FKFJ, Inc. v. Village of Worth

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
First Amendment
Case Number: 
No. 20-2396
Decision Date: 
August 26, 2021
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.

Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendants-City and certain City officials’ motion for summary judgment in plaintiffs' section 1983 action, alleging that various delays caused by defendants in plaintiffs’ obtaining licenses and required permits for their businesses that ultimately resulted in some sort of closures of their businesses violated their First Amendment, equal protection and due process rights, because defendants' actions were motivated by plaintiffs’ support of political rival of Village President. Plaintiffs could not establish First Amendment claim, where: (1) although Village President had some sort of animosity towards plaintiffs and their businesses, plaintiffs failed to show that said animosity was related to their support of political rival; (2) there was no evidence that President was aware of plaintiffs’ support of political rival; and (3) one-to-three-month gap between any protected activity and adverse act was too long to establish causal connection. Plaintiffs could also not establish equal protection claim, where they failed to specifically name any similarly-situated businesses that received more favorable treatment, and where defendants had rational basis for their negative treatment of plaintiffs' proposed gravel parking lot, where plaintiff’s did not comply with various Village’s ordinances. Moreover, plaintiffs failed to establish viable due process claim, since plaintiffs failed to show that they had protected property interest in renewal of their business licenses, and since relevant code gave Village discretion to renew said licenses, which gave plaintiffs only unilateral expectation that their licenses would be renewed.