Civil Litigation

Dorothy Crawley was a tenured teacher at Wells Preparatory Elementary School.  After receiving an anonymous tip that she had used sick days to take a Caribbean cruise, the Chicago School Board investigated and then filed charges against her alleging that, among other things, she made false representations in her employment record, violated Board policy prohibiting the use of sick days for personal time and engaged in conduct unbecoming of a school employee. The Board recommended immediate dismissal for cause. At a hearing on the charges, Ms. Crawley first admitted that she knew about the sick leave policy but claimed she…
New Parking Ordinance Helping Churches Written by Richard C. Baker The author of Ecclesiastes wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. So just as the Jews returning from Babylon after the Exile found their building project for a new temple mired in red tape and neighbors’ objections for many years (Ezra 4:4; Nehemiah 4:1-9), so too every pastor or church board looking to purchase, build, renovate or expand a church in Chicago knows, it can be extremely hard to find the right property given the City’s zoning process. While there are many written and unwritten rules governing the…
The Controversy Over Custody Modified excerpt from pages 96-99 of Jesus in the Courtroom by John W. Mauck When Bethany Christian Services’ announced their plans to compromise with the state of Michigan by not discriminating against LGBT couples who wanted to adopt and foster children through their organization, many Christians responded with conflicting views. Some expressed anger at the government’s infringement on religious liberty, while others decried BCS for “giving in.” But in this controversy over custody, what many are forgetting are the overall best interests of the child. A child’s biological parents are, generally speaking, best qualified and most…
Mission Trip Do’s and Dangers Written by Attorney Sorin A. Leahu If you work in ministry, you know that some of the most exciting times of the year involve mission trips and outings. These events, however, should not be rushed into without careful legal planning. Unfortunately, you can never fully remove the risk associated with these events, but you can plan accordingly should the unexpected happen. The basic starting point for any trip or event should be the assumption of risk form. Adults who participate in these events should be required to sign a form assuming risks which are clearly…
The Illinois appellate court in The People of the State of Illinois v. Rory John Swenson, 2019 IL App (2d) 160960 (February 28, 2019), affirmed a trial court’s disorderly-conduct conviction of Rory John Swenson (“Defendant”) for charges stemming from his fifteen-minute phone conversation with an employee at Keith Country Day School (the “School”). Defendant spoke with the School’s director of advancement, Monica Krysztopa, because he was interested in enrolling his second-grade son. Krysztopa testified that during their phone conversation, Defendant made several disturbing comments about shooting children which left her “very shook up.” The School went into a “soft lockdown”…
Often when police departments are looking for qualified candidates, many times applicants are certified out of state police officers. Thus, the question is, how does a municipality proceed with such a candidate? The municipality may have the candidate complete the Illinois Law Enforcement Basic Training Course or, another option is to request a conditional waiver of Illinois Basic Law Enforcement Training if the officer meets the conditions as set out by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB). The following are the requirements for such a waiver: Summary of Conditions: Candidates must first be hired by a law…
I am sure you might wonder why a man at the time having been in ministry for over 29 years, a candidate for pastorate at three different churches, and preaching across the country weekly killed his wife in a sudden unanticipated moment of passion. It is a haunting question I seek to answer daily. I cannot honestly say my life was a sinless life, which to a degree contributed to my fall from grace. I lived in fellowship with peers in ministry that condoned the practice of sin. Many of the pastors I associated with practiced fornication and adulterous behavior.…
Mauck & Baker’s client, Christian Fellowship Centers of New York (CFC) received a favorable ruling in the nick of time. Over the past several months CFC has faced hostility from many members of the town as well as religious discrimination from Village of Canton officials who refused to permit the church to use its recently purchased building as a place of worship. CFC had been renting from various facilities in Canton in order to hold services each week, but had nowhere to meet on March 31. As a result, church officials had cancelled service for the date. However, on March…
Written by public relations specialist, Tom Ciesielka In light of the media attention for the movie Unplanned, you might have noticed a trend that continues when issues of life and abortion are involved. Although this movie was able to get widespread attention, pro-life voices continue to be largely suppressed or negatively reviewed. Twitter even “accidentally” suspended the film’s social media account for a brief time for no apparent reason other than to limit their impact. So how can pro-life advocates break through the largely abortion-supporting media? The reality of major media’s anti-life bias The traditional media has long been in…
An excerpt from “The Church and the Jews” by Daniel Gruber At first the Christian Passover was celebrated at the same time as the Jewish; this simultaneous observance was preserving the Jewish ritual in the Christian festival, and strengthening the bonds between Christianity and Judaism. Until the date was changed. At the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. it was decided that all the churches should celebrate the Passover, or actually Easter, on the ecclesiastically chosen Sunday rather than the Biblical date. All the churches were thus informed. The Emperor Constantine sent his personal exhortation to all the churches concerning…
The Third District Appellate Court recently confronted the following question: is an injury suffered during a simulated emergency the same as a genuine emergency under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, 820 ILCS 320/10 (the “Act”)? The answer – it depends. During a field simulation for mandatory riot training, a Peoria police officer slipped and fell on icy pavement, injuring her head. According to the officer, she treated the simulation as a “real life” emergency, as instructed, and continued with the riot training. Later seeking medical treatment, it was determined that she suffered a career-ending “catastrophic injury”. The Act…
The Illinois Municipal Code requires the all municipalities to publish the municipality’s zoning map each year no later than March 31st.  65 ILCS 5/11-13-19.  This specific requirement is set forth below: Except as otherwise provided in this section, the corporate authorities shall cause to be published no later than March 31 of each year a map clearly showing the existing zoning uses, divisions, restrictions, regulations and classifications of such municipality for the preceding calendar year. The first map published in 1960 shall reflect all zoning uses, divisions, restrictions, regulations and classifications in effect on and prior to December 31, 1959. If…
If you’ve lived in a residence that is a part of a homeowners or condominium association, you’ve probably been briefed with the rules: Nothing can be displayed in the front yard, and nothing hung on the front door. Many HOAs or condo associations prohibit the posting of items on the exterior of one’s building, but can they prevent you from expressing your religion in this way? What are your rights? In the past, there have been numerous cases of discrimination on the basis of religion by housing authorities and associations; many involving disputes over the common Jewish practice of placing…
Mauck & Baker has written an amicus curiae brief in support of Alliance Defending Freedom’s certiorari petition to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Tree of Life Christian Schools in their case against the City of Upper Arlington, Ohio. This request for review comes after several unfavorable rulings and an eight-year long legal battle after Tree of Life Christian Schools purchased a vacant building that was formerly occupied by AOL/Time-Warner to accommodate their rapidly increasing amount of students. When they applied for a zoning permit to expand their school into the new building they were denied, even though…
     If you’re a person of faith, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act is something you should know about. This law has been instrumental in protecting religious freedom. But the government’s failure to clarify certain aspects of this law have led to misinterpretation (whether intentional or not) by many municipalities. This is affecting the ability of many congregations to worship freely in their communities. To amend these issues, the land use aspects of RLUIPA (which became law back in 2000), need to be reviewed.      RLUIPA, as it acronymically known, has secured important liberties, created enormous…