Articles Posted in Government Law

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Boyd, a female bartender filed a complaint with the Cook County Commission on Human Rights alleging that she was sexually harassed by her employer, Crittenden. The Commission entered awarded her $41,670 in lost wages, $5,000 in compensatory damages, $5,000 in punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs. The circuit court affirmed. The appellate court upheld the order and grant of compensatory damages, but reversed the award of punitive damages. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Although Cook County is a home rule unit, and although home rule units may authorize their local units and boards to award punitive damages, the ordinance at issue does not expressly authorize punitive damages. The Commission is an administrative agency, with no common law powers. Its authority is limited to what is granted in the ordinance. Punitive damages are not favored in the law and more protections are afforded in litigation than are available in administrative proceedings. View "Crittenden v. Cook Cnty. Comm'n on Human Rights" on Justia Law

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McFatridge prosecuted Steidl and Whitlock for 1986 murders and obtained convictions, which were subsequently overturned in federal court. The defendants filed separate federal suits seeking financial recovery against McFatridge, Edgar County, and others. McFatridge sought mandamus to compel Attorney General Madigan to approve payment for litigation expenses he incurred in his defense of the civil lawsuits, under the State Employee Indemnification Act. The Attorney General refused requests for payment, contending that payment was barred under the Act by the allegations of intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct, but that there could be indemnification later if a court or jury should find that there was no such misconduct. The circuit court dismissed the mandamus complaint, but the appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal. The statute has a provision that an elected official (such as a State’s Attorney) may choose his or her own defense counsel and have the resulting expenses paid as they are incurred; the provision has no impact on an earlier provision of the Act that allows the Attorney General to decline representation if she determines that the claim is for intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct.BurkeView "McFatridge v. Madigan" on Justia Law

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Unit owner Palm had a dispute with his condominium association, and sought access to records and financial information. Chicago, a home rule unit, has an ordinance that requires production within three business days. Production was resisted on the theory that the ordinance was beyond the city’s home rule authority because state statutes allow 30 days to respond to such requests, and, unlike the ordinance, limit the age of the requested documents to 10 years, and require that a proper purpose be stated. The trial court ordered production; the appellate and supreme courts affirmed, finding the ordinance a valid exercise of home rule power. If the legislature intends to limit or deny the exercise of home rule powers by statute, the statute must contain an express statement to that effect. The home rule provisions of the Illinois Constitution are intended to eliminate, or reduce to a bare minimum, circumstances under which local home rule powers are preempted by judicial interpretation of unexpressed legislative intent. Comprehensive legislation which conflicts with an ordinance is insufficient to limit or restrict home rule authority. If the legislature wishes to deny or restrict the city’s authority, it may enact a statute so providing.View "Palm v. 2800 Lake Shore Dr. Condo. Ass'n" on Justia Law