The Illinois Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in more than a dozen cases.
Likely to be of most interest to Chicago area residents is a case that challenges the city’s red light program, a municipal ordinance enacted a decade ago that penalizes owners of vehicles caught violating red traffic light signals.
This case -- Elizabeth Keating et al. v. City of Chicago --is one of 14 civil and nine criminal cases in which the justices granted petitions for leave to appeal in. They denied more than 400 petitions.
At issue in this case is whether the lower court erred in dismissing a suit that seven motorists brought over the city's red light camera ordinance.
Among other allegations, the plaintiffs argued that the city lacked home rule authority to enact the 2003 ordinance and that a 2006 state law authorizing the red light camera programs in eight counties – Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will—is unconstitutional.
Determining that the ordinance was valid and the enabling statute was constitutional, the Cook County Circuit Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit for failure to state a claim.
It also dismissed the claims of two of the plaintiffs for lack of standing because they were not issued red light camera citations from the city and held that the remaining plaintiffs’ claims were barred because they voluntarily paid the fines for the citations.
The First District Appellate Court affirmed. It, however, found that the lower court erred in dismissing the suit on the basis of the voluntary payment doctrine, determining that dismissal was appropriate based on the plaintiffs’ failure to state a cause of action.
In addition to this case, the state high court agreed to hear arguments in two separate matters dealing with alleged legal malpractice.
Those cases are Morton Goldfine, et al. v. Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum and Perlman, et al. and The Estate of Perry C. Powell v. John C. Wunsch P.C., et al.
The Goldfine legal malpractice case stems from an underlying cause of action for a violation of the state’s Securities Law and the Powell matter focuses on the defendants’ representation of the decedent’s family in the a wrongful death suit against the decedent’s medical providers.
The justices also agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging dismissals of actions brought under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Those cases are Warren Garlick v. Lisa Madigan and Larry Nelson, et al. v The County of Kendall.
The Garlick case deals with the circuit court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s suit over a FOIA request he made to the Attorney General’s office and Nelson presents the court with the question of whether a state’s attorney’s office is a “public body” under FOIA.
To view the court’s entire list of allowed and denied petitions, go to state.il.us/court and click on the “Leave to Appeal Dispositions” tab on the left side of the page.