Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed November 29, 2012
Department of Financial & Professional Regulation v. Rodriquez, 2012 IL 113706
Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (1st) 102775.
JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the statutory fees that are available for invalidating an administrative rule must be sought while there is still jurisdiction over the matter.
The doctor who is the appellee in this Cook County litigation was originally charged, in 2003, with violating the Illinois Medical Practice Act. These allegations were brought by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and concerned the electroconvulsive shock treatment of a patient. The administrative proceedings were stayed while he pursued, among other things, a claim that a provision of the Department’s rules concerning evidentiary hearsay was invalid. The circuit court of Cook County invalidated the rule on October 17, 2005, but later vacated its judgment. The appellate court reinstated the invalidation ruling on June 22, 2007, and the Department closed the case without prejudice on April 18, 2008.
On July 16, 2008, Rodriquez filed a circuit court petition for a statutory award of his litigation expenses. The circuit court refused to award the fees, but the appellate court reversed and remanded for a calculation of litigation expenses. The Department appealed.
The supreme court construed the statute at issue as not creating an independent cause of action. Therefore, a fee request must be filed with the initial complaint, or while the circuit or appellate court retains jurisdiction. That did not occur here. Rodriquez waited 33 months after the original circuit court order invalidating the rule and more than one year after the appellate court reinstated that order. The courts no longer maintained jurisdiction to hear his fee petition.
The appellate court was reversed, and the circuit court’s original judgment denying the fees was reinstated.