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2007 Articles

Appellate Court reaffirms tort immunity for liability stemming from building code enforcement and inspections By Michael D. Bersani December 2007 In recent years, sensational stories have appeared in the media around the country concerning injuries and deaths resulting from faulty building construction.
Candygram: Serving complaints and subpoenas on local governments By Iain D. Johnston March 2007 Local governments are often served with various legal documents relating to litigation. The three most common types of these documents are (1) summons/complaint, (2) subpoenas, and (3) complaints for administrative review.
E-mail retention policies and The Local Retention Act By Richard G. Flood & Jenette M. Schwemler March 2007 Recent interpretations of the Local Records Act, broadly construing the meaning of “public records” for purposes of formalizing retention policies, beg for the imposition of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts’ three rules of statutory construction: “Read the Statute, Read the Statute, Read the Statute.”
E-mail use—When does it constitute a meeting? By John H. Brechin January 2007 Public Act 94-1058 effective January 1, 2007, amends the Open Meetings Act and specifically authorizes members of a public body to attend meetings of that public body without being physically present at the sight of the meeting.
Eminent domain update By John H. Brechin December 2007 Two recent decisions should be of interest to attorneys whose practice involves any aspect of eminent domain law.
Following up… By John H. Brechin July 2007 In our May newsletter, I reported on the United States Supreme Court decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, as well as subsequent cases decided in the (Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Tenth) Circuit Courts of Appeals.
High-speed pursuits after Scott v. Harris By Jenette M. Schwemler August 2007 This article examines the reasoning behind the Supreme Court’s decision, as well as implications it has on current policies and procedures involving high-speed pursuits.
Illinois General Assembly makes it clear: Units of local government can’t ask about price By Andrew J. Tessman July 2007 If you were in charge of a small town in Illinois and wanted to build a new town hall or police department, wouldn’t you want to know how much it is going cost when considering which design firm to hire?
The impact of Public Act 94-976 for tax-capped governments By Phillip B. Lenzini April 2007 Effective June 30, 2006, and particularly for all elections following March 21, 2006, Public Act 94-976 (Senate Bill 1682) makes major changes to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (“tax caps”) both in reference to the types of property tax referenda which may be conducted and the interrelationship between the “limiting rate” of tax caps and various statutory fund rate limits.
Impoundment of motor vehicles By John H. Brechin January 2007 On November 16, 2006, the United States District Court entered its decision in this case involving a traffic stop by a Waukegan policeman.
Incompatibility of offices By John H. Brechin March 2007 The recent Second District Appellate Court decision in People ex. rel. Barsanti v. Scarpelli addresses the issue of whether the offices of Village Trustee and Township Park District Commissioner are incompatible.
Inverse condemnation in the Illinois courts By John H. Brechin June 2007 Inverse condemnation refers to a claim by a property owner that government through its regulations has substantially reduced the value of the owner’s property.
Local immigration ordinances are likely unconstitutional By Anthony E. Rothert November 2007 Several municipalities across the country have recently adopted laws that attempt to regulate immigration.
A municipality’s dilemma involving injured police officers By Carlos S. Arévalo April 2007 Whenever an employee is injured on the job, employers and employees are significantly affected.
Murray v. Chicago Youth Center: Restricting the immunity of the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act By Russell W. Hartigan & Victoria R. Benson August 2007 In July 2006, Justice McMorrow upheld the lower courts’ decisions to grant summary judgment to the Chicago Board of Education, Chicago Youth Center and its instructor under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (hereinafter “the Act”) (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq.) in Ryan Murray, et al. v. Chicago Youth Center, et al., 2006 WL 1822656. At issue is whether the general grant of immunity allowed under the Act, such as that found in §§ 2-201 and 3-108(a), were subject to the exceptions found in § 3-109 of the Act. According to Justice McMorrow’s opinion, it does; however, the Illinois Supreme Court opined that the conduct at issue did not constitute willful and wanton conduct and, as a result, upheld the First District’s decision to uphold the District Court’s award of summary judgment to the Defendants.
Navigating the Election Code: A highly technical course to follow By Maureen E. Riggs March 2007 Municipal elections are coming soon. The nomination papers are in, and the ballots are being readied.
Paramedic (EMS) immunity & legislative update By Andrew Roszak November 2007 Paramedics are dispatched to a residence for an unresponsive male victim.
Prevailing parties and attorney fees By John H. Brechin June 2007 In the January 2007 Local Government Newsletter, we reported on the decision of the Second District Appellate Court in the case of City of Elgin v. All Nations Worship Center, 369 Ill.App.3d 664 (2006).
Public employee free speech rights—Are there any left after Garcetti? By John H. Brechin May 2007 The Garcetti decision disturbed earlier precedent which had established that a public body cannot condition public employment on a basis that infringes on an employee’s constitutionally protected interest in freedom of expression.
Recent cases relating to employment law By John H. Brechin May 2007 Two cases involving employment law issues were recently decided. In Kelley v. Sheriffs Merritt Commission, the Second District Appellate Court considered the issue of the permissible use of polygraph examinations in investigation and whether the failure of an officer to submit to such an examination is cause for discipline.
Recent decisions of interest By John H. Brechin September 2007 Recent decisions of interest.
Township authority to fix problem properties By Sheryl H. Kuzma December 2007 The Illinois Municipal Code has provisions for cutting overgrown weeds and demolishing dilapidated buildings, but what can a township do to remedy problem properties?
What became of Rice? By Maryann Bullion November 2007 In 2002, the Fourth District Appellate Court heard an issue of first impression and narrowed the scope of local government law, Rice v. Board of Trustees of Adams County.
Who is in charge of determining disability for police officers—Pension boards or witnesses? By Jenette M. Schwemler September 2007 For more than 15 years, Illinois appellate courts have been struggling with the interpretation of section 3-115 of the Illinois Pension Code regarding the requirement of a pension applicant to submit three certificates of disability to the pension board in order to receive benefits.
Zoning By John H. Brechin January 2007 Recent cases related to zoning.