Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court Of Cook County. No. 14 CH 3223 The
Honorable Mary L. Mikva, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE NEVILLE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hyman and Justice Mason concurred
in the judgment and opinion.
1 Lindy Korner sent the Illinois Department of Financial and
Professional Regulation (IDFPR) a Freedom of Information Act
request for documents in June 2013. After IDFPR denied the
request, Korner, in February 2014, filed a complaint, naming
several individual state officials as defendants. The
defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on grounds that
Korner failed to name a public body as a defendant. The trial
court denied the motion, but entered judgment in favor of the
defendants on the basis of a statutory amendment, effective
December 31, 2013, that instructed IDFPR not to release
information of the kind Korner sought. Korner claims on
appeal that the amendment does not apply to her request.
3 Korner sent complaints to IDFPR, accusing Michael Podell,
William Fischer, and Laurie McCauley, all veterinarians, of
unprofessional conduct in the course of their treatment of
Korner's dog. IDFPR acknowledged receipt of Korner's
complaints in February 2010. On April 24, 2012, IDFPR
informed Korner that it had dismissed the complaint against
4 On June 24, 2013, Korner sent IDFPR a request under the
Freedom of Information Act (Illinois FOIA) (5 ILCS 140/1
et seq. (West 2012)) for the "entire
investigative file" for the proceedings on her
complaints. IDFPR denied the request.
5 In August 2013, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act
that amended the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act
of 2004 (Veterinary Practice Act) (225 ILCS 115/1 et
seq. (West 2014)). The amendment provided:
"All information collected by the Department in the
course of an examination or investigation of a licensee or
applicant, including, but not limited to, any complaint
against a licensee filed with the Department and information
collected to investigate any such complaint, shall be
maintained for the confidential use of the Department and
shall not be disclosed" Pub. Act 98-33 § 10 (adding
225 ILCS 115/25.2a).
amendment made December 31, 2013, its effective date.
6 On February 24, 2014, Korner filed a complaint naming as
defendants, "LISA MADIGAN, in her official capacity as
Attorney General of Illinois; MANUEL FLORES, in his official
capacity as Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of
Financial and Professional Regulation; JAY STEWART, in his
official capacity as Division Director of the Illinois
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation; and
SARAH PRATT, in her official capacity as Public Access
Counselor for the Illinois Attorney General's
Office." Korner asked the court to issue a judgment
declaring that the defendants violated Korner's rights
under the Illinois FOIA by withholding the documents she
sought. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on
grounds that the Illinois FOIA applies only to public bodies,
and not to individual public officers. The trial court denied
the motion to dismiss.
7 Korner filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that
under the law in effect when she requested the documents from
IDFPR, the defendants had a duty to send her the documents
she sought. The defendants filed a cross-motion for summary
judgment, arguing that the amended statute applied and
validated the denial of Korner's request. The trial court
held that the amended version of the Veterinary Practice Act
applied to Korner's request. Korner conceded that if the
amended statute applied, it required the court to deny her
request. The trial court granted the defendants' motion
for summary judgment. Korner now appeals.
9 The appellate court reviews de novo the order
granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Hall v. Henn, 208 Ill.2d 325, 328 (2003). Korner
argues that the trial court should not have applied the
amended version of the Veterinary Practice Act to her
request. The defendants contend that the trial court
correctly applied the amendment in force at the time of the
ruling, and ...