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Illinois Supreme Court Holds State’s Contractual Obligations Are Implicitly Conditional on Appropriations

A state employee union enters into a contract with the State calling for certain wage increases. Ultimately, the legislature refuses to fully fund the increases, and they aren’t paid. Is the State in breach of contract, or are its contractual obligations implicitly conditional on the legislature appropriating the money? In a ruling with significant potential … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Unanimously Strikes Down Chicago Pension Reform Act

This morning, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in Jones v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, unanimously striking down Public Act 98-641, the pension reform bill for the City of Chicago. For a detailed summary of the underlying facts and court rulings, see here and here. For our report on … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Whether Res Judicata Applies Following Voluntary Dismissal on Remaining Claims

One or more claims are dismissed on the merits. Subsequently, the plaintiff takes a voluntary dismissal without prejudice on the remaining claims. Does res judicata bar any attempt by the plaintiff to later reinstate the dismissed claims? The Illinois Supreme Court debated that question during its January term, hearing oral argument in Richter v. Prairie … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Health Insurance Coverage for Police Pension Recipients

Section 10 of the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act provides that under certain circumstances, police officers receiving a line-of-duty disability pension are entitled to receive fully paid health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. Section 10 has been a recurring interest of the Illinois Supreme Court over the past few years, see here and … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Occupational Disease Disability Pension Triggers Health Insurance Benefit

Section 10 of the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act provides that when a covered employee sustains a “catastrophic injury,” the employee is entitled to the additional benefit of having his or her health insurance premiums, as well as those of his or her partner and/or dependent children, paid by the employer. Is Section 10 triggered … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Limits Scope of Misconduct Sufficient to Bar Unemployment Benefits

The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act provides that benefits may be denied when an employee is terminated for a “deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy” of the employer. Last week, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Burke in Petrovic v. The Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Supreme Court held that misconduct … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Privilege Claims on Hospital Credentialing Materials

Every medical facility has dozens of files consisting of papers submitted in conjunction with physician applications for credentials to practice in that facility. Are such documents privileged from discovery in a medical malpractice lawsuit claiming, in part, that the facility was negligent for renewing the defendant’s credentials? Late last month, a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Sharply Divided Illinois Supreme Court Abolishes “Public Duty Rule” Protecting Government Officials from Tort Suits

A long-standing common law principle called the “public duty rule” holds that local government entities and their employees owe no tort duty of care to individual citizens to provide governmental services such as police and fire protection – such duties are owed to the public as a whole. In the closing days of its January … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Sides With Chicago Board of Education in “Do Not Hire” Union Dispute

This morning, a majority of the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the Chicago Board of Education in a dispute with its teachers union, holding in The Board of Education of the City of Chicago v. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board that the Board of Education was not required to participate in mandatory arbitration over … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Broad Construction of Judge Challenge Statute

A litigant files suit, litigates for several years, and then, prior to trial, exercises her right to voluntarily dismiss the action without prejudice. Not long after, she refiles the action and is assigned (apparently by chance) to the same judge. The litigant attempts to exercise her statutory right to one automatic substitution of judge under … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Clarify When Workers’ Comp Settlement Eliminates Contribution Claim from Third-Party Tortfeasor

According to Section 2 of the Contribution Act, when a party settles a claim in good faith against one tortfeasor, the finding of good faith automatically discharges that tortfeasor from any liability for contribution to another tortfeasor. (740 ILCS 100/2.) On the final day of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed a petition … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Constitutionality of Property Tax Exemption for Aviation Firm

It’s not at all uncommon for state and local governments to use targeted tax breaks as a tool for encouraging economic growth, giving various types of businesses – and sometimes, single major employers – incentives to expand their operations. On the final day of the November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide the … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Revisit 67-Year-Old Precedent Holding that Temporary Flooding Cannot Constitute a Taking

On the final day of the November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to hear Hampton v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Hampton poses a simple question: should the Court overrule its 1948 decision in People ex rel. Pratt v. Rosenfield holding that temporary flooding caused by government action can never constitute a … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Requiring Attorneys in Administrative Hearings

During the recently concluded November term, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings, a decision from the First District of Division One. Stone Street poses a question with possibly serious implications for administrative law in Illinois: do corporations have to be represented … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Judgment Against Buyer in Foreclosure for Pre-Sale Condo Assessments

Can the person or entity buying a condominium in a foreclosure sale ever be held liable for condominium assessments which accrued prior to the sale? This morning, a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court held in 1010 Lake Shore Association v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company that the answer was “yes.” Our detailed summary of the facts … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Engineer’s Services on Cancelled Project Subject to Lien

An engineering firm surveys a tract of land, prepares and records a plat, conducts a wetlands survey, and provides various services for planning roads, utilities and sewers for a proposed subdivision. But ultimately, the developer declares bankruptcy and the project is cancelled. Can the engineering firm record a valid mechanics lien? In Christopher B. Burke … Continue Reading

Divided Illinois Supreme Court Clears Way For Lawsuit Challenging Construction of Condo Development

In early November, a sharply divided Illinois Supreme Court cleared the way for claims against the developer and contractor involved in a now 19-year-old condominium development, narrowly affirming the Appellate Court decision in Henderson Square Condominium Association v. LAB Townhomes, LLC. Our detailed summary of the underlying facts and lower court opinions in Henderson Square … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Whether State Union Deals Conditional on Appropriations

The state government enters into a contract with an employee union calling for pay increases for thousands of employees. The state legislature fails to appropriate enough money to cover the increases. Is the state in breach of contract, or was the state’s contractual promise to pay the increases conditional on the legislature actually appropriating the … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Seems Skeptical of Narrow Misconduct Exception to Unemployment Benefits

In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Petrovic v. The Department of Employment Security, a case posing the question of exactly what has to be proven to trigger the exception to unemployment compensation for employees terminated for misconduct. Based upon the content and number of questions, … Continue Reading
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