Bethany Krajelis Aug. 29, 2013, 9:26am

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear arguments in more than a dozen cases later this month, when the justices will convene in Chicago for their September term.

The location change is the result of a $12.6 million renovation to the court’s building in Springfield that began in June and is expected to be complete in about a year.

It also marks what is believed to be the first time a full court term will be held outside of Springfield since the building opened there in 1908, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Supreme Court.

The justices will hear arguments in 17 cases over a four-day period -- Sept. 10, 11, 17 and 18 -- in the Supreme Court Room on the 18th floor of the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street.

Aside from the change in location, the court’s term will be business as usual.

Attorneys scheduled to appear before the court, however, will have to check in at the clerk’s satellite office on the 20th floor of the Bilandic building before riding down to the 18th floor for their arguments.

Arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. each day. The justices will hear four cases on each Sept. 10, 11 and 17 and arguments in five cases on Sept. 18.

The court's news release notes that attorneys slated to appear before the court must check in with the clerk’s office no later than 9:15 a.m., with the exception of attorneys in the final and fifth case on Sept. 18 who must check in by 10:15 a.m.

Out of the 17 cases slated for the court’s September term, 12 are civil in nature, four are criminal and one deals with a juvenile matter.

Four of the 17 cases involve suits brought in the Fifth District, although one was later consolidated with a trio of similar suits in Sangamon County.

That case – Roger Kanerva et al., etc. v. Malcolm Weems, etc., et al.—is also likely receive the most attention as it deals with the constitutionality of a new law that affects thousands of state retirees. The justices will hear arguments in this case on Sept. 18.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires retired state employees, judges and university workers to start paying premiums for their health insurance, something they previously did not have to do after serving for four to 20 years depending on their position.

The Supreme Court last year consolidated four suits over the new law, including one filed in Madison County by former Fifth District Appellate Court Justice Gordon Maag. The other suits were brought in Sangamon and Randolph counties.

The justices in April granted a motion for a direct appeal after  Sangamon County Associate Judge Steve Nardulli dismissed the consolidated lawsuit, rejecting the plaintiffs’ claim that health insurance benefits are protected by the state Constitution’s Pension Protection Clause.

Besides this case, the justices will hear arguments over the following civil issues:

  • The constitutionality of the Employee Classification Act, which lays out criteria for determining whether a person performing services for a construction contractor is an employee or an independent contractor. Rhonda Bartlow et al., etc., v. Joseph Costigan, etc. (Fifth District).

  • A Madison County school district’s dispute with an area refinery and the state’s Pollution Control Board over tax revenue and whether it has the right to intervene in the matter. The Board of Education of Roxana Community Unit School District No. 1 v. The Pollution Control Board and WRB Refining LLC (Fourth District)

  • How jury verdicts in dramshop actions involving the Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund should be reduced. Roy Dean Rogers II et al., etc., v. Gani Imeri, Indv., etc. (Fifth District).

  • Whether a business that spans multiple counties has to pay retail taxes based on the location of its headquarters or its sales office. Hartney Fuel Oil Company et al. v. Board of Trustees of the Village of Forest View, etc., et al. (Third District).

  • If survivor pensions under the state’s Pension Act increase when the salary of the decedent’s position increases. Daniel Hooker, etc., et al., v. Retirement Board of the Firemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago (First District).

A full list of all 17 cases scheduled for arguments this month can be found at by clicking on the oral argument link under the Supreme Court heading.

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