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Illinois Supreme Court

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Civil opinions in Valfer v. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Fattah v. BimRichter v. Prairie Farms Dairy and Commonwealth Edison Company v. Illinois Commerce Commission.

Valfer v. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams Montgomery & John Ltd.

This case explored the breadth of a hospital’s immunity under the Illinois Hospital Licensing Act. Following a peer review, the hospital revoked Dr. Valfer’s privileges to practice at the hospital. After Dr. Valfer sued, the hospital obtained summary judgment. The trial court agreed that the hospital was immune from damages under the Licensing Act and that it had complied with its bylaws and had not engaged in any willful and wanton conduct.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Criminal opinions in People v. Hernandez, People v. Cotto and People v. Grant.

People v. Hernandez

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In People v. Hernandez, 2016 IL 118672, the Illinois Supreme Court built upon its recent decision in People v. Ligon, 2016 118023, and determined that the elements of armed robbery are not identical to the elements of armed violence.  Because armed robbery does not have the same elements as the lesser Class 2 offense of armed violence with a Category III weapon, which carried a lesser penalty, the Class X sentence for armed robbery imposed upon Hernandez did not violate the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution.

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on May 18, 2016, during the May Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

The Illinois Supreme Court hosted a memorial service in honor of the late Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald. Chief Justice Rita B. Garman gave the opening and closing remarks. Tributes were given by Supreme Court Justices Robert R. Thomas and Mary Jane Theis; Umberto Davi, president of the Illinois State Bar Association; and Nicholas J. Motherway, a Chicago attorney and close friend of the late justice.

Video of the event is available at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Media/Video/Events/2016/Justice_Fitzgerald_Memorial_Service.mp4

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that all 40 recommendations proposed in a report issued two years ago following a comprehensive review of pretrial services in Cook County have been addressed with the commitment of ensuring the sustainability of the changes.

Through the work and monitoring of the report's recommendations by the Supreme Court's Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC), and a partnership among elected officials in Cook County's criminal justice system, progress has been made in improving the county's pretrial services.

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court have invited Gov. Bruce Rauner and the entire state legislature to attend a special evening session of oral arguments.

The session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Supreme Court Building in Springfield and will mark the second special evening session the Supreme Court has held in recent years.

The Illinois Supreme Court will take its work on the road in May, when it will hear oral arguments at Benedictine University in Lisle.

The one-day change of venue is part of the Court's and Chief Justice Rita B. Garman's initiative to bring the Court to the people it serves and its continuing goal for greater transparency in the judicial process.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases starting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Benedictine University's Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business, located at 5700 College Road in Lisle.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Jacob H. Jost as the new Reporter of Decisions, a position that ensures opinions issued by the Supreme and Appellate courts are published with accurate case citations and proper style.

Mr. Jost's appointment took effect April 1, 2016. He replaces Urbana resident Amy L. Tomaszewski, who served in the role for two years. Mr. Jost joins the Court's staff from Chief Justice Rita B. Garman's office, where he had worked as a judicial law clerk since 2013.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman announced today the formation of a judicial screening committee for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

The screening committee was formed for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of those persons who have applied for appointment to the Office of Judge of the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit created by the upcoming retirement of Judge Arnold F. Blockman on September 16, 2016. Under the Illinois Constitution, the vacancy will be filled by Supreme Court appointment.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced on Friday that the annual registration fee for attorneys practicing in Illinois will increase by $3 next year.

The increased funds will be directed to the Lawyers' Assistance Program (LAP), a not-for-profit organization that helps attorneys, judges, and law students get confidential assistance with substance abuse, addiction, and mental health issues.

Under amended Supreme Court Rule 756, the annual registration fee will increase from $382 to $385 in 2017 for attorneys who have been in active status for three years or longer. Attorneys in active status for less than three years, inactive status attorneys, and out-of-state attorneys eligible to practice in Illinois under Supreme Court Rule 707 will not see their attorney registration fees rise.

“This modest increase in the annual registration fee will have a significant impact on the LAP’s ability to provide services to impaired attorneys and to shine a light on the issues of addiction and mental illness in our profession,” Chief Justice Rita B. Garman said. “I have often observed that when the Court is called upon to impose professional discipline on an attorney for some sort of professional misconduct, the attorney very often has an underlying history of substance abuse or mental illness. Intervention by the LAP, thus, serves not only the attorney whose career may be impacted by these issues, but the members of the public who have placed their trust in the attorney.”