Articles Posted in Illinois Supreme Court

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Burge was a Chicago police officer, 1970 to 1993, and served as supervisor of the violent crimes unit. In 1997, Burge was granted pension benefits by the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. A 2003 civil rights lawsuit alleged torture and abuse by officers under Burge’s command. Burge denied, under oath, having any knowledge of, or participation in, the torture or abuse of persons in custody. In 2008, Burge was convicted of perjury, 18 U.S.C. 1621(1), and obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2), and sentenced to four and one-half years’ imprisonment. His convictions were affirmed. Burge has not been indicted for conduct which occurred while he was still serving on the Department. In 2011, the Board held a hearing to consider whether, under the Illinois Pension Code, 40 ILCS 5/5-227, Burge’s pension benefits should be terminated because of his federal felony convictions. Section 5-227 states that “[n]one of the benefits … shall be paid to any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with his service as a policeman.” Burge maintained that his felony convictions related solely to the giving of false testimony in a civil lawsuit filed years after his retirement from the force. The divided Board concluded that “the motion was not passed.” “Burge continued to receive benefits. No administrative review was sought. The Attorney General, on behalf of the state, sued Burge and the Board, under section 1-115 of the Pension Code. The trial court held that deciding whether to terminate Burge’s pension was a “quintessential adjudicative function” that rested exclusively within the original jurisdiction of the Board, subject to review under the Administrative Review Law. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, reinstating the dismissal.Burke View "Madigan v. Burge" on Justia Law

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Public Act 97-695 (eff. July 1, 2012), amended section 10 of the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971, 5 ILCS 375/10, by eliminating the statutory standards for the state’s contributions to health insurance premiums for members of three of the state’s retirement systems. The amendment requires the Director of Central Management Services to determine annually the amount of the health insurance premiums that will be charged to the state and to retired public employees. It is not limited to those who become annuitants or survivors on or after the statute’s effective date. The amendment was challenged by members of the affected entities: State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), as violation the pension protection clause, the contracts clause, and the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution. Certain plaintiffs added common-law claims based on contract and promissory estoppel. The Illinois Supreme Court, on direct review, reversed dismissal, stating that health insurance subsidies are constitutionally protected by the pension protection clause and rejecting an argument that only the retirement annuity itself is covered. View "Kanerva v. Weems" on Justia Law

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The Illinois Department of Labor sent Jack’s Roofing a notice of investigation of possible violation of the Employee Classification Act, 820 ILCS 185/3.25 by misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Jack’s provided the Department with requested information. Preliminary determination found misclassification of 10 individuals for eight to 160 days and calculated a potential penalty of $1,683,000. The Department requested a response within 30 days for consideration before final determination. Less than a month later, the Department sent notice of a second investigation Jack's sought injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that the Act is unconstitutional as violating: the special legislation clause of the Illinois Constitution because it subjects the construction industry to more stringent employment standards than other industries; the due process clauses of the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions because it does not provide an opportunity to be heard and is impermissibly vague; the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against bills of attainder because it is a legislative act that inflicts punishment without a judicial trial; and the equal protection clauses of both constitutions because no other industry is subjected to the same standards when seeking to hire independent contractors. On remand, the court denied relief, finding the Act valid and enforceable. The appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed in part, rejecting facial constitutional challenges. A procedural due process challenge to enforcement provisions has been rendered moot by the recent amendments to the Act, which must be applied to plaintiffs in the future. The court also affirmed that section 10 of the Act is not unconstitutionally vague. Remaining constitutional challenges to the Act were forfeited. View "Bartlow v. Costigan" on Justia Law

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Two Chicago firefighters suffered duty-related injuries in the 1980s and later died. Their widows each received an ordinary widow’s pension from the Retirement Board of the Firemen’s Annuity and Retirement Benefit Fund of Chicago. The two widows were later awarded annuities available to widows of firemen who died in the line of duty, retroactive to the date of death of each spouse, with interest, because the injuries were permanent and had prevented them from ever returning to active duty. The widows claimed that the calculation of their annuities (based on the current salary of the position last held by the deceased) should include duty availability pay, which is generally intended to compensate firefighters for being available for duty. This type of compensation was created in the 1990s, after these firemen’s accidents, and neither ever received it. Their argument, based on Pension Code language added in 2004, was rejected by the Board and the trial court. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the denial. If duty availability pay may be used for pension calculation, it must be pay that was actually received by the firemen. View "Hooker v. Ret. Bd. of the Firemen's Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago" on Justia Law

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The worker was injured in a 2006 automobile accident near Cordova, where he was working temporarily for Venture. Cordova is 200 miles from Springfield, where he lived and where his plumbers’ and pipefitters’ union was. He was living a motel 30 miles from the worksite with a coworker, also from Springfield, who was driving when the accident occurred. An arbitrator denied his workers’ compensation claim. The Workers’ Compensation Commission reversed; the trial court set aside the Commission’s finding. The Workers’ Compensation Division of the Appellate Court granted relief to the worker. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, holding that the worker was not a “traveling employee” and could not be compensated. An injury incurred by an employee in going to or returning from the place of employment is not compensable, because it is not arising out of or in the course of employment, unless the worker can be categorized as a “traveling employee.” The employer did not direct the worker to accept the position at the Cordova location; he accepted it with full knowledge of the commute involved. His course or method of travel was not determined by the demands and exigencies of the job. He was not reimbursed for travel time or expenses or told what route to take. View "The Venture-Newberg Perini Stone v. IL Workers' Compensation Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The Village of Bement, Piatt County, has a five-year contract, under which E.R.H. Enterprises operates and maintains the Village’s potable water facility and parts of its water delivery infrastructure. The Department of Labor issued a subpoena to E.R.H.’s attorney seeing employment records as part of an investigation under the Prevailing Wage Act, 820 ILCS 130/0.01. E.R.H. asserted that it was exempt from the Act as a public utility. The trial court ruled in favor of the Department and ordered E.R.H. to provide the requested documents, noting that the company was not regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, finding that E.R.H. is simply an outside contractor. View "People v. IL Dep't of Labor" on Justia Law

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In 1998 Prazen retired as superintendent of the City of Peru electrical department. He had more than 27 years of service and purchased five years of age-enhancement credit. Prazen had an unincorporated electrical business, which was incorporated just before he retired. Before he retired, the City entered into an agreement with his corporation for operation of the City’s electrical department, including management and supervision. First year compensation under the contract was about $7,000 higher than Prazen’s prior annual salary. The relationship lasted until 2009, when the corporation was dissolved. In 2010, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund notified Prazen that, after participating in the early retirement incentive plan, he had violated the statutory prohibitions (40 ILCS 5/7-141.1(g)) against returning to work. The Fund recalculated his years of service as 27 and claimed he should repay $307,100 as a statutory forfeiture. The circuit court agreed. The appellate court reversed and the Illinois Supreme Court agreed. The work done between 1999 and 2009 was done by a separate corporate entity and was not precluded by statute. If the legislature had wanted to specifically prohibit this, it could have said so. The statute does not show intent to prohibit outsourcing to a retired employee’s corporation and the legislature did not grant the Trustees of the Fund authority to find that a corporation was a “guise.” The court noted that, earlier in the period under consideration, the Board had expressed the view that what the arrangement was p View "Prazen v. Shoop" on Justia Law

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The Peoria School District employs 26 full-time and part-time individuals who work as security agents and guards. No other Illinois school district has this type of employee. These employees were represented by a union certified by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board since 1989. The last collective-bargaining agreement expired in June, 2010. In July, 2010, a statutory amendment, Public Act 96-1257, purported to remove these employees from the oversight of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and redefine them as “public employees” subject to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the jurisdiction of the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The School District sought a declaration that its labor disputes with these employees were governed by the statute concerning educational employees, rather than by the one concerning public employees, challenging the enactment as invalid “special legislation,” forbidden by the Illinois Constitution. The circuit court dismissed. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed without remand, holding that the challenged statute is invalid as forbidden special legislation because its language does not apply prospectively to school districts which may, after its effective date, employ peace officers. Although a general law could have been passed which would have affected a generic class of individuals, here, the affected class was closed on the effective date of the enactment. View "Bd. of Educ. of Peoria Sch. Dist. No. 150 v. Peoria Fed'n of Support Staff" on Justia Law

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The employee alleged that, while at work in 2004, he was involved in an accident that resulted in a condition for which he sought compensation. A Workers’ Compensation Commission arbitrator denied benefits, citing lack of causation, and, in 2009, the Commission adopted the decision. The trial court confirmed the denial. The appellate court vacated, finding that the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The employee had calculated the 20-day time period for filing, Workers’ Compensation Act, section 19(f)(1), using the date on which required documents were mailed to the court, rather than the date on which the documents were received and file-stamped. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding that the so-called “mailbox rule,” which has applied to notices of appeal from the trial to the appellate court and to petitions for the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s review of arbitrators’ decisions, also applies to commencement of an action for judicial review of a Commission decision, which is an exercise of special statutory jurisdiction. Notice to the other party and the statute of limitations were not factors in this case and, absent a clear directive from the legislature, allowing the mailbox rule in such a case is most consistent with Illinois law. View "Gruszeczka v. IL Workers' Comp. Comm'n" on Justia Law

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Boyd, a female bartender filed a complaint with the Cook County Commission on Human Rights alleging that she was sexually harassed by her employer, Crittenden. The Commission entered awarded her $41,670 in lost wages, $5,000 in compensatory damages, $5,000 in punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs. The circuit court affirmed. The appellate court upheld the order and grant of compensatory damages, but reversed the award of punitive damages. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Although Cook County is a home rule unit, and although home rule units may authorize their local units and boards to award punitive damages, the ordinance at issue does not expressly authorize punitive damages. The Commission is an administrative agency, with no common law powers. Its authority is limited to what is granted in the ordinance. Punitive damages are not favored in the law and more protections are afforded in litigation than are available in administrative proceedings. View "Crittenden v. Cook Cnty. Comm'n on Human Rights" on Justia Law