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Legal News Affecting Illinois Municipalities April 14, 2017

 IML Legal Bulletin 2017-04

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IML Comments Filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
IML filed reply comments (available here) with the FCC on April 7, 2017 regarding a Petition for Declaratory Ruling requested by Mobilitie, LLC. Mobilitie, a telecommunications company, sought FCC clarification that would ultimately limit local government control of its property interests in the right-of-way. IML’s reply comment centered on the lengths Illinois municipalities have gone to in order to negotiate small cell sitings and how the wireless industry has not acted in good faith during those negotiations. IML opposes the requested reduction of local authority. 
Along with numerous other state municipal leagues, IML also participated in a National League of Cities’ (NLC) initiative to submit a comment to the FCC (available here) on the topic of local wireless siting processes. NLC is also opposed to the requested reduction of local authority.
Supreme Court of the United States
Constitutional Law
During a traffic stop, police officers from the City of Joliet (Joliet) searched Manuel and found a bottle containing pills. Suspecting the pills to be illegal drugs, the officers conducted a field test, which came back negative. Nevertheless, they arrested Manuel and charged him with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Relying on a falsified police report and complaint, a county judge found probable cause to detain Manuel pending trial.  Manuel remained in police custody for 48 days until the Illinois police laboratory reported that the pills contained no controlled substances. More than two years after his arrest, but less than two years after his criminal case was dismissed, Manuel filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case against Joliet alleging that his arrest and detention violated the Fourth Amendment. The district court dismissed his suit, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court of the United States reversed and remanded. Manuel v. City of Joliet, et al., 580 U.S. ___ (2017).
Federal Circuit Courts
Government Immunity and Liability
Deputy Sheriff Miracle (Miracle) assisted paramedics in order to stabilize the life-threatening condition of Hill.  In the process, Miracle deployed his taser into Hill’s right thigh.  Hill filed suit against Miracle in the U.S. District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Miracle used excessive force in violation of Hill’s Fourth Amendment rights.  He also brought a Michigan state law claim for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Miracle on the state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but denied his motion for summary judgment on the § 1983 claims. Miracle appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded. Estate of Corey Hill v. Miracle, No. 16-1818 (April 4, 2017).
Labor and Employment
In 2015, the Governor of Illinois filed suit in federal district court to halt a union’s collection of fees from employees who were not members of the union, but nevertheless were required to pay the union fees because they benefitted from the union’s collective bargaining agreement with their employer. The district court dismissed the governor’s complaint, but two public employees, Janus and Trygg, moved to intervene in the suit as plaintiffs. The district court dismissed both plaintiffs’ complaint as well, and the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed.  Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, et al., No. 15 C 1235 (March 21, 2017).
Hively, an open lesbian, filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against her former employer, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Ivy Tech) and received a right-to-sue letter.  She then sued Ivy Tech in district court for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Ivy Tech filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted, which the district court granted. Hively appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the district court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, No. 15-1720 (April 4, 2017).
Illinois Supreme Court
Revenue and Finances
The Carle Foundation (Carle) filed a multicount action against state and local taxing authorities, including Cunningham Township (Township) to establish that its property was exempt from real estate taxation. The circuit court granted Carle’s motion for summary judgment. The Township appealed, and the appellate court reversed the circuit court’s judgment on constitutional grounds.  Carle appealed, and the Supreme Court of Illinois vacated the appellate court’s decision and remanded the case to circuit court for further proceedings. The Carle Foundation v. Cunningham Township et al., No. 120427 (March 23, 2017).
Illinois Appellate Courts
Government Immunity and Liability
Hollenbeck brought suit against the City of Tuscola (Tuscola) to recover for injuries suffered in a fall on Tuscola’s parkway, claiming it had a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and exercise ordinary care to see that the property was safe for lawful use. Tuscola filed an affirmative defense that Hollenbeck negligently failed to keep a proper lookout where she was walking and that the claim was barred by the provisions of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Act). The trial court held that the conditions of the area in which Hollenbeck fell were not unreasonably dangerous and granted Tuscola’s motion for summary judgement. The appellate court affirmed.  Hollenbeck v. The City of Tuscola, 2017 IL App (4th) 160266 (March 13, 2017).
Kielczynski (Relator) alleged the Village of Indian Head Park (Village) overbilled for policing services and failed to remit collection of traffic fines to Lyons Township per a contract executed between the Village and Lyons Township. The circuit court dismissed the complaint and Relator appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in finding that the claims were barred by the Illinois False Claims Act (Act) and that the Village was immune from liability based on the Illinois Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act). The appellate court reversed and remanded.  Lyons Township ex rel. John Kielczynski v. Village of Indian Head Park, 2017 Il App (1st) 16-1574 (March 24, 2017).
Meetings and Records
Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Janssen) appealed a decision of the circuit court denying its motion to enforce a protective order. Janssen argued that the order was not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court.  City of Chicago v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 1-15-0870 (March 31, 2017).
Illinois Attorney General - Public Access Counselor Advisory Opinion
Meetings & Records
John Guletz (Guletz) submitted a request to the Illinois State Police (ISP) seeking a copy of an ISP field report.  The ISP replied that the requested records were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), citing an exemption for documents that would interfere with law enforcement proceedings. The Public Access Counselor (PAC) found that the exemption cited by the ISP was inappropriate and ordered that it disclose the field report to Guletz. Freedom of Information Act: Basis for Withholding Police Investigatory Records, 2017 PAC 45894 (PAC Op. 17-001, March 14, 2017).