Top News

Charles Freeman, first African-American IL Sup Ct justice, retires; Appellate justice Neville appointed to replace

From
Cook County Record

After nearly three decades on Illinois’ high court, Justice Charles Freeman, the first black justice to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court and a former chief justice of the court, has retired. Illinois First District Appellate Court P. Scott Neville has been appointed to serve the remainder of Freeman's term through 2020.

Fair Maps Amendment not called for vote, deadline passes to place it on November 2018 ballot

From
Cook County Record

Illinois voters will not get a chance to weigh in on the question of whether Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and other legislative leaders in the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly should continue to hold the keys to drawing the state's legislative district maps, after the leaders of the state House and Senate refused to call a vote for a constitutional amendment designed to curtail their influence over the process.

IL appeals court upholds dismissal of class action challenging Chicago red light camera program law

From
Cook County Record

Saying state law designates Chicago’s red light and speed camera enforcement programs as something different from ordinary traffic laws, a state appeals court has again handed a defeat to a class action attempting to overthrow the city’s automated traffic citation program, which annually adds millions of dollars in fines from ticketed motorists to the city’s coffers.

Man suing Madigan asks court to order release of inspector general's 2014 report detailing Speaker's clout

From
Cook County Record

A former candidate who is suing Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and some of his supporters for allegedly using political tricks to sabotage his campaign, is now locked in a fight in Chicago federal court to secure the release of a 2014 inspector general’s report his lawyer says is needed to shed light on how the longest serving state house speaker in U.S. history and his political organization work, to help substantiate the candidate’s claims.

GOP state lawmakers join Supreme Court brief asking to reject challenge to compulsory union fees

A group of nine Republicans currently serving in the Illinois General Assembly, including two rookie state lawmakers, have signed their names to a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to uphold the state’s ability to allow unions to extract fees from government employees who don’t wish to join a union, arguing the country’s founding federalist principles should allow the 50 states to decide such policy questions for themselves.

Simmons among firms chosen to represent Cook County in opioid litigation; Partner Hanly selected to lead plaintiffs in MDL

CHICAGO - Cook County, the second largest county in the U.S., has added its name to the ever-growing list of local governments demanding the makers of some of the most prescribed opioid painkillers pay out, saying the companies owe big money for costs the county has incurred in treating painkiller addiction and dealing with its aftermath at the county’s hospitals and other institutions.

Cook County repeals 'pop tax,' but lawsuits it spurred are still pending - though perhaps not for long

CHICAGO - The Cook County “pop tax” will soon be a thing of the past, after the Cook County Board buckled to public pressure and repealed the widely panned and unpopular penny-per-ounce tax on soda and a wide range of other sweetened drinks.

SCOTUS to take up Illinois case challenging power of unions to collect fees from non-union state workers

The U.S. Supreme Court will again wade into the question of whether public sector worker unions can force government employees who don’t wish to join their union to still pay fees, ostensibly for collective bargaining representation.

Posner departure sets stage for potential political fight over future of Seventh Circuit

After decades of relative stability, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago could soon undergo an extensive makeover, making the court potentially the next battleground in the fight for the future of the nation’s judiciary.

Posner announces retirement, ending 36-year prolific, influential tenure on Seventh Circuit

After more than three-and-a-half decades on the bench at Chicago’s Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Posner has announced his retirement.

Judges: Asbestos plaintiff not harmed by ruling barring testimony from doctor over exposure theories

A federal appeals court in Chicago has refused to upend a jury’s verdict against a retired pipefitter, who had claimed Owens-Illinois and ExxonMobil should be held liable for his lung cancer, because possible exposure to asbestos on work sites decades ago, and not a 30-year, pack-and-a-half-a-day cigarette smoking habit, had caused the illness.

Class action: Walgreens wrongly charged Cook 'pop tax'; Retailers had warned such suits were coming

CHICAGO - Walgreens has become the first retailer hit with a class action lawsuit for allegedly wrongly making customers pay Cook County’s so-called “pop tax” on drink purchases that should have been exempt.

Supreme Court puts hold on Cook Co. judge accused of abusing authority in pursuing sanctions in asbestos case

The Illinois Supreme Court, acting in response to a request from lawyers who claim they and others have been targeted by a “rogue” Cook County judge, has stepped in to slap a hold on potential sanctions proceedings against lawyers and litigants on both sides of an asbestos personal injury case, blocking the judge, for now, from continuing his bench investigation of what he said resembled an improper “grand bargain” between plaintiffs’ lawyers and those for defendant gasket maker John Crane Inc.

Illinois Supreme Court deadlocks on whether title companies' attorney payments are kickbacks

A divided Illinois Supreme Court has let stand a lower court’s decision to allow lawyers to earn fees – even fees that appear overly large, compared to the amount of work being done – from real estate title companies, despite accusations that the fee-splitting arrangements amount to little more than a kickback scheme.

Rauner seeks court guidance on illegally hired patronage workers in wake of special report; Hoffman and Clayborne connected to 11

In the wake of a scathing report from a court-appointed “special master” empowered to investigate political hiring abuses under former Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and other state officials and lawmakers, current Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked for the court’s guidance on whether those improperly hired, thanks to political connections, should now be able to use collective bargaining agreements to leverage the experience they gained in those positions to land in different positions or even move up in the state’s employment ranks.

Judge slaps down Illinois Election Day voter registration system, saying it dilutes rural citizens' rights

A federal judge has prohibited Illinois’ most populated counties from continuing to register voters at polling places on Election Day, saying the way the system is currently set up in the state violates the rights of people voting in Illinois’ more rural regions.

Group connected to Madigan, Emanuel sues to block redistricting amendment from ballot

An attorney connected to powerful Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan has filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court to block a referendum from landing on the ballot, which would ask Illinois voters to reform the way Illinois creates the legislative districts from which state lawmakers are elected.

Social service providers sue Rauner for vetoing appropriations, demand state pay $100 million

A group of more than five dozen Illinois social service agencies have sued Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and a collection of state agencies, alleging the governor’s decision to veto three appropriation bills in June 2015 has provided cover for the state to unconstitutionally refuse to pay them more than $100 million they are collectively owed for services rendered under contracts with the state of Illinois.

Illinois law granting hospitals tax exemption struck down by appellate court as unconstitutional

A state appellate panel has struck down an Illinois law providing tax exemptions to hospitals, saying lawmakers erred under the state constitution in believing hospitals should be able to avoid paying property taxes because they may provide enough benefits to their communities to offset the millions of dollars in tax revenue lost to cities, counties, school districts and other local property tax-collecting entities. On Jan. 5, a three-justice panel of the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Cour

John Crane says Ford lawyers' asbestos sanctions motion a 'witch hunt' to advance 'implausible conspiracy theory'

A manufacturer named as a defendant in about 75,000 asbestos personal injury cases nationwide has pushed back against a request for sanctions from lawyers representing Ford Motor Company, who have accused their client of being a “shill” to prevent other defendants from transferring cases out of Cook County Circuit Court, saying Ford has no basis to support an “implausible conspiracy theory” serving as a pretense for the chance to fish for privileged information.