SPRINGFIELD - A Sangamon County judge ruled Tuesday that a LeRoy physician's lawsuit against Gov. George Ryan and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board could go forward.
Thomas Pliura, who is also an attorney, is seeking to nullify a vote rejecting his plans for a $5 million outpatient surgery center in Urbana and all votes taken at the board's August, October and November meetings.
Three members on the board at the time of the vote had been appointed by Ryan in August and two others in November, but the Senate did not confirm the appointments until December.
The board's controversial votes to close Lincoln Developmental Center, Zeller Mental Health Center and part of Singer Mental Health Center are among those Pliura claims are invalid.
Pliura's lawsuit is being brought on behalf of the people of Illinois, in an action known as quo warranto.
He said he is seeking approval of his Champaign-Urbana HealthCare project, plus a ruling that Ryan's appointments to the board were illegal and should be nullified, along with all votes taken during the meetings in question.
Pliura said if he wins the case, governor-elect Rod Blagojevich, who takes office Jan. 13, would have to appoint 10 new members to the board to replace those appointed by Ryan.
Pliura said the governor and the board would be required to answer the complaint by Jan. 28.
"Obviously it is going to be a unique situation because when Gov. Ryan leaves office, Gov. Blagojevich will have to justify Gov. Ryan's actions and new Attorney General Lisa Madigan will more than likely have to represent the state in this matter," he said.
Barb Weiner, attorney for the Health Facilities Planning Board, did not return a call for comment Tuesday, nor did a spokesman for Blagojevich.
Ryan spokesman Ray Serati said the governor's office would like to review the ruling before making any comments.