Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois

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In 2010, the Illinois General Assembly directed the Pollution Control Board to adopt rules for the use of clean construction or demolition debris (CCDD) and uncontaminated soil (US) as fill material at clean construction or demolition debris fill operations. The rules were to include “standards and procedures necessary to protect groundwater.” The legislature provided “an inexhaustive list of 12 ways to do so that the Board may consider,” including groundwater monitoring. The rules ultimately promulgated by the Board required stronger “front-end” testing and certification requirements for CCDD and US but not a “back-end” groundwater monitoring requirement. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the Board’s decision. Objectors failed to establish that the Board’s decision was arbitrary and capricious for relying upon an improper factor when it considered whether CCDD and US are waste. The courts rejected an argument that the Board ignored the costs of groundwater monitoring and the hazards of older and noncompliant fill. When acting in its quasi-legislative capacity, the Board has no burden to support its conclusions with a given quantum of evidence; the court rejected an argument that the Board’s decision was arbitrary and capricious for offering an explanation that was counter to the evidence or implausible. View "County of Will v. Pollution Control Board" on Justia Law

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Chicago Ordinance 2012-4489 provides that “[n]o operator of a mobile food vehicle shall park or stand such vehicle within 200 feet of any principal customer entrance to a restaurant which is located on the street level.” Under a “mobile food vehicle stands program,” Chicago reserves designated areas on the public way where a certain number of food trucks are permitted to operate regardless of the 200-foot rule. Owners must install on their food trucks a permanent GPS device “which sends real-time data to any service that has a publicly-accessible application programming interface.” Plaintiffs alleged the 200-foot rule violated the Illinois Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses and that the GPS requirement constitutes a continuous, unreasonable, warrantless search of food trucks. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the circuit and appellate courts in rejecting those arguments. Chicago has a legitimate governmental interest in encouraging the long-term stability and economic growth of its neighborhoods. The 200-foot rule, which helps promote brick-and-mortar restaurants is rationally related to the city's legitimate interest in stable neighborhoods. The GPS system is the best and most accurate means of locating a food truck, which is particularly important in case of a serious health issue. The GPS device does not transmit the truck’s location data directly to the city; Chicago has never requested location data from any food truck’s service provider. Food trucks generally post their location on social media to attract customers, so any expectation of privacy they might have in their location is greatly diminished. View "LMP Services, Inc. v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law

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The 2007 Act, 40 ILCS 5/16-106(10), amended the Pension Code, which governs the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS): An officer or employee of a statewide teachers’ union was permitted to establish TRS service credit if the individual: was certified as a teacher no later than February 27, 2007, applied to the TRS within six months, and paid into the system both the employee contribution and employer (state) contribution, plus interest, for his prior union service. Plaintiff worked as a union lobbyist from 1997 until his 2012 retirement. In 2006, plaintiff obtained a substitute teaching certificate. In January 2007, he worked one day as a substitute teacher. Within six months, plaintiff became a member of the TRS. Plaintiff then contributed $192,668 to the system for his union service. In 2011, the Chicago Tribune published an article, identifying plaintiff and criticizing the law that allowed him to qualify for a teacher’s pension. In response to the negative media coverage, the 2012 Act repealed the 2007 amendment and provided for a refund of contributions. TRS eliminated plaintiff’s service credits and refunded his contributions. Plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that the retroactive repeal violated the state constitution’s pension protection clause (Ill. Const. 1970, art. XIII). The Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of plaintiff. The 2007 amendment's inclusion of a cutoff date did not render it unconstitutional special legislation (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV); the amendment applied generally to all eligible employees who met its criteria. Under the pension clause, “once a person commences to work and becomes a member of a public retirement system, any subsequent changes to the Pension Code that would diminish the benefits conferred by membership in the retirement system cannot be applied to that person.” View "Piccioli v. Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System" on Justia Law

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Municipalities sued other municipalities to recover revenue under the Use Tax Act (35 ILCS 105/1). Use tax is imposed on the privilege of using in Illinois tangible personal property purchased at retail from a retailer outside the state. Retailers who have a sufficient physical presence in Illinois and have out-of-state facilities from which Internet, telephone, and mail-order sales are made of tangible personal property to be used in Illinois must collect use tax from the purchaser and remit the tax to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) to prevent avoidance of sales tax. The general rate for both sales tax and use tax is 6.25% of the sale price with 5% allocated to the state. For sales tax, the remaining amount is distributed to the municipality and county where the sale occurred. For use tax, the remaining share is distributed to Chicago, the RTA Fund, the Madison County Mass Transit District, and the Build Illinois Fund. The balance is distributed to all other municipalities based on their proportionate share of the state population. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal of the suit. IDOR has been vested, for purposes of plaintiffs’ claims, with exclusive authority to audit the reported transactions that plaintiffs dispute and to redistribute the tax revenue due to an error. In addition, under Municipal Code section 8-11-21, the General Assembly must give a municipality the right to bring suit about missourcing or misreporting of use taxes. View "Chicago v. Kankakee" on Justia Law

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Van Dyke is a licensed insurance producer, 215 ILCS 5/1, and registered with the Secretary of State Securities Department as an investment adviser, 815 ILCS 5/1. The Department received a complaint from the adult children of one of Van Dyke’s deceased clients, investigated, and held a hearing to determine whether Van Dyke’s registration should be retroactively revoked or suspended, alleging that Van Dyke had defrauded over 21 clients, all senior citizens. Van Dyke effectuated 31 purchase transactions involving the liquidation of the clients’ previously owned indexed annuities to purchase new indexed annuities. Van Dyke earned $316,278.56 in commissions; his clients lost $263,822.13 in surrender charges, penalties, and other fees. The Secretary of State found that Van Dyke had violated the Act, revoked his investment adviser registration, and ordered him to pay fines and costs. The appellate court reversed, holding that the Department had failed to prove that Van Dyke violated the Act. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Annuity contracts issued by authorized insurers are insurance products, not securities, because they fall within the exclusion from face amount certificates and are not investment contracts under section 2.1; Van Dyke’s recommendation that his clients purchase the indexed annuities cannot form the basis of a violation of sections 12(A), (F), (G), or (I) of the Act. The evidence failed to establish that Van Dyke violated the Act or perpetrated a fraud on his clients with regard to the replacement transactions at issue. View "Van Dyke v. White" on Justia Law

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In a 2004 Chicago altercation, Vanecko punched Koschman in the face, causing Koschman to fall back and strike his head on the sidewalk. Koschman died from his injuries. In 2004-2011, law enforcement investigated. No charges were filed. In 2011, the Koschman family sought the appointment of a special prosecutor, alleging that Vanecko was a nephew of then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and a grandson of former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. In 2012, the court appointed Webb as special prosecutor, 55 ILCS 5/3-9008. In 2012, on petition of the special prosecutor, the criminal court impaneled a special grand jury. A court order placed under seal “all Grand Jury materials.” The special grand jury issued 160 subpoenas and collected more than 22,000 documents and indicted Vanecko for involuntary manslaughter. In 2014, Vanecko pled guilty; the court unsealed the report and released it to the public. The trial court rejected subsequent requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 ILCS 140/1, for the sealed grand jury documents. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court, which rejected disclosure of most of the FOIA requests but remanded to the circuit court for an in camera inspection of a specific category of documents to determine which may be disclosed. A lawful court order takes precedence over the disclosure requirements of FOIA; a requester must first have the court that issued the injunction modify or vacate its order. If the issuing court refuses, the requester may challenge the refusal in a direct appeal. View "In re Appointment of Special Prosecutor" on Justia Law

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In 2012, then-Governor Quinn nominated Gregg to be a salaried member of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (IPRB). Gregg submitted a statement of economic interests for the preceding calendar year, indicating that in 2011, he was mayor of Harrisburg. Asked to identify any gift valued over $500 and its source, Gregg wrote “None.” At the time, Gregg was recovering from an illness. Gregg did not complete a statement of economic interests for calendar year 2012. In 2013, Gregg resigned as mayor of Harrisburg. A former Harrisburg city treasurer notified the Illinois Department of Corrections that Gregg failed to include in his statement of economic interests a medical lift chair received as a gift. IPRB legal counsel investigated; neither the IPRB nor the Governor’s office took further action. In November 2013, the Illinois Senate approved Gregg’s appointment for a six-year term. In 2014, Gregg filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Governor Rauner took office in 2014 and removed Gregg from the IPRB based on his misstatements and omissions on the statement of economic interest and his bankruptcy petition. The circuit court found that Gregg’s removal was judicially reviewable and determined that Rauner wrongfully terminated Gregg’s appointment. The Illinois Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Rauner’s decision to remove Gregg from the IPBR was not subject to judicial review. The Illinois Constitution, article V, section 10 provides: “The Governor may remove for incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office any officer who may be appointed by the Governor.” The IPRB is not one of those rare agencies whose functions require complete independence from gubernatorial influence. View "Gregg v. Rauner" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, participants in public pension funds, sued, challenging the constitutionality of three reforms in Public Act 97-651, which altered articles 8, 11, and 17 of the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/8, 11, 17) and modified the calculation of annuities. The circuit court invalidated two provisions eliminating the right to earn union service credit for leaves of absence beginning after the amendments' effective date as violating the Illinois Constitution's (Ill. Const. 1970, art. XIII, 5) pension-protection clause but upheld the constitutionality of the third reform. The Illinois Supreme court affirmed regarding the elimination of the right to earn service credit for a union leave of absence; for participants who were already members on the Act's effective date, the ability to earn service credit on leave of absence for labor organization employment is a "benefit" that "cannot be diminished or impaired." The court reversed the dismissal of a claim that the change in the law to deny the use of a union salary under section 8-226(c) or 11-215(c)(3) to calculate the “highest average annual salary” violate the pension clause. The court also reversed the rulings on the that resulted from the circuit court’s construction of section 8-226(c)(3) to include defined contribution plans within the definition of “any pension plan.” View "Carmichael v. Laborers' & Retirement Board Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court of Illinois reversed the circuit court's decision granting landowners' motion to dismiss based on section 8-406.1 of the Public Utilities Act, holding that the circuit court lacked the necessary jurisdiction to review the legality and constitutionality of the Commission's administrative proceedings. In this case, the circuit court's sole rationale for granting those motions was its conclusion that the Commission's proceedings were in violation of due process. Because the legality and constitutionality of the Commission's proceeding was beyond the circuit court's power to decide, its answer to that question could not form the basis for dismissing the complaints here. View "Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois v. Hutchings" on Justia Law

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Monson was shopping in Danville. Walking to her car, she felt her foot hit a piece of concrete, tripped and fell onto the sidewalk, sustaining injuries. Public Works Director Ahrens made final decisions about which sections would be repaired during a project to inspect and repair sidewalks that ended in March 2012. Ahrens considered the concrete’s condition; variations between slabs; the path of pedestrian travel; the area’s intended use; proximity to other structures; and available time and cost. There was no policy addressing these factors. Ahrens could not recall inspecting the section but stated, "we … looked at every slab” and that the section where Monson fell was “either not prioritized” or “replacement could not fit with the allowable time and budget ... I used my discretion.” In Monson’s lawsuit, the court granted the city summary judgment, citing the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/2-109, 2-201). The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. A negligence claim based on a municipality’s violation of the duty to maintain its property can be subject to discretionary immunity under section 2-201 if the employee held either a position involving the determination of policy or a position involving the exercise of discretion and the act or omission giving rise to the injuries was a determination of policy and an exercise of discretion; ministerial acts are not immune. Decisions involving repairs to public property can be discretionary, so a public entity claiming immunity for an alleged failure to repair a defective condition must present sufficient evidence that it made a conscious decision not to perform the repair. Danville has not done so. View "Monson v. City of Danville" on Justia Law