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Sharply Divided Illinois Supreme Court Keeps Redistricting Reform Off November Ballot

Last night, in a case that produced four opinions from the seven-member Court, a sharply divided Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in Hooker v. Illinois State Board of Elections holding that a ballot initiative which would have fundamentally rewritten the legislative redistricting procedures in Illinois was not constitutionally eligible for the ballot. … Continue Reading

Divided Illinois Supreme Court Holds No Property Disputes Between Ex-Domestic Partners

In Blumenthal v. Brewer, the Illinois Supreme Court was asked to overrule its thirty-seven year old decision in Hewitt v. Hewitt and hold that Illinois would join the vast majority of states in recognizing a cause of action for equitable division of property between unmarried domestic partners. Last Thursday, a divided court declined that invitation, … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Clarifies the Constitutional Law of the Takings Clause in O’Hare Flooding Case

Earlier this month, the Illinois Supreme Court clarified Illinois constitutional law on compensable takings with its unanimous decision by Chief Justice Garman, reversing in Hampton v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Our detailed summary of the underlying facts and lower court decision in Hampton is here. The plaintiffs in Hampton own property in … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Whether the Discovery Rule Applies to Wrongful Death

The discovery rule provides that under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations is tolled until the plaintiff knows not only of his or her injury, but knows or reasonably should know that the injury was likely negligently caused. Does the discovery rule apply to wrongful death claims? The Illinois Supreme Court debated that issue last … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates 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” under certain enumerated circumstances, the employee is entitled to have his or her health insurance premiums, as well as those of his or her partner and/or dependent children, paid by the employer.  During the May term, … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Constitutional Challenge to Property Tax Exemption Statute

According to Article IX, Section 6 of the Illinois Constitution, the legislature may exempt from property taxes only the “property of the State, units of local government and school districts and property used exclusively for agricultural and horticultural societies, and for school, religious, cemetery and charitable purposes.”  According to Section 15-86 of the Property Tax … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Facial Challenge to Park Regulations in Occupy Case

May the City of Chicago constitutionally enforce its park-closing ordinance against political protestors from the Occupy movement?  That’s the question posed by The City of Chicago v. Alexander, a case from the First District, Division 2 which the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to hear in the closing days of its May term. The Occupy movement … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Ice Patches From Allegedly Negligent Maintenance Can Create Liability

In order to encourage property owners to remove snow and ice from their property, the Illinois Legislature enacted the Snow and Ice Removal Act, 745 ILCS 75/1.  According to the Act, barring willful or wanton misconduct, property owners are not liable for injuries caused by natural accumulations of snow and ice on their property.  But … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Clarify Administrative Review Issues in Teacher Termination Case

Just how much deference are downstate boards of education required to grant the decisions of hearing officers in connection with disciplinary proceedings for teachers?  The Illinois Supreme Court agreed to clarify that issue, allowing a petition for leave to appeal in Beggs v. Board of Education of Murphysboro Community Unit School District No. 186, a … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Clarify Scope of Automatic Public Employee Grievance Procedure

Are all disciplinary actions against public employees, up to and including termination, subject to a rebuttable presumption of arbitrability absent an express carve-out in the parties’ collective bargaining agreement?  In the closing days of the May term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to address that question, allowing a petition for leave to appeal in Village … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Date on a Business Letter is Sufficient Notice of Service

Is the date on a business letter sufficient notice of service of an administrative decision to start the clock ticking on a party’s deadline to file for administrative review?  The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to decide that question, granting leave to appeal in Grimm v. Calica, a decision of the Second District Appellate Court. … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court to Clarify Powers of Cook County Inspector General

Can the Cook County Board of Commissioners authorize the County Inspector General to issue subpoenas for documents directly to the County’s elected officials, and compel those officials to cooperate with an IG investigation? The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to decide that issue in Blanchard v. Berrios, an appeal from the First District, Division Two … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Delivers Mixed Verdict for Retirees Challenging CBA

Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court added to its rapidly increasing jurisprudence on the state constitution’s pension protection clause, delivering a mixed verdict for transit authority retirees, affirming in part and reversing in part in Matthews v. Chicago Transit Authority. Our detailed summary of the underlying facts and lower court holdings is here. Our report … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice Not Accorded Res Judicata Effect

During the recently concluded May term, the Illinois Supreme Court resolved a civil procedure issue with potential implications across a broad spectrum of cases: when a party exercises its right to voluntarily dismiss its own action without prejudice and subsequently refile, is the dismissal accorded res judicata effect?  In Richter v. Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Implied Warranty of Habitability Can Be Waived Forever By First Owner

The Illinois Supreme Court first adopted the doctrine that newly constructed homes come with an implied warranty of habitability in 1979 in Petersen v. Hubschman Construction Co.  Three years later, the Court held that the implied warranty could pass to the second owner of the house where the first owner hadn’t made a valid and … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Dismisses the FutureGen Appeal on Grounds of Mootness

Late in 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to clarify the dimensions of the Illinois Commerce Commission’s authority, allowing a petition for leave to appeal in the FutureGen case – Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Illinois Commerce Commission.  The problem was, only a few months after the Court granted review, the Department of Energy suspended all … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Holds City Entitled to Terminate Firefighter’s Health Insurance Benefit

Section 10 of the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act provides that police officers receiving line-of-duty pensions are entitled to receive fully paid health insurance coverage for themselves and their families when the officer’s pension was the result of a catastrophic injury suffered in one of four specific circumstances.  In Vaughn v. The City of Carbondale, … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Broad Immunity for Hospital Peer Review Processes

In the closing days of its May term, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court’s decision in Valfer v. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, adopting a broad construction of hospitals’ immunity in connection with peer review for purposes of renewing doctors’ credentials. In 2002, the plaintiff, an obstetrician/gynecologist, applied for reappointment at the defendant hospital.  Hospital … Continue Reading

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
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