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Monday, July 30, 2012

Nonbinding Opinion of PAC Was Subject to Administrative Review in Circuit Court

The PAC office of the Illinois Attorney General had taken the position that its nonbinding opinions and rulings on requests for review were not subject to administrative review by the circuit court.  That position was recently rejected by a Cook County Circuit Court in Garlick v. OPRF, et al. 11 CH 7587 (July 17, 2012). 

The case involved a request pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act for the attorney invoices of the school district.  Although the district provided the invoices to the requester, it redacted certain descriptive information under the attorney-client communication exemption.  After receiving the redacted invoices, the requester appealed to the PAC.  The PAC upheld the school's action in a "non-binding" opinion, and the requester subsequently filed a complaint in circuit court against the school district and the PAC. 

The PAC moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing, among other things, that a non-binding opinion is not reviewable in any court.  The trial court denied the PAC's motion to dismiss, in effect holding that a nonbinding opinion of the PAC is subject to administrative review.  The PAC was forced to defend its opinion on the merits and was unable to shift the burden of defending the case to the school district. 

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink.   


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