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After a public body denied a FOIA request for emails based on applicable FOIA exemptions, the requestor sued the public body claiming that the records were improperly withheld. After conducting an “in-camera” inspection of the records that had been withheld from release, the trial court agreed that the records were properly exempt from disclosure, and the requester appealed.On appeal, the requestor argued that the withheld responsive records could be redacted to protect certain exempt information and released to the requester. However, because the record on appeal did not include the emails that had been reviewed by the trial court, the
Continue Reading Appellate Court Upholds Ruling in Favor of Public Body in FOIA Case

Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a civil rights lawsuit against an Illinois municipality by a person who had been issued a parking ticket. Lewis v. Alsip. The driver filed the section 1983 action against the municipality after she was issued a $50 parking ticket for parking her car on a secondary snow route. She claimed her due process rights were violated because the municipality had not posted signage on the street informing drivers when snow prohibited parking. The federal district court dismissed the case and the driver appealed to the Seventh Circuit. The
Continue Reading Federal Court Dismisses Civil Rights Suit Challenging $50 Parking Ticket

The Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion in an appeal of a case filed by a firefighter union against an Illinois City that challenged the City’s PSEBA ordinance. Specifically, the union had argued that the City’s definition of “catastrophic injury” in its ordinance was inconsistent with the PSEBA statute and the Illinois Supreme Court’s definition of that term in the case Krohe v. City of Bloomington. The circuit and appellate courts had ruled in favor of the union and the City appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. Today, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its decision affirming the ruling in favor
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Finds City PSEBA Ordinance Invalid

An Appellate Court upheld the dismissal of negligence claims against a county related to the issuance and operation of a special use permit for a commercial use adjacent to the plaintiffs property. Sutton v. Next Level Strategies.In 2020, the Suttons (residential property owners) filed suit against the county and Next Level (a commercial business) adjacent to their property. The complaint consisted of 26 counts, two of which were directed at the county. Count 25 claimed that the county negligently granted a special use permit to Next Level and Count 26 alleged that the county negligently failed to enforce its
Continue Reading Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Negligence Claims Against County

In early 2020, two religious institutions sued the Illinois Governor to challenge one of his Executive Orders that had restricted the number of persons who could attend in-person worship services to 10 people. The federal district court had denied the churches’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Governor from enforcing the order, and the churches appealed. In June of 2020, the Court of Appeals ruled in the Governor’s favor, finding that the challenged restriction did not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.On remand back to the district court, the churches requested that the court
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Declines to Issue Injunction to Churches Based on 2020 Executive Order

In two companion rulings today, the U.S. Supreme Court imposed a “stay” on the Federal OSHA Rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to impose vaccination/testing requirements on employees in National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor and upheld the HHS vaccination mandate for covered health care workers at providers that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding in Biden v. Missouri. In both rulings, the Supreme Court’s decision turned on the Court’s analysis of the statutory authority for these federal agencies to establish the mandates that were being challenged in these lawsuits.

In the NFIB v. Department
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Imposes "Stay" On OSHA Vaccination Mandate But Upholds Vaccination Mandate for Health Care Workers

Last January, the Illinois General Assembly passed the “SAFE-T” Act, a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill, with provisions addressing police training protocol, use-of-force techniques, and other related issues. In June 2021, the General Assembly amended the SAFE-T Act in a trailer bill. Recently, on January 7, 2022, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 102-0694 into law, which further amends the SAFE-T Act. This second trailer bill (“Trailer Bill 2”) makes important changes to certain provisions of the Act that are scheduled to take effect in 2022.
Specifically, Trailer Bill 2 extends several new training deadlines for local law enforcement agencies
Continue Reading SAFE-T Act Undergoes More Changes Early in the New Year

An Illinois Appellate Court recently vacated a temporary restraining order (TRO) that a trial court granted to prohibit a number of state agencies from enforcing a workplace policy requiring their employees to undergo vaccination or testing for COVID-19. Glass v. Illinois Department of Corrections.

In September, the Illinois Governor issued an Executive Order requiring employees at state-owned or operated congregate facilities (those operated by the VA, DHS, Department of Corrections, and Department of Juvenile Justice) to be vaccinated. A number of state employees in these agencies objected to the vaccination requirement and filed a lawsuit to challenge it. Their
Continue Reading Appellate Court Vacates TRO that Stopped Enforcement of State Agency Vaccination Policy

Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Labor adopted by reference the federal OSHA rule requiring vaccination or testing of employees by certain covered businesses (Emergency Temporary Standard or ETS), as follows:
The Department hereby adopts as a rule of the Department, through incorporation by reference, the amendments to 29 CFR 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1926, and 1928 found in 86 FR 61402, published November 5, 2021, titled COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard. The effective date for this Standard shall be January 24, 2022, and the Standard shall expire on July 24, 2022.
Although the federal ETS only applies
Continue Reading Illinois Department of Labor Adopts Federal OSHA Vaccination/Testing Rule

An Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled in favor of a public body in a FOIA challenge in Lyberger v. Cannon.

In March 2020, a person submitted a FOIA request to a county board and county coroner seeking financial records regarding the county coroner’s office. Because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the county board responded to the request in April 2020 by disclosing all responsive non-exempt records in its possession. The county coroner’s office reviewed the responsive records already provided by the county board to the requestor and confirmed that the coroner’s office did not possess any addition
Continue Reading Court Rules in Public Body’s Favor in FOIA Case

As noted yesterday, we are summarizing the PAC’s binding opinions for 2021 this week. Today’s post will summarize the FOIA binding opinions:

PAC Op. 21-001 (unduly burdensome)

In PAC Op. 21-001, the PAC concluded that a police department violated FOIA by improperly denying a FOIA request as unduly burdensome under Section 3(g) and improperly denying responsive grand jury subpoenas under FOIA Section 7(1)(a). Specifically, the PAC found that CPD did not first offer the requester an opportunity to “meet and confer” so the requester could narrow the scope of the burdensome request to manageable proportions. Instead of conferring with
Continue Reading Summary of 2021 PAC Binding Opinions (FOIA)

In 2021, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor issued 12 binding opinions, all of which are now published on the Attorney General’s website (earlier last year, the website was only partially functioning). Today, we will focus on the OMA binding opinions of 2021.PAC Op. 21-003 (probable litigation exception for closed session)In PAC Op. 21-003, the PAC found a public body in violation of the OMA when it went into closed session under the “probable litigation” exception. A resident filed a complaint with the PAC arguing that a City Council improperly went into closed session under this
Continue Reading Summary of 2021 PAC Binding Opinions (OMA)

Happy New Year Municipal Minute readers!  Welcome to 2022.

As many of you have heard, Cook County (as well as Chicago and a few suburban municipalities) recently adopted new vaccination mandates for patrons at restaurants, fitness facilities and gyms, and entertainment venues that become effective in 2022. Cook County Department of Public Health’s Mitigation Order No. 2021-11 takes effect today. In short, persons who consume food or beverages on-site at restaurants or bars (iclyding private clubs, country clubs, banquet halls, etc.) or who visit gyms and fitness facilities, or entertainment venues (movie theaters, theaters, arenas, skating rinks, bowling alleys, etc.)
Continue Reading Vaccination Order at Restaurants, Gyms, and Entertainment Venues in Cook County

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) issued a legislative bulletinthis week including guidance on the new liquor delivery law going into effect on January 1, 2022. The guidance is mostly targeted at the retailers who want to take advantage of the new law that allows liquor delivery; however, municipalities that license these retailers may want to be aware of the new rules and consider whether they need to update their local liquor codes to be consistent with the new law. As a reminder, the new law preempts home rule and non-home rule units (except for Chicago) and allows certain
Continue Reading Illinois Liquor Control Commission Issues Guidance on Liquor Delivery

In August 2021, a reporter submitted a FOIA request to the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) seeking certain 911 call data, including response times to incidents. Although OEMC provided a data set responsive to the FOIA request, OEMC withheld 911 response times pursuant to FOIA exemption 7(1)(d)(vi), which exempts records that would endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel or any other person, and FOIA exemption 7(1)(v), which exempts from disclosure certain response policies and plans designed to identify, prevent, or respond to potential attacks on a community’s population, systems, facilities or
Continue Reading PAC Finds Public Body in Violation of FOIA for Withholding Certain 911 Call Data

In 2017, a law firm submitted a FOIA request to a Police Department seeking certain 2017 motor vehicle traffic accident reports. After the Department produced redacted accident reports to the requester, the requester sued the Department alleging that the Department improperly redacted non-exempt information under FOIA, and alternatively, even if the Department’s redactions were proper, the Department waived its ability to assert FOIA exemptions because the Department had previously provided unredacted accident reports to a third party vendor, LexisNexis.

We previouslyreported on the First District Appellate Court’s decision upholding the Department’s redactions as proper and finding the Department did
Continue Reading Public Body Did Not Waive FOIA Exemptions