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Supreme Court quick takes

Quick takes on Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on October 18, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Skokie Castings, Inc. v. Illinois Insurance Guarnty Fund, Performance Marketing Association, Inc. v. Hamer, The Board of Education of Peoria School District No. 150 v. The Peoria Federation of Support Staff, Relf v. Shatayeva and Prazen v. Shoop.

Skokie Castings, Inc. v. Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

The Illinois Supreme Court finds no distinction between primary and excess workers’ compensation policies in applying the workers’ compensation exception to the statutory cap of the Illinois Guaranty Fund.  The court ruled in favor of an employer obligated to pay lifetime benefits to a seriously injured employee, where the employer’s excess insurer became insolvent.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court criminal opinions

Posted on September 19, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the criminal cases People v. Johnson and In re Shelby R.

People v. Johnson

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

At issue was whether Section 4-2002.1(a) of the Counties Code allows for imposition of a $50 State’s Attorney fee for hearing a 2-1401 petition. The statute refers only to imposition of the fee for habeas corpus proceedings.

The Court rejected the argument that “habeas corpus” was meant to refer, generically, to any collateral proceedings, noting that habeas corpus has a specific meaning. Considering the plain language of the statute as the best indication of legislative intent, the Court concluded that the reference to “habeas corpus” was meant to encompass the various types of habeas corpus proceedings (e.g., habeas corpus ad prosequendum, habeas corpus ad respondendum, habeas corpus ad testificandum), and nothing more. Inclusion of any other collateral proceedings would have to come from the
legislature.

While this decision is not particularly broad-reaching, it does demonstrate the Court’s adherence to long-standing principles of statutory construction, beginning with looking first to the plain language of the statute.  Where the plain language is clear, the Court will go no further in interpreting a statute’s meaning.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on September 12, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil case Coram v. State of Illinois and the criminal case People v. Aguilar.

CIVIL

Coram v. The State of Illinois

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

The Illinois Supreme Court found a way to interpret the state and federal statutory gun control schemes so as to avoid reaching the issue of constitutionality of section 922(g)(9) of the federal act.  The issue divided the Court, resulting in concurring and dissenting opinions.  And, the concurrence suggests that the constitutionality issues will soon arise again.

Quick take on Thurday's Illinois Supreme Court opinion on "mailbox rule"

Posted on August 1, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Gruszeczka v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

As the Illinois Supreme Court moves the state toward electronic filing, here the court implicitly acknowledged the continuing relevance of the “mailbox rule.” The issue arose in the context of obtaining circuit court review of a decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The supreme court interpreted section 19(f)(1) of the statute and held that mailing the requisite documents commences circuit court review and satisfies the strict statutory compliance needed to vest subject matter jurisdiction in the circuit court. See Workers’ Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305/19(f)(1) (West 2008). Thus, mailing the documents within 20 days, rather than obtaining file-stamped documents by the clerk within that time frame, “commenced” the action under the statute.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on June 20, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Hamer, Wilkins v. Williams, VC&M Ltd. v. Andrews and Crittenden v. The Cook County Commission on Human Rights and the criminal case In re B.C.P.

CIVIL

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Hamer

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

A carrot dangled by an amnesty statute for delinquent taxpayers resulted in the Department of Revenue hitting a corporate taxpayer with a rather large stick:  a penalty of 200% interest.  Accordingly to a 4-2 decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, the plain language of the Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act, 35 ILCS 745/10 (West 2004), required this result.  The Amnesty Act established a program for taxpayers owing payment for any taxable period between June 30, 1983 and July 1, 2002, to avoid interest and penalties, as well as civil or criminal prosecution, by paying “all taxes due” during a six-week period in 2003.  Taxpayers who failed to square up during the amnesty period faced a penalty of 200% interest under another statute, the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act, 35 ILCS 735/3-2(f) (West 2004). 

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on May 23, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases McFatridge v. Madigan, Standard Mutual Insurance Company v. Lay, In re Marriage of Mayfield and In re the Parentage of J.W. and the criminal cases People v. Henderson and In re M.I.

CIVIL

McFatridge v. Madigan

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

The State of Illinois need not pick up the litigation tab incurred by an elected state official in defending a civil lawsuit where the claim arises from certain types of misconduct, even if he acts in the scope of employment. Accordingly, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a circuit court's dismissal of the complaint of Michael McFatridge, a former Edgar County State's Attorney, seeking to force Attorney General Lisa Madigan to approve payment of McFatridge's legal expenses.

Quick take on Palm v. 2800 Lake Shore

Posted on April 25, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

CIVIL

Palm v. 2800 Lake Shore Drive Condominium Association

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

Palm v. 2800 Lake Shore, while nominally about the circumstances in which a condominium unit owner can obtain the records of the condominium association, is fundamentally about whether the section of the Chicago Municipal Code dealing with that subject is a valid exercise of the City’s home rule power. The court also decided that the prevailing plaintiff unit owner, entitled to attorneys fees pursuant to the ordinance allowing recovery of "his reasonable attorney fees," is not limited to the fees actually charged by his attorney, but could recover greater fees at the reasonable market rate established by the evidence. The circuit and appellate courts were affirmed.

The association defendants asserted that the Chicago ordinance conflicted with the Condominium Property Act and the General Not For Profit Corporation Act. The statutes require unit owners to state a proper purpose for obtaining association financial books, limit requests to ten years of records, and allow the association 30 days in which to gather the records. The ordinance does not require statement of a purpose, does not restrict the age of the documents, and requires production with three business days. The parties and the court all agreed that the ordinance conflicted with the statutes.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil case Russell v. SNFA and the criminal cases People v. Domagala, People v. Martinez, People v. Lloyd and People v. Colyar.

CIVIL

Russell v. SNFA

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

This helicopter-crash case provoked two important long-arm-jurisdiction issues: whether due process protection under the Illinois long-arm statute is greater than federal due process protectionsand whether to apply a narrow or broad version of the stream-of-commerce theory.

Defendant SNFA manufactured a custom tail-rotor bearing in France used in a helicopter manufactured by an Italian company. That manufacturer’s wholly-owned subsidiary located in Pennsylvania sells defendant-produced parts and sells helicopters incorporating defendant’s parts. SNFA knew that the manufacturer incorporated its products into its helicopters for sale in America but did not know the final destination.

SNFA does not have any direct United States customers for its custom-made helicopter parts. SNFA does not have any offices, property, assets or employees in Illinois.

Since 1997, SNFA has sold aerospace bearings to a company located in Rockford. Those bearings are a different model and type from those involved in this case. 

A helicopter containing an SNFA part crashed in Illinois.

Quick take on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on April 4, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil case In re Estate of Boyar and the criminal cases People v. Fitzpatrick, People v. Le Mirage, Inc. and People v. Hunter.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on March 21, 2013 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Ferguson v. Patton, Julie Q. v. the Department of Children and Family Services and DeHart v. DeHart and the criminal cases People v. Cruz and People v. Donelson.

CIVIL

DeHart v. DeHart

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

For more than 50 years plaintiff believed his decedent father’s representation that the decedent was plaintiff’s biological father. Plaintiff found to the contrary when he obtained a certified copy of his birth certificate to obtain a passport, which revealed who his biological father was. That man had abandoned the plaintiff when he was two, and had no further contact. Decedent married plaintiff’s mother, and for more than 60 years held plaintiff out to everyone as his biological son. 

Plaintiff’s mother died in April 2001. In 2005, decedent, then 83, married defendant, 29 years his junior. Three hundred sixty-four days later, decedent executed a new will in which he stated “I have no children.” A prior will provided bequests for plaintiff and plaintiff’s children. 

Legal suspense builds throughout this Opinion as the court methodically works through the six counts of the complaint which had been dismissed by the circuit court, knowing that what lies at the end will be the court’s treatment of the theories for “contract for adoption” and “equitable adoption.” The appellate court, which had reversed the circuit court’s dismissal of all counts, was affirmed in the entirety. 

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