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Supreme Court quick takes

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on August 4, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the family law case O'Brien v. O'Brien and criminal case People v. White.


O’Brien v. O’Brien

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams Montgomery & John Ltd.

This family law case actually involves the much broader issue of the proper standard to be used in deciding whether to substitute a judge “for cause.” 

Lisa O’Brien filed domestic battery charges against her estranged husband, John O’Brien. Judge Joseph Waldeck presided over an evidentiary hearing in that matter and made certain evidentiary rulings. Judge Waldeck subsequently presided over the couple’s marital dissolution proceedings. About one year after the dissolution case was pending, John sought a substitution of judge pursuant to Illinois Code of Civil Procedure section 2-1001(a)(3), which provides for substitution “for cause.” Another judge considered the matter and denied substitution. From the final judgment, John appealed and the case reached the Illinois Supreme Court on a certificate of importance.

Quick take on Monday's Illinois Supreme Court opinion Wirtz v. Quinn

Posted on July 11, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
By Michael T. Reagan, The Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan In Wirtz v. Quinn, Justice Burke wrote for a unanimous court in reversing the appellate court’s Opinion which had declared the 2009 Capital Projects Acts unconstitutional. This Opinion will serve as a modern Baedeker for the law of legislative drafting. This action, brought by Rockwell Wirtz and Wirtz Beverage Illinois, LLC, on behalf of taxpayers generally, was initiated by a complaint seeking to enjoin the disbursement of public funds pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/11-303. The statute requires that the action be commenced by filing a petition for leave to file, and requires that the circuit court find reasonable ground for filing before the complaint may be filed. The circuit court concluded that reasonable ground did not exist, and denied the petition. The appellate court found that PA 96-34 "An Act Concerning Revenue" violated Article IV, § 8(d) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, the single subject clause. The remaining three acts, consisting of an Appropriation Bill, a Trailer Bill and a Budget Implementation Bill, each expressly provided that it was passed contingent upon PA 96-34 becoming law. Because the appellate court found that PA 96-34 was void in its entirety, the remaining three bills were found to fall as well because of that contingency. The appellate court did not then have occasion to take up any of the other constitutional challenges to the bills. The supreme court granted the Petition for Leave to Appeal filed by the numerous governmental defendants and handled the case in a compressed timeframe. The supreme court reversed the appellate court’s holding that PA 96-34 violated the single subject clause. Then, in the interest of judicial economy, and perhaps in recognition of the practical fiscal importance of this dispute, the court addressed all of the other constitutional challenges pled in the taxpayers’ complaint, rather than remanding the case to the appellate court.

Quick take on today's Illinois Supreme Court opinion In re Jonathan C.B.

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Chris Bonjean


In re Jonathan C.B.

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender In  August  2006,  the  minor was charged with attempt robbery and criminal sexual  assault  by  use  of force. In the Supreme Court, the minor argued that he was not proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt, that he was denied due process when he was shackled during his trial without an individualized determination of necessity under People v. Boose, 66 Ill. 2d 261 (1977), and  that  Section  5-101(3) of the Juvenile Court Act was unconstitutional because  juveniles charged with sexual offenses have a constitutional right to a jury trial. In  a  69-page opinion, the Court unanimously rejected the reasonable doubt claim  in  light  of the standard of review requiring the court to take the evidence  in  the  light  most  favorable  to  the  prosecution and to give deference to the findings of the trier of fact, here, the trial judge. The  Court  split  4-3 on the shackling claim, with the majority concluding that it was forfeited and that the record did not support the minor’s claim of  error.

Quick takes from today's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on June 16, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Our panel of leading appellate attorney's review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court in civil opinions  Studt v. Sherman Health Systems, Sheffler v. Commonwealth Edison, Snyder v. Heidelberger, Genius v. County of Cook and criminal opinions People v. Ward, People v. White and People v. Hawkins.


Studt v. Sherman Health Systems

Quick take from today's Illinois Supreme Court opinion Italia Foods v. Sun Tours

Posted on June 3, 2011 by Chris Bonjean


Italia Foods, Inc. v. Sun Tours, Inc.

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC Advertisers beware: Illinois courts need not wait for the green light from the General Assembly to hear claims under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227 (2000).  Italia Foods, the class action plaintiff, alleged that the defendant travel agency sent Italia 28 unsolicited faxes advertising discount travel.  Italia joined forces with other unhappy recipients to seek redress under the TCPA, which Congress enacted to address telemarketing abuses through the use of fax machines and other devices. After the trial court denied a motion to dismiss, it certified three questions for interlocutory review, but the supreme court focused primarily on the first question: whether the TCPA requires the state to enact enabling legislation before private TCPA claims can proceed in Illinois state courts.  The supreme court found the statutory language, allowing private claims to proceed in state courts “if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a State,” to be ambiguous.  Guided by a 2007 appellate decision and the Supremacy Clause, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that no state legislation was required.  See U.S. Const., art. vi, cl. 2; First Capital Mortgage Corp. v. United Federal Bank, 374 Ill. App. 3d 739 (1st Dist.

Quick takes from Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on May 19, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday’s Supreme Court opinions from Civil cases General Motors v. Pappas, Auburn v. IDOR and Bell v. Hutsell and Criminal cases People v. Absher and People v. Marshall.


General Motors v. Pappas

Quick takes from today's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on April 21, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review today’s Supreme Court opinions from Civil case Phoenix Insurance Company v. Rosen and Criminal cases People v. Mullins, People v. Martin and People v. Ziobro.


Phoenix Insurance Company v. Rosen

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams Montgomery & John Ltd. A provision in an underinsured-motorist policy allowing either party to reject an award over the statutory minimum for liability coverage does not violate public policy and is not unconscionable. Ms. Rosen was injured by an underinsured vehicle and made a claim under the underinsured-motorist provision of her Pheonix policy. The policy contained an arbitration agreement. However, the arbitration was binding only if the amount awarded did not exceed the minimum limit for bodily injury liability specified by the Illinois Safety Responsibility Law. If the amount exceeded that limit, either party could demand the right to a trial. Following arbitration, Rosen was awarded over $300,000 and Phoenix filed a complaint rejecting the award and demanding a jury trial. Rosen asserted in an affirmative defense that the “trial de novo” provision was invalid and unenforceable as against public policy. She also filed a counterclaim seeking to enforce the arbitration award. The trial court struck the affirmative defense and dismissed the counterclaim. On review, the appellate court reversed, holding that the trial de novo provision unfairly favored the insurer and violated public policy considerations favoring arbitration. The Supreme Court disagreed. It recognized the long tradition of upholding parties’ rights to freely contract.

Illinois Supreme Court overturns Indiana man's weapon convictions

Posted on April 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
The Illinois Supreme Court released one opinion today in the criminal case People v. Holmes.


People v. Holmes

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender Defendant, an Indiana resident with a valid Indiana handgun permit, was charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW): one count for carrying an "uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible" firearm in his vehicle, and the other for carrying a firearm in his vehicle without having been issued a currently valid FOID Card. The charges arose out of a traffic stop in Chicago, where police found a handgun in the armrest of the backseat of defendant's vehicle. That armrest was closed and latched at the time. The gun was unloaded, although the clip was in defendant's pocket. Under the Court's recent decision in Diggins, 235 Ill. 2d 48 (2009) (holding that a vehicle's center console is a case), defendant's conviction under the first count could not stand because the backseat armest fell wtihin the meaning of a "case" under the statute. There was no dispute that the armrest was closed and latched, and thus the gun was enclosed in a case. As to the second count, the Court concluded that the AUUW statute must be read in conjunction with the FOID Card Act to determine whether defendant was exempt from having a valid FOID Card because he had a valid Indiana handgun permit.

Quick Takes from Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on March 24, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday’s Supreme Court opinions from Civil cases Williams v. The Board of Review, Goodman v. Ward, Barber v. American Airlines, Inc., Wendling v. Southern Illinois Hospital Services, Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, and Criminal cases People v. Bartlet, People v. Alcozer, People v. Phillips, People v. Almore, People v. Madrigal and Hill v. Walker.