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In 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times submitted a FOIA request to Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) seeking the times/dates of admissions for gunshot wound patients seeking treatment at CCHHS, and the corresponding times/dates these admissions were reported to law enforcement. CCHHS denied the request alleging that the records were exempt pursuant to FOIA exemption 7(1)(a), because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits disclosing personal health information (PHI), as well as FOIA exemption 7(1)(b), which exempts private medical information. After the Sun-Times filed a lawsuit alleging that CCHHS denied the records in violation of FOIA, the trial
Continue Reading Generic (Unidentifiable) Patient Admission Information Subject to FOIA

Ancel Glink has just released a brand new Quorum Forum podcast episode: Quorum Forum 67: An Old Tradition for the New Year. The Quorum Forum podcast team loves a good tradition. To ring in the New Year, we will be reviewing case law and legislation that our local government listeners should be aware of as we head into 2023.Happy Holidays from Ancel Glink’s podcast team!
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Continue Reading Quorum Forum Podcast Ep. 67 Just Released

In Norman v. City of Chicago, an Illinois Appellate Court rejected a “sovereign citizen” defense brought by a vehicle owner in a City ordinance enforcement action.  The owner of a vehicle was issued a $60 fine for violating the City of Chicago Code due to expired registration on his license plate. He filed an appeal with the City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) where he argued he did not have any contracts with the City of Chicago, was not engaged in “commerce” while traveling in his private automobile, and that he did not consent to be subject
Continue Reading Court Rejects Sovereign Citizen Defense in Vehicle License Case

An inmate filed six FOIA requests with the Illinois Department of Corrections (Department) seeking Department records, policies, and copies of the Department’s prior denials of the inmate’s FOIA requests. The Department rejected some of the inmate’s FOIA requests for failing to identify responsive public records and withheld other requested records under various FOIA exemptions. The inmate sought review of the Department’s denials with the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s office (PAC). The PAC determined that no further inquiry was warranted and closed the file. The inmate then filed a lawsuit against the Department alleging it violated FOIA by
Continue Reading Court Finds in Favor of Department of Corrections in FOIA Challenge

In 2016, voters approved the Safe Roads Amendment to the Illinois Constitution which restricts government expenditure of transportation-related fees and taxes to transportation-related purposes. After the amendment was passed, a group of contractors, builders, and unions sued Cook County claiming the County was violating the amendment by spending transportation-generated revenues on non-transportation expenditures. The County’s defense was that it was exempt from the Amendment as a home-rule unit of government, which defense was rejected in a previous lawsuit that made its way to the Illinois Supreme Court earlier this year.Just a few months after the Illinois Supreme Court issued its
Continue Reading Court Will Not Issue Injunction as to Future Legislation

The General Assembly recently introduced HB 5820, which proposes to amend section 11(i) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to add a definition of the word “prevail” for purposes of awarding attorneys fees to a prevailing party who challenges a FOIA decision by a public body. If passed, a plaintiff would be deemed to have “prevailed” in a FOIA lawsuit if it either (1) obtains a court order requiring the public body to turn over the records to the plaintiff or (2) receives all requested records from the public body.   Currently, FOIA section 11(i) does not define the word “prevail,”
Continue Reading Bill Would Add a Definition for "Prevail" for FOIA’s Attorneys’ Fee Provision

We recently reported on a case addressing the authority of a home-rule municipality to hold administrative hearings in the case of overlapping state and municipal traffic laws. Another Illinois Appellate Court recently weighed in on a similar issue in Cammacho, Jr., et al. v. City of Joliet. There, the Appellate Court held that the City’s overweight vehicle ordinance had been improperly enforced through administrative hearing procedures.  The City Code makes it unlawful to operate vehicles over a certain weight on any road within the City that is not designated for such vehicles. After receiving citations for violating the ordinance,
Continue Reading Overweight Vehicle Ordinance Cannot Be Enforced Through Administrative Hearings

Recently, an Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought under the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act (Act) and denied two employees any recovery for their termination based on their refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Krewionek & Bosowski v. McKnight. In August 2021, two employees at a dental and out-patient surgical office were discharged after they refused to comply with their employer’s rule requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The former employees then sued their employer, claiming a violation of Section 5 of the Act, which provides that:It shall be unlawful for any person,
Continue Reading Court Dismisses Lawsuit Based on Refusal of Employees to Get Vaccinated

The Illinois General Assembly has reconvened for the Fall 2022 Veto Session. While this session is traditionally an opportunity for legislators to check the veto power of the Governor, it also gives the General Assembly time to consider new bills.One of the new bills introduced in the Illinois Senate is SB 4232, which would amend the Public Library District Act of 1991 (Act) to provide an extension for filling vacant trustee positions on boards of library districts across the State but only for vacancies that occurred prior to May 27, 2022 that have not yet been filled.Under the current
Continue Reading Bill Proposes Solution for Library District Board Vacancies

An Illinois Appellate Court recently upheld a Pension Board’s decision to deny pension benefits to a former police officer based on the officer’s felony conviction in Pruente v. Retirement Board of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of the City of Chicago.According to the Appellate Court’s opinion, a former Chicago police officer was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct for providing false testimony in a narcotics case. The officer’s application for pension benefits was initially approved by the Pension Board; however, subsequently the Pension Board rescinded its approval after investigating the felony conviction. The former officer
Continue Reading Court Upholds Pension Board’s Rescission of Benefits

An individual submitted a FOIA request to a road district seeking certain communications and documents. In response, the road district provided certain non-exempt responsive records. However, because some of the requested records had been previously provided to the requester and two other individuals in a prior FOIA request, the road district denied that portion of the FOIA request on the grounds that it was a “repeated request” from the same person for the same records that were otherwise unchanged or identical to the records previously provided by the road district. The requestor then filed a request for review with the
Continue Reading A Group Can Be Considered One Person When Applying "Repeated Request" Provision of FOIA

Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a school district, finding that an athletic director could not maintain a “reverse” race discrimination claim against his employer (“School District”). Groves v. South Bend Community School Corporation,  Groves had been a teacher in the School District for 16 years before transitioning to the role of athletic director in 2007. In 2017, Groves interviewed for a newly created position that encompassed the entire School District. After the application and interview process, Groves claims that he was passed up for the role in favor of his Black colleague
Continue Reading Court Upholds Ruling That School District Did Not Engage in “Reverse Discrimination”

Ancel Glink just released a new episode of its Quorum Forum podcast: Episode 66: Closed Session for LitigationThe Open Meetings Act mandates public bodies hold open meetings. Ancel Glink’s Kathy Kunkle and Mark Heinle join us to discuss the litigation exception to the Open Meetings Act and what local governments need to know to comply with the Act. Email your questions to!

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Continue Reading Quorum Forum Podcast: Episode 66 – Closed Session for Litigation

In M&J Underground, Inc. v. Village of Bourbonnais, an Illinois Appellate Court overturned a circuit court’s ruling in favor of a village that dismissed a contract dispute filed by a contractor hired for a public improvement project. A contractor and village entered into a construction contract for a village public improvement project. Various engineering reviews, water conditions, and other issues delayed work on the project. According to the complaint filed by the contractor, the contractor had continued discussions with village representatives who told them that its change orders were being processed, leading the contractor to believe the village would pay for the additional costs
Continue Reading Court Erred in Dismissing Construction Dispute Between Village and Contractor

Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a former employee could proceed with her employment discrimination claim against a municipal employer. Runkel v. City of Springfield & James O. Langfelder,  In 2018, a city purchasing agent announced he was leaving his position. The assistant purchasing agent (Runkel) stated she was interested in the position but was passed over for the role in favor of another employee who at the time worked under Rankel’s supervision. At the same time, Rankel was offered a substantial raise to stay in her position as assistant purchasing agent. When she found out she
Continue Reading Court Reverses Summary Judgment in Employment Dispute Against City

In Novak v. City of Parma, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of a municipality and certain police officers in a First Amendment challenge relating to an imposter Facebook page created by a private individual.  Novak created a knockoff Facebook page that looked substantially identical to the City of Parma police department (“Department”) page. The imposter Facebook page included posts such as offering free abortions in police vans and a “pedophile reform event” which caused concerned citizens to reach out to the Department to complain. Novak also deleted any comments on his page that
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of City in Facebook Parody Case