Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois
by
Chaudhary arrived in the U.S. from Pakistan in 2007-2008. She married Ramzan while in Pakistan. They have three children together. Ramzan also has a daughter from a different marriage. In 2012, Chaudhary divorced Ramzan. She moved to West Chicago (White Oak address). Chaudhary received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for herself and her three children. He separately received benefits for himself and his daughter. Under separate accounts, Chaudhary and Ramzan received SNAP benefits from May 2015-December 2017, both listing the White Oak address as their SNAP benefits mailing address. In 2019, the Department of Human Services investigated Chaudhary under the Illinois Public Aid Code (305 ILCS 5/12-4.4) and determined that she received overpayments totaling $21,821. The Department began an overpayment collection process. Chaudhary filed an agency appeal. The ALJ and the Secretary of Human Services upheld the determination.The circuit court reversed. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Chaudhary, as a SNAP recipient, having been previously approved and awarded SNAP benefits, was not required to prove the absence of an overpayment. The Department’s evidence was not sufficiently authenticated and does not support the determination that Ramzan resided at White Oak during the overpayment period. The Secretary’s credibility determination was unreasonable and not supported by the record. View "Chaudhary v. Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

by
A 1998 Chicago ordinance includes procedures, penalties, and fees that apply to vehicle owners when a vehicle has been impounded because of its use in certain municipal code offenses. Within 15 days of the impoundment, an owner may request a preliminary hearing, at which an administrative law officer determines whether there is probable cause to believe the vehicle was used in an enumerated offense. If the officer finds probable cause, the owner may regain possession of the vehicle by paying the administrative penalty applicable to the municipal code offense, plus towing and storage fees. If probable cause is lacking, the vehicle is returned to the owner; no penalty or fees are owed. An administrative penalty constitutes a debt that may be enforced as a judgment.Illinois Vehicle Code, section 11-207 provides that while local authorities can adopt additional traffic regulations, “no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance rule or regulation in conflict with the provisions of this Chapter unless expressly authorized herein.” Home rule units, such as Chicago, cannot adopt inconsistent local police regulations. In 2012, the Vehicle Code was amended to authorize municipalities to “provide by ordinance procedures for the release of properly impounded vehicles” and to impose “a reasonable administrative fee related to … administrative and processing costs.”The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a purported class action challenging the ordinance. A home rule unit’s imposition of penalties does not interfere with and is not inconsistent with state efforts to allow municipalities to recoup the remedial costs incurred by an impoundment. The imposition of the penalty is a valid exercise of Chicago’s home rule authority and does not constitute a criminal penalty for purposes of double jeopardy. View "Lintzeris v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law

by
The Chicago Sun-Times sent Cook County Health and Hospitals System a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 ILCS 140/1) for information about gunshot wound patients who arrive at the defendant’s emergency rooms unaccompanied by law enforcement. The newspaper was investigating whether the defendant was meeting a requirement to notify local law enforcement when so-called “walk-in” gunshot wound patients are treated, 20 ILCS 2630/3, and asked for the “time/date” of each relevant hospital admission and the corresponding “time/date” of law enforcement notification. Cook County asserted two FOIA exemptions and withheld the records, claiming they contained personal health information prohibited from disclosure by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (110 Stat. 1936) and private information barred from disclosure under FOIA. The newspaper argued that the year listed on each record was discoverable, even if the time of day, day of the month, and month were not.The Cook County circuit court granted the defendant summary judgment. The appellate court reversed and the Illinois Supreme Court agreed, holding that HIPAA and FOIA permitted the release of the year elements of the records as long as the individual identifying information was redacted, or “deidentified” to maintain patient confidentiality. View "Chicago Sun-Times v. Cook County Health and Hospital System" on Justia Law

by
The Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging (NIAAA), sought mandamus relief against the Department on Aging. The Department had designated NIAAA as a regional administrative agency (RAA) for administering programs created by the Adult Protective Services Act. NIAAA had filed petitions for administrative hearings; the Department rejected both petitions, finding that neither presented a “contested case” for which an administrative hearing is required. The first petition requested a recall of a new Protective Act Program Services Manual. NIAAA claims that the Department retaliated by terminating its grant and its position as RAA. NIAAA requested the Department to adopt administrative rules for “contested case” hearings and to compensate NIAAA for the lost funding. In its second petition, NIAAA requested a hearing on the Department’s rejection of NIAAA’s designation of Protective Act providers.The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal of the mandamus complaint. The Department has adopted the requested administrative rules, so those allegations are moot. The Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, 5 ILCS 100/1-1 does not require hearings on the other allegations. Nothing in the relevant statutes and regulations provides that the Department's decision regarding funding and service provider designations are to be made only after an opportunity for a hearing. Under the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions, procedural due process protections are triggered only when a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest is implicated. NIAAA does not have a constitutionally protected interest in the funding or its service provider designation. View "Nyhammer v. Basta" on Justia Law

by
Under the Counties Code, 55 ILCS 5/art. 2, county governments may take the township form, the commission form, or the county executive form. In the township form, the county is governed by an elected board, headed by a chair who is either selected by the board from among its members or elected directly by the voters. The board has legislative and administrative duties and its chair functions as both a legislative and executive leader. Until 2016, Champaign County operated under a township form; a board chair selected by the board from among its members, appointed individuals to fill vacancies in elected and nonelected positions.In 2016, the voters approved a referendum, changing to the county executive form, under which an executive, elected by the citizens, serves as the “chief executive officer,” entirely separate from the county board, which acts as “the legislative body.” Kloeppel was elected as Champaign County executive. The board continued to select one of its members as its chair. When vacancies arose in elected county offices, they were filled by the chair, as they had been before the change in the form of government. Vacancies in nonelected county positions were filled by Kloepel, who alleged that the board had usurped her authority by filling vacancies in the county treasurer and county board positions. The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/25-11) states that vacancies in elected county offices “shall be filled … by the chairman of the county board.” Kloepel argued that the position of county board chair does not exist in a county executive form of government and cited 55 ILCS 5/2-5009(d), which states that a county executive has the power to “appoint … persons to serve on the various boards and commissions to which appointments are provided by law to be made by the board.”The Illinois Supreme Court rejected Kloepel’s arguments. In an Illinois county with a county executive form of government, the power to appoint a person to fill a vacancy in an elected county office resides with the chair of the county board. View "Kloeppel v. Champaign County Board" on Justia Law

by
In 1993, Kastman was charged with misdemeanor offenses based on acts of public indecency involving children and disorderly conduct. The state’s attorney initiated a civil commitment proceeding against Kastman under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (725 ILCS 205/0.01). Evidence indicated that Kastman suffered from pedophilia, antisocial personality disorder, exhibitionism, and alcohol dependency. Kastman was found to be a sexually dangerous person, and the circuit court granted the petition. In 2016, Kastman was granted conditional release from institutional care.In 2020, he sought financial assistance. Kastman asserted that he was unemployed, disabled, and could not afford his $300 monthly treatment costs and the $1800 monthly rent for housing that complied with the Sex Offender Registration Act. The circuit court of Lake County ordered the Department of Corrections to pay a portion of Kastman’s monthly expenses. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The statutes indicate that a sex offender’s ability to pay is a relevant consideration in deciding who should bear the expense of treatment costs; without a clear statutory directive, the legislature is not presumed to have intended that only financially stable individuals are eligible for conditional release. Financial instability and the need for supervision to protect the public are not the same things. View "People v. Kastman" on Justia Law

by
Noland and Clayborne (plaintiffs) are former members of the General Assembly who voted for laws that reduced legislators’ salaries. After leaving office, plaintiffs filed suit, alleging that the reductions violated article IV, section 11, of the Illinois Constitution (Legislative Salary Clause) and sought a writ of mandamus compelling the Illinois Comptroller to pay them and all affected legislators their disputed salaries. The Cook County circuit court found that the affirmative defenses of laches and waiver failed as a matter of law and that the statute of limitations defense lacked merit. The court also found that, although plaintiffs were entitled to relief for themselves, they could not obtain relief on behalf of nonparty legislators. The court found that the laws at issue were facially unconstitutional and that the plaintiffs were entitled to mandamus relief.The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. The plaintiffs, suing in their individual and not in their official capacity, have “slept on their rights” and are estopped from bringing their claims. The "public was misled by these plaintiffs," who waited to file their action until eight years elapsed following the enactment of the fiscal 2010 Salary Reduction Laws and all subsequent enactments. The court vacated findings that the Salary Clause prohibits mid-term changes in legislators’ salaries and awards of $71,507.43 for Noland and $104,412.93 for Clayborne. View "Noland v. Mendoza" on Justia Law

by
A public body has five-10 business days to respond to a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 ILCS 140/3(d), (e)). In 2014, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) received FOIA requests from local newspapers for information relating to citizen complaints filed against Chicago police officers since 1967. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) sought to enjoin the release of files that were more than four years old; its collective bargaining agreement required the destruction of records of alleged police misconduct at that age. The court granted the FOP an injunction prohibiting the release of files that were more than four years old as of the date of the newspapers’ FOIA request. . Meanwhile, Green, who was convicted in 1986 of offenses arising from a quadruple homicide, became aware that files he wants could be destroyed. He hopes to prove his innocence by exposing police misconduct. Green sent CPD a FOIA request. CPD did not respond.The Illinois Supreme Court held that unless the FOIA exemption states otherwise, the circuit court should review the withholding of information under the circumstances that existed when the public body made its decision. If the information becomes releasable later, a requester may refile his request. When CPD constructively denied Green’s request, an injunction barred CPD from releasing responsive files that were more than four years old. The subsequent invalidation of the injunction was immaterial. View "Green v. Chicago Police Department" on Justia Law

by
The building at 1572 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago is owned by the Corporation. Strauss was the Corporation’s president. Double Door Liquors, a music venue, was a tenant in the building. Numerous difficulties arose with Double Door, including lease violations, excessive noise levels, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, and property damage. The Corporation terminated Double Door’s lease and filed an eviction action, which led to Double Door’s eviction. Subsequently, Chicago enacted a zoning ordinance that changed the types of establishments that were allowed in the building.Strauss challenged the zoning ordinance and certain conduct of alderman Moreno and the city that occurred before the zoning ordinance was enacted. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. The court found that the plaintiffs had standing despite a misnomer in the complaint and that not all of the claims were moot, despite the sale of the building. Because Moreno is not liable for injuries resulting from his conduct due to discretionary immunity under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/2-10, Chicago is likewise not liable. The court declined to address the constitutionality of the zoning ordinance that applies to one piece of property that the Corporation has sold. View "Strauss v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law

by
Prate, a construction contractor, sought coverage through the Illinois Assigned Risk Plan, which provides workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a risk pool administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Liberty was assigned as Prate’s carrier. After determining that Prate’s subcontractor, ARW, did not have workers’ compensation insurance, Liberty assessed Prate an additional premium of $127,305. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, which provides dispute resolution services for NCCI, declined to rule on the dispute, citing insufficient information. Prate appealed to the Department of Insurance (DOI) under Insurance Code section 462. One of Prate’s arguments was that ARW had no employees and that all work on Prate projects was performed by RTS, which had workers’ compensation insurance. The DOI’s hearing officer agreed with Liberty on all issues. The circuit court affirmed. While an appeal was pending, the appellate court issued its ruling in a dispute between Liberty and a trucking company, finding that DOI did not have the authority to resolve a dispute concerning employment status.The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the trial court decision. The DOI had the authority to resolve the dispute under 215 ILCS 5/462. While section 462 does not apply to all insurance premium disputes but only to those involving the application of a rating system to a party’s insurance, the existence of a single factual dispute does not preclude review under section 462. View "Prate Roofing and Installations, LLC v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Corp." on Justia Law