Tressler LLP represented the Board of Elections for the City of Chicago in a complaint that challenged the inclusion of an advisory referendum initiated by the City Council on the March 19, 2024 primary ballot. The plaintiffs consisted of a group of trade associations, building owners, business owners and individuals who sought to have a court enter an order directing the Board to remove the advisory referendum from the ballot or in the alternative, to suppress the counting of the votes on the referendum following the election.  

The Board moved to dismiss the complaint and strike the plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on the pleadings. The trial court denied the Board’s motion and also denied a separate petition to intervene filed by the City of Chicago. The Board appealed the trial court’s order on February 27, 2024. The appellate court set an expedited briefing schedule resulting in the appeal being fully briefed as of March 4, 2024.  

The First District appellate court issued its opinion on March 5, 2024, reversing the judgment of the trial court and remanding the case to the trial court with an order to dismiss the complaint for want of jurisdiction—one of the many arguments advanced by Tressler on behalf of the Board.

In vacating the relief awarded to the plaintiffs, the appellate court, in a strongly worded decision, emphasized that plaintiffs’ complaint directly interfered with the legislative process and improperly impacted the conduct of a legitimate election. This reported decision recognizes the limits on the judiciary to affect the legislative process in Chicago and will protect the Board of Elections and similar public bodies from this type of interference for years to come.

Congratulations to Tressler attorneys Charles A. LeMoineMolly E. ThompsonRosa M. Tumialán and Taylor A. Brewer on this great result! Rosa M. Tumialán was recently selected as the Recommended 2024 Illinois Appellate Attorney by The Appellate Lawyers and is the leader of Tressler’s Appellate Team.