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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

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
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