Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois

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Plaintiff (Carle Foundation) owns four Urbana parcels of land that are used in connection with the operation of plaintiff’s affiliate, Carle Foundation Hospital. Before 2004, the parcels were deemed exempt from taxation under the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/15-65(a) because their use was for charitable purposes. From 2004-2011, the Cunningham Township assessor terminated plaintiff’s charitable-use tax exemption. For tax years 2004-2008, plaintiff filed unsuccessful applications with the county board of review to exempt the parcels. Plaintiff filed no applications for tax years 2009-2011. In 2007, plaintiff filed suit. In 2012, Public Act 97-688 (section 15-86) took effect, establishing a new charitable-use exemption specifically for hospitals. Plaintiff argued that section 15-86 applies retroactively. The court agreed, but held that it was “obvious that resolution of the question of whether the standard established by section 15-86(c) applies to plaintiff’s claims will not resolve the merits of those claims.” The appellate court reversed, finding that section 15-86 violated the Illinois Constitution. The Illinois Supreme Court vacated, holding that the court lacked appellate jurisdiction because the trial court erred in entering an order under Rule 304(a). Plaintiff’s exemption claims and plaintiff’s request for a declaration as to what law governs those claims matters are “so closely related that they must be deemed part of a single claim for relief.” View "Carle Foundation v. Cunningham Township" on Justia Law

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Stone Street discovered that a judgment had been recorded against its property for failure to pay $1050 in fines and costs imposed by Chicago’s department of administrative hearings for violations of the building code more than a decade earlier. Stone Street sued, arguing that the original administrative proceedings were a nullity and could not serve as the basis for the judgment because it had not been given the requisite notice and had no opportunity to contest the alleged violations before judgment was entered. While notice was never given to Stone Street, a person named Johnson entered a written appearance in the administrative proceeding that culminated in the fine. Johnson represented that he was there on behalf of Stone Street, but Johnson, who died before the litigation arose, was not an attorney, had no affiliation of any kind with the company, and did not live in the property. The Illinois Supreme Court held that, bbecause Stone Street was never properly served with notice and because Johnson had no authority to appear on the company’s behalf, the Department failed to acquire personal jurisdiction over it. The Department’s 1999 judgment was therefore void ab initio and could be attacked at any time, either directly or collaterally. View "Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings" on Justia Law

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The Department of Children and Family Services indicated a finding of child abuse against Grimm. Grimm, a teacher, claimed that the report was inaccurate and requested its expunction. An administrative law judge recommended that Grimm’s request be denied. Nine days later (July 30), the Department issued its decision in a letter signed by its director, addressed to Grimm's attorney and indicating that it was sent via certified mail; it adopted and enclosed the ALJ's decision, stating, “you may seek judicial review under the provisions of the Administrative Review Law, 735 ILCS 5/3-101 … within 35 days of the date this decision was served on you.” On September 4, 36 days after the date of the letter, Grimm filed her complaint for judicial review, stating that her attorney received the decision no earlier than July 31, and that she did not receive the decision until August 12 or 13. The Department stated that it served Grimm when it mailed the letter. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the trial and appellate courts in finding that the Department’s decision was misleading and violated due process. The courts balanced Grimm’s constitutionally protected interest, the risk of an erroneous deprivation of that interest, and the value of substitute procedures against the burden on the Department to change boilerplate language in a letter announcing its final decision. View "Grimm v. Calica" on Justia Law

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Defendant’s 2007 first-degree murder conviction was affirmed. Defendant filed a post-conviction petition in 2010 alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and insufficient evidence, which was dismissed as frivolous. The appellate court affirmed. On March 25, 2012, defendant mailed a petition for relief from judgment (Code of Civil Procedure section 2-1401), claiming perjury by a state’s witness. Defendant attached a “proof/certificate of service,” which stated that the petition was mailed “with proper first-class postage attached thereto” via the prison mail system.” The certificate did not indicate that the petition was mailed via certified or registered mail as required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 105. The petition was marked “received” on April 11 by the clerk’s office and file-marked and docketed on April 23. On May 24, the circuit court dismissed the petition as untimely and stated that the petition contained no argument of merit. An assistant state’s attorney was present. The appellate court vacated. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, rejecting defendant’s argument that the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over the state, based on his own failure to properly serve the state. A section 2-1401 petitioner must serve the responding party with notice in compliance with Rule 105. If the respondent is not properly served, the court lacks personal jurisdiction unless the respondent waives service or makes an appearance. The defendant is estopped from claiming service was improper based on his own failure to comply with the requirements of Rule 105. View "People v. Matthews" on Justia Law

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On May 18, 2009, plaintiff’s 90-year-old mother was admitted to Peoria’s Proctor Hospital for a rectal prolapse. During Kathryn’s hospitalization, she experienced numerous complications. On May 29, 2009, Kathryn died. In March, 2010, plaintiff received Kathryn’s medical records. In April 2011, plaintiff received an oral opinion that Drs. Williamson and Salimath were negligent in treating Kathryn. On May 10, 2011, plaintiff filed a complaint against those doctors. On February 28, 2013, Kathryn’s CT scans were reviewed upon plaintiff’s request. Dr. Dachman opined that Dr. Rhode’s failure to properly identify certain findings caused or contributed to the injury and death of Kathryn. In March 2013, plaintiff filed suit under Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1) and the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6), claiming medical malpractice against Rhode. Defendants argued that plaintiff had sufficient information more than two years before he filed his complaint to put him on inquiry to determine whether actionable conduct was involved, so that, even if the “discovery rule” applied, the complaint was untimely. The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice. A divided appellate court affirmed, reasoning that the discovery rule had no application to wrongful death or survival actions because both causes of action were legislatively created and not found at common law and that, even if that rule were applied, plaintiff’s complaint would be untimely. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, finding the discovery rule applicable. A factual determination must be made as to when the statute of limitations began to run. Plaintiff filed his lawsuit less than two years after receiving the initial verbal medical expert report and within the four-year statute of repose. View "Moon v. Rhode" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging medical negligence and loss of consortium against defendants (doctors and medical providers). Defendants moved for leave to file a 12-person jury demand and “to declare Public Act 98-1132, which amended 735 ILCS 5/2-1105(b), as unconstitutional.” Act 98-1132 limits the size of a civil jury to six persons and increases the amount paid per day to jurors across the state. The circuit court found the provision regarding the size of a jury facially unconstitutional based on article I, section 13, of the Illinois Constitution, which protects the right of trial by jury “as heretofore enjoyed.” The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, finding that “as heretofore enjoyed,” means the right as it was enjoyed at the time the constitution was drafted. Transcripts from the convention debates make clear that the drafters did not believe the legislature had the authority to reduce the size of a jury below 12 members and the drafters did not act to give the legislature such power. The provision regarding jury size cannot be severed from the remainder of the Act, which addresses juror pay, so the Act is entirely invalid. View "Kakos v. Butler" on Justia Law

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On May 5, 2014, defendant received a traffic citation from a Troy police officer for speeding. The citation was filed with the Madison County circuit court clerk’s office on May 9. Defendant moved to dismiss the citation, claiming it was not transmitted to the circuit court clerk within 48 hours after it was issued, as required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 552. At a hearing, the court noted that defendant submitted “a stack of tickets” issued by the city of Troy. The state described the exhibit, stating “of the (50) tickets that Defendant submitted into evidence, almost half of them were filed within the 48 hours.” An officer testified that after a citation is issued, it is placed in a secure box in the dispatch office. On Mondays and Fridays, a supervisor would remove the citations, review and record them on bond sheets, and deliver them to the courthouse. He estimated that 30-50 citations were filed each Monday and Friday and that it was not “physically possible” to transport the citations to the courthouse every day. The trial court determined that the evidence showed “a clear and consistent violation of Rule 552 and not an inadvertent action” and dismissed the ticket. The appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, reading the Rule as directory, not mandatory, so that dismissal is appropriate only if a defendant shows prejudice by the delay; here, the violation was not intentional. View "People v. Geiler" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are partners in the business of dairy farming. Defendant is an agricultural cooperative in the business of producing and supplying dairy products. In 1980, plaintiffs became members of defendant’s cooperative, paid $15 for shares of defendant’s common stock, and entered into a “Milk Marketing Agreement” with defendant. In 2005, plaintiffs temporarily ceased milk production. Defendant notified plaintiffs that it had terminated their agreement and plaintiffs’ membership in the cooperative and tendered $15 to plaintiffs to redeem the shares of common stock. Plaintiffs rejected the payment and sought shareholder remedies pursuant to the Business Corporation Act (805 ILCS 5/12.56). Based on defendant’s alleged concealment, suppression, or omission of its interpretation of its by-laws, count II alleged a claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/1), and count III alleged common-law fraud. Plaintiffs’ counsel withdrew and they obtained multiple extensions. After a voluntary dismissal, plaintiffs refiled. The circuit court dismissed the refiled action on grounds of res judicata and the statute of limitations. The appellate court reversed and remanded and the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Although nearly five years elapsed between the time plaintiffs were granted leave to file an amended complaint and their voluntary dismissal, defendant did not seek a final order dismissing the matter with prejudice, definitively ending the action. View "Richter v. Prairie Farms Dairy" on Justia Law

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In 2005, plaintiff, a Carbondale police officer, struck the top of his head on the door of his squad car, causing him to “see stars” and experience a sharp pain in his arm, with no abrasions or blood loss. Plaintiff never returned to work. In 2007, plaintiff sought a line-of-duty disability pension (40 ILCS 5/3-114.1). The Board found that plaintiff’s disability was not the result of an on-duty injury and that plaintiff was not unable to return to work. The trial court reversed. The appellate court affirmed. In 2012, the city began providing plaintiff and his family with health insurance coverage. After a 2012 examination, the physician concluded that plaintiff was able to return to work. The Board terminated plaintiff’s disability pension. Plaintiff responded that he had not received notice of the meeting where the Board had voted to terminate his benefits. The circuit court affirmed, without addressing plaintiff’s due process claim. The city notified plaintiff that his insurance coverage would be terminated. The circuit court denied plaintiff a permanent injunction with respect to the insurance. The appellate court reversed that denial and the pension termination, finding that the Board had violated plaintiff’s due process rights by voting without notice or a proper hearing, but did not address whether the determination that plaintiff was no longer disabled was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the denial of an injunction with respect to insurance coverage. Plaintiff’s injury did not result from one of the conditions in the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (820 ILCS 320/10), such as responding to an emergency; he did not demonstrate a clear and ascertainable right in need of protection and was not entitled to a permanent injunction View "Vaughn v. City of Carbondale" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Henderson Square Condominium Association sued, alleging: breach of the implied warranty of habitability, fraud, negligence, breach of the Chicago Municipal Code’s prohibition against misrepresenting material facts in marketing and selling real estate, and breach of a fiduciary duty. The defendants were developers that entered into a contract with the city for a mixed use project, the Lincoln-Belmont-Ashland Redevelopment Project. Sales in the project had begun in 1996. The trial court dismissed, finding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead the Chicago Municipal Code violation and breach of fiduciary duty and that counts were time-barred under the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/13-214). The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. A condominium association generally has standing to pursue claims that affect the unit owners or the common elements. A question of fact remains as to whether defendants’ failure to speak about construction deficiencies or to adequately fund reserves, coupled with earlier alleged misrepresentations, amounted to fraudulent concealment for purposes of exceptions to the limitation and repose periods. It is possible that minor repairs, along with the limited nature of water infiltration, reasonably delayed plaintiffs’ hiring of professional contractors to open the wall and discover latent defects. The date when plaintiffs reasonably should have known that an injury occurred and that it was wrongfully caused was a question of fact. View "Henderson Square Condo. Ass'n v. LAB Townhomes, LLC" on Justia Law