The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed a municipality's residency requirement for firefighters in Cannici v. Village of Melrose Park. Cannici lived in Melrose Park until 2008 when he and his family purchased a home in Orland Park. ...


Termination for Violation of Residency Requirement Upheld and more...

Termination for Violation of Residency Requirement Upheld

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed a municipality's residency requirement for firefighters in Cannici v. Village of Melrose Park

Cannici lived in Melrose Park until 2008 when he and his family purchased a home in Orland Park. According to the opinion, Cannici lived in the Melrose Park home during the week, and his family lived in the Orland Park home. In 2013, Cannici rented out the Melrose Park home, but reserved a portion of the home in the basement for his exclusive use in order to maintain residency. However, Cannici slept at his Orland Park home from 2013 to 2016, when the Village brought charges against him for violating the residency requirement. The Village conducted a hearing to hear testimony and arguments relating to his residency, and at the conclusion of the hearing, terminated him.

Cannici then sued the Village in federal court, arguing that his termination violated his due process and equal protection rights. The Seventh Circuit held that his procedural due process rights were not violated where he had sufficient relief under the Administrative Review Act. The Court also rejected his claim that his equal protection rights were violated where the Village followed the statutory procedure prior to termination in providing him with written charges, a hearing, and the opportunity to present evidence. 

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf 

City Preliminarily Enjoined From Evicting Residents From Group Home

The City of Springfield imposes zoning restrictions on family care residences that require a distance of at least 600 feet between these uses. That zoning regulation was the subject of a federal lawsuit that argued that the City discriminated against three disabled individuals living in a residence located within 600 feet of an existing disabled group home. 

When the city learned that a particular home was being used as a group home and that it was located across the street from another group home it notified the second home that it would need to cease the group home use or obtain a conditional permitted use (CPU). The owners applied for the CPU, but the city denied it after a hearing at which a number of neighborhood residents objected to the use. Following that denial, plaintiffs sued, claiming that the city discriminated against disabled persons in violation of the Fair Housing Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Plaintiffs' theories of liability were as follows: (1) the 600 foot spacing requirement discriminates against disabled persons because there is no similar spacing requirement for non-disabled persons; (2) the spacing requirement has a disparate impact on disabled persons; and (3) by denying the CPU, the city failed to make a reasonable accommodation.

The trial court granted plaintiffs an injunction against the city from evicting the residents while the case proceeded. The city appealed, arguing that plaintiffs did not meet the injunction standards because they failed to show a reasonable likelihood of success on their theories of liability.

The Seventh Circuit agreed with the trial court on one basis - that the plaintiffs had a reasonable chance of success on their "reasonable accommodation" theory. Specifically, the Seventh Circuit determined that the request by plaintiffs that the city approve a CPU to allow their group home was a reasonable request that could support an argument that it was a reasonable accommodation. As a result, the Seventh Circuit upheld the preliminary injunction while the merits of the case continue. Valencia v. City of Springfield (7th Cir. March 1, 2018)

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


No Bias Shown to Disqualify Electoral Board Member

Jan McDonald filed petitions to run for Cook County Clerk in the March 20th primary election. Objections were filed, and the Cook County Electoral Board convened to hear the objections. McDonald filed a motion with the Electoral Board to disqualify Cook County Clerk David Orr from serving on the Board (under state law, the Cook County Clerk, States Attorney, and Circuit Court Clerk make up the Electoral Board). She argued that Orr should be replaced with a public body member appointed by the Chief Judge.

Two days after she filed her motion to disqualify Orr with the Electoral Board, she filed a lawsuit seeking the same relief. The trial court ruled against her, finding that Orr's continued participation on the Electoral Board did not violate Section 10-9 Election Code because he was not a current candidate for the County Clerk position. Section 10-9 of the Election Code provide that a member of the board who is a candidate for an office for which an objection has been filed is disqualified from serving on the Electoral Board that hears that particular objection - but, since Orr was not a candidate for that office, this section did not apply.

The court also rejected McDonald's arguments that Orr or Orr's replacement, which by statute would be the County Treasurer had a personal or political interest and conflict under Cook County General Order No. 21. The court determined that the mere fact that Board members may be political allies or opponents does not constitute the type of bias to support disqualification. As a result, the court rejected McDonald's argument for disqualification of Orr and other Electoral Board members.  McDonald v. Cook County Electoral Board, 2018 IL App (1st) 180122-U.

In a related decision issued a day after this decision, the appellate court also remanded McDonald's appeal of the Electoral Board's decision to remove her from the ballot for alleged widespread alteration of petition sheets in her nomination papers. McDonald v. Cook County Electoral Board, 2018 IL App (1st) 180406.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


Lawsuit Challenging Recapture Ordinance Barred Because it Was Untimely

Property owners filed a lawsuit against a municipality challenging the legality of a recapture ordinance that imposed recapture fees on future subdivision of their property. The municipality filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the case was filed after the statute of limitations expired, so it was not timely and that the recapture ordinance was valid. 

The recapture ordinance was approved by the village board in 2011. Under the recapture ordinance, the village sought to recover its costs of putting in certain public improvements that benefited properties near these improvements. The trigger to pay the recapture was subdivision of the benefited properties.

Six years after the recapture ordinance was approved, plaintiffs filed a complaint against the village claiming that the recapture agreement was unenforceable because it was signed only by the village, plaintiffs had no notice of it, and because plaintiffs were the only property owners subject to the recapture payments. 

The village first argued that the five year statute of limitations had passed, so the suit should be dismissed. The court agreed, finding that the five year statute of limitations for actions to "recover damages" applied. The court determined that the approval of the ordinance was the trigger for the statute of limitations, and the time period for challenging the ordinance expired 5 years after the ordinance was passed.

Because the case was not filed within the 5 year statute of limitations, the court did not address plaintiffs' claims that the village did not have authority to adopt the ordinance. Mikenas v. Village of Westmont, 2018 IL App (2d) 170539-U.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


Upcoming Legal Program For Elected Officials

Elected officials may be interested in attending an upcoming training program offered by the College of DuPage titled "10 Best Legal Practices Every Elected Official Should Know!" Julie Tappendorf (blog author) will be the presenter.  Here is information about the program:

Topic:  10 best legal practices every elected official should know!

Date and Time:
Wed, April 11, 2018
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM CDT

College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd
Homeland Security Education Center Room 1022
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

5:30pm Registration and networking
6:00pm Presentation
7:00pm Q&A

Presenter: Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink