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The Public Servant
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers

December 2008, vol. 10, no. 2

Summary of recent decisions

Election law

Stevo v. Keith, No. 08-3218 (October 1, 2008). Appeal, C.D. Ill. Affirmed.

District court did not err in dismissing for failure to state cause of action, plaintiff’s complaint alleging that requirement that he obtain for his independent candidate petition for United States Congress signatures, representing five percent of individuals who voted in prior congressional election, violated his equal protection rights where defendant required less number of signatures in other congressional districts within state. Court rejected plaintiff’s claim that 5,000-signature requirement for independent candidates in newly redistricted congressional districts should be applied to all districts since plaintiff’s proposal is as arbitrary or more arbitrary than current percentage approach used by defendants.

Labor law

Harvey Park District v. American Federation of Professionals, No. 4-07-0862 (4th Dist. September 26, 2008). Affirmed.

Illinois Labor Relations Board did not exceed its authority when it dismissed complaint filed by park district asserting that union committed improper labor practice when it failed to disclose that collective bargaining agreement reached by union representatives required ratification by entire membership. Ratification by membership is part of constitution of union, which is filed in a public document; parties did not explicitly agree that any agreement reached by representatives would be binding on union; and union did not mislead district into believing that membership ratification was not required.

Line of duty disability

Jones v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund of the City of Bloomington, No. 4-07-0687 (4th Dist. September 15, 2008). Affirmed.

Decision by police pension board to deny police officer, who suffered disabling back injury after automobile collision, which occurred while he was on routine patrol is clearly erroneous. By driving vehicle while on patrol, officer was required to be alert for, and be prepared to respond to, any emergency; thereby performing an act of duty when he was injured.

Municipal law

Speedy Gonzalez Landscaping, Inc. v. O.C.A. Construction, Inc., No. 1-07-2370 (1st Dist. October 9, 2008). Affirmed.

Trial court did not err when it granted defendant’s motion to dismiss, under section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure, plaintiff’s mechanic’s lien complaint against the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) for landscaping work that it performed on newly constructed school. Although plaintiff filed suit within 90 days of its notice of lien, it failed to serve a copy of the complaint on the PBC within the time period required by section 23(b) of Mechanic’s Lien Act then in effect.

Petition to Disconnect Certain Territory From the Village of Campton Hills, Kane County, Illinois, No. 2-08-0349, 2-08-0350, 2-08-0356, 2-08-0357, 2-08-0358 Cons. (2nd Dist. October 15, 2008). Affirmed.

Provisions of section 7-3-1 of the Illinois Municipal Code, allowing for disconnection of land from newly formed municipality, applies to petitions for detachment of more than one home and does not require that every lot in area sought to be detached touch border of municipality from which detachment is sought. Further, the notice requirement of section 7-3-6.1 applies only to section 7-3-6 petitions. Trial court, by ordering publication of notice, in compliance with section 7-3-2 provided appropriate notice. Further, trial court’s finding that disconnection would not cause unreasonable harm to municipality by virtue of loss of tax revenue is not against the manifest weight of the evidence.

Open Meetings Act

Wyman v. Schweighart, No. 4-08-0117 (4th Dist. October 9, 2008). Affirmed.

Trial court did not err when it granted city and its officers summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s Open Meetings Act complaint alleging a violation of the Act when the city council went into closed session to discuss “land acquisition” and “litigation,” after conducting unanimous voice vote, without providing notice in agenda that it intended to go into closed session, and allowed persons other than council members and mayor to attend closed session. Record makes it clear that closed meeting involved “pending litigation” and “land acquisition”; there is no prohibition, against allowing non council members into closed meeting; notice of intent to go into closed session is not required on agenda; and unanimous voice vote provides sufficient record of vote to enter into closed session.

Tort Immunity Act

Smith v. Waukegan Park District, No. 104960 (September 22, 2008) Appellate and trial courts reversed. (Modified).

Trial and Appellate Courts erred when they allowed defendant park district’s section 2-619 motion to dismiss plaintiff’s retaliatory discharge complaint, alleging that it terminated his employment because he filed a worker’s compensation claim, based on section 2-109 of Tort Immunity Act. Tort Immunity Act does not protect local governmental entities from retaliatory discharge claims.

Abruzzo v. City of Park Ridge, No. 104935 (October 2, 2008). Reversed.

Limited immunity of Emergency Medical Services Systems Act (EMS Act), rather than total immunity of Tort Immunity Act, applies to complaint by mother for wrongful death of her 15-year-old son, who died as the result of the failure of city’s ambulance squad, after responding to call by child’s father, to assess, evaluate, treat, or transport his unresponsive son, or even prepare a run sheet. Statutory provisions are inconsistent; therefore, the more specific legislation, the EMS Act, applies.


These summaries were prepared by Adrienne W. Albrecht for the ISBA Illinois E-Mail Case Digests, which are free e-mail digests of Illinois Supreme and Appellate Court cases and which are available to ISBA members soon after the decision is released, with a link to the full text of the slip opinion on the Illinois Reporter of Decision’s Web site. These summaries have been downloaded and reorganized according to topic by Ed Schoenbaum for Government Lawyers, with permission.