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Supreme Court Quick Takes

Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, February 17. The cases are Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative HearingsWardwell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.Grimm v. Calica, and, from the criminal docket, People v. Fort, People v. Ayres, and People v. Shinaul.

CIVIL

Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings, a limited scope Armageddon was expected to occur concerning a claim of unauthorized practice of law, but by a vote of 4 to 3 that battle was called off.  Stone Street Partners, LLC brought this action in the circuit court to obtain administrative review and other relief after discovering that a judgment had been recorded against one of its properties for failure to pay $1,050 in fines and costs imposed by Chicago’s department of administrative hearings for alleged violations of the city’s building code, such as installation of carbon monoxide detectors, removal of garbage and debris, and the installation of lighting and exit signage.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys reviews the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, January 20. The cases are The Hertz Corporation v. City of Chicago, Board of Education of Springfield School Dist. No. 186 v. Attorney General of Illinois, Village of Bartonville v. Lopez, and People v. Johnson.

CIVIL

The Hertz Corporation v. City of Chicago

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys reviews the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, December 30. The cases are Bremer v. The City of Rockford, Johnson v. Ames, People v. Price, and People v. Smith.

CIVIL

Bremer v. The City of Rockford

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In three cases since 2003, the Supreme Court has construed the phrase “catastrophic injury” in the Public Safety Benefits Act (820 ILCS 320/10(a)) to be synonymous with an injury resulting in a line-of-duty disability pension under section 4-110 of the Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/4-110). The controlling issue in this case is whether that phrase is also synonymous with an injury resulting in an occupational disease disability pension under section 4-110.1 of the Pension Code. The court, with Justice Thomas writing, unanimously held that the legislature did not intend for that phrase to be synonymous with a disease  which resulted in the award of an occupational disease disability pension. The court stated that its prior cases were based on references in the legislative history to only the “line-of-duty” disability provision, and that nothing in the legislative history  indicated an intent to expand the definition of “catastrophic injury.”

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursdays's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the criminal case People v. McDonald and the civil cases Schweihs v. Chase Home Finance, LLC and In re M.I. 

CRIMINAL

People v. McDonald

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Defendant Stanley McDonald stabbed his partner, Larry Gladney, resulting in Gladney’s death.  A paramedic who had responded to the scene testified that Gladney was very combative as they tried to treat him.  Gladney smelled of alcohol and had needle track marks indicative of drug use.  Later testing showed a BAC of .19 and cocaine in Gladney’s system.  Gladney died two days later, with the cause being a stroke resulting from a stab wound to his right cheek which had damaged his carotid artery and caused a blood clot.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Civil opinions in In re M.M.Bueker v. Madison County Illinois,  Beggs v. The Board of Education of Murphysboro Community Unit School District No. 186, Blanchard v. Berrios, Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc. and Zahn v. North American Power & Gas, LLC.

In re M.M.

By Joanne R. Driscoll, Forde Law Offices LLP

This case raises the procedural question of whether, in the adjudication of an abuse and neglect petition, the court has the authority to appoint a guardian for the minor when there has been no finding that a parent is unfit, unable or unwilling to care for the child.  Answering the question “no,” the Illinois Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, repudiated and overruled several cases that were in conflict.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Criminal opinions in People v. Matthews and People ex rel. Alvarez v. Gaughan.

People v. Matthews

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Following an unsuccessful direct appeal and post-conviction petition, Jerrell Matthews filed a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1401, alleging that a State witness had committed perjury at his trial.  The circuit court dismissed the petition on the basis that it was untimely.

The proof of service that Matthews filed with the petition said that the petition was mailed to the State with “proper first-class postage”

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursdays's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the Civil case Carney v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. and the criminal cases People v. Jones and People v. Minnis.

CIVIL

Carney v. Union Pacific R.R. Co.

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In affirming the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant Union Pacific, and reversing the appellate court, which had decided this case with a Rule 23 Order, the supreme court significantly examined three sections of the Restatement (Second) of Torts which are frequently invoked in cases involving injuries during construction.  Justice Theis wrote for the court.  Justice Kilbride dissented.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Civil opinions in Kakos v. Butler, Bayer v. Panduit Corp., Moon v. Rhode, and J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC v. Wild, Inc.

Kakos v. Butler

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Kakos v. Butler, the court unanimously affirmed Judge Gomolinski’s judgment in the circuit court that the 6-person jury regime established by Public Act 98-1132 is facially unconstitutional.  Chief Justice Garman wrote for the court.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Criminal opinions in People v. Hood, People v. Cherry, People v. Reyes, and People v. Valdez.

People v. Hood

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Terry Hood was charged with attempt murder, home invasion, and aggravated battery of a senior citizen against Robert Bishop, Jr.  Prior to trial, the State sought to take Bishop’s evidence deposition due to health concerns. Present at the deposition were Assistant State’s Attorneys and defendant’s attorneys; defendant did not attend.  Subsequently, the evidence deposition was admitted at defendant’s trial upon a finding that Bishop could not testify.

Blumenthal v. Brewer

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Blumenthal v. Brewer, 2016 IL 118781, the court reaffirmed Hewitt v. Hewitt, 77 Ill.2d 49 (1979) which concerned the rights of unmarried cohabitants, restated that the Supreme Court alone may overrule or modify one of its previous opinions, and concluded that it is exclusively for the legislature to determine whether a change in public policy governing the rights of parties in nonmarital relationships is necessary.  Justice Karmeier wrote for the majority; Justice Theis, with Justice Burke joining her, wrote separately, concurring in part and dissenting in part.