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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Federal Court Denies TRO to Village in Challenge Against Governor's COVID Orders

As we have reported in the past, there have been a number of lawsuits filed against the Illinois Governor challenging his authority to impose restrictions on various activities and businesses to address the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these lawsuits was one brought by the Village of Orland Park, an Orland Park business, and individuals in Village of Orland Park v. Pritzker seeking emergency injunctive relief to stop the Governor from enforcing various executive orders restricting activities and businesses. A federal district court judge recently issued a ruling in that case denying the Village and other plaintiffs injunctive relief and  in favor of the Governor and dismissed the case.

The lawsuit made a number of arguments against the Governor's actions relating to the pandemic, including that the Governor's orders violated due process rights and protections and exceeded the Governor's authority, among other claims. The Village also argued that it should be allowed to establish its own plan for reopening businesses and other activities in the Village which plan would allow local businesses and activities to reopen sooner than the Governor's executive orders would allow. 

The district court judge rejected the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief, finding that the plaintiffs did not have a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of their constitutional and statutory claims. The court rejected plaintiffs' argument that it had the right to a hearing before the Governor could impose the executive orders. The court also rejected plaintiffs claim that the orders affected their right to travel and association, finding that the orders affected access to businesses but not travel between places and that the restrictions were facially neutral and advanced a significant government interest in protecting the health of Illinois residents. The court also found that the Village's claims were barred by sovereign immunity, which protects the state from lawsuits from local governments. Finally, the court also found that the balance of harms weighed more heavily in favor of the Governor in protecting the health of Illinois residents from the COVID-19 pandemic, as compared to the minimal harm placed on the plaintiffs in complying with these orders.  

The plaintiffs have until August 28th to appeal the denial of their TRO and preliminary injunctive relief request to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.


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