add two additional counts. Count III sought a declaration that section 2105-150 of the Code (20 ILCS 2105/2105-150 (West 2008)) was invalid, and count IV sought a declaration that several of the Department's Rules were inapplicable to cases involving physicians or are void.

ΒΆ 11 On August 25, 2010, the Department's motion for summary judgment was granted, and plaintiff's motion to add counts III and IV was denied as moot. The court said that plaintiff's claim for litigation expenses was barred by res judicata because the transaction that gave rise to declaratory and injunctive relief in the second suit also gave rise to his claim for litigation expenses. The court found count II of plaintiff's complaint waived because there was no difference between the case being closed or withdrawn and plaintiff was estopped from complaining where he had initiated the settlement meeting with the Department and asked the Department to ...


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