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Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Monday, October 30, 2023

11th Annual Local Government Law Institute - December 1st

Shout out to local government lawyers who follow Municipal Minute, don't forget to register for the IICLE Local Government Law Institute. This year's seminar takes place on Friday, December 1, 2023, and provides attendees with the opportunity attend in-person attendance at the UBS Tower in Chicago or by webcast. 

Here's a sneak peak of the sessions at this year's seminar:

  • Caselaw & Legislative Update
  • The First Amendment & Government Social Media Activities
  • Civil Rights: Supreme Court Shockwaves - 6 Months Later
  • Avoiding the Quagmire of Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA: Municipal Best Practices
  • Lunch Panel: Advising Clients on Conflicts Issues
  • A Chat with the PAC
  • Representing Counties
  • Conflicts of Interest in Municipal Law (presented by the ARDC)

This seminar qualifies for 5.25 hours of general CLE, and 1 hour of Professional Responsibility CLE.

For more information, visit IICLE's website here.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Court Rejects Challenge to City's "Shared Housing" Ordinance

The City of Chicago allows the owner of a two to four unit residential building to rent out a unit as a short term rental provided the building is the owner's primary residence. An owner who does not primarily reside in the building can request an "adjustment" from the City if the owner can establish certain factors. An owner of multiple residential buildings who received an adjustment for one building but was denied other adjustments in another building sued the City on several grounds, including arguing that the City ordinance was unconstitutional. The case made its way to the Appellate Court which ruled in favor of the City in Henderson v. City of Chicago.

The Appellate Court first rejected the owner's argument that the Ordinance was unconstitutional because it it required owners to provide sensitive or personal financial information in order to demonstrate a financial burden, in violation of the privacy clause of the Illinois Constitution. Second, the Court held that the Ordinance did not constitute an unreasonable property seizure under the federal or state constitutions, finding that the stated purpose of the Ordinance (to limit the number of shared housing units to reduce the burden or nuisance on neighboring residents) was a rational means to achieve the City's purpose. Third, the Court rejected the owner's argument that the investigation by the City to discover noncompliant rental listings was a warrantless search in violation of the constitution, finding that the owner did not meet his burden of showing how an electronic search by City investigators violated his constitutional rights. The Court also upheld the City's imposition of fines in the amount of $5,000 for the owner's failure or refusal to remove unregistered rental listings.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

7th Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Challenge to Demolition of Nuisance Structure

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a civil rights lawsuit against a municipality over the demolition of a public nuisance property. Willow Way, LLC v. Village of Lyons

After a real estate investment firm bought a dilapidated house and failed to make repairs to the property, the municipality sought to tear down the house as a nuisance. The municipality provided notice of the demolition to the investment firm and, after demolishing the house, sold the property at an auction to satisfy the municipality's lien for demolition expenses. The real estate investment firm sued the municipality claiming the demolition of the home was a taking and a violation of its substantive due process rights. The firm also raised an inverse condemnation claim under Illinois law. The district court ruled in favor of the municipality finding its demolition of the house as a public nuisance was not a due process violation and did not require compensation.

On appeal, the Seventh Circuit agreed with the dismissal, rejecting the real estate investment firm’s claims. First, the Court held there was no due process violation as federal law only requires property owners be proved fair notice and opportunity for a hearing to determine if the structure is a public nuisance. Since the municipality had provided prior notice of the condemnation to the real estate investment firm, and the firm failed to challenge the condemnation at a hearing, the Seventh Circuit found no due process violation. Next, the Court dismissed the inverse condemnation claim on jurisdictional grounds finding that the municipality was not liable for fluctuations in the market price of real estate or a decline in home value when the property was unoccupied and condemned as a public nuisance.  

Post Authored by Tyler Smith & Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Quorum Forum Episode 76: Back to School at the APA-IL State Conference

Don't miss Quorum Forum's Episode 76: Back to School at the APA-IL State Conference where Ancel Glink attorneys engage conference attendees with recent land use and planning law cases and share their experiences attending and presenting at the conference.

Monday, October 23, 2023

7th Circuit Dismisses City's Lawsuit Against Internet Streaming Services

In a recent decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a municipality that had sued Netflix and other internet streaming services claiming the services were operating as unlicensed video service providers in violation of the Illinois Cable and Video Competition Law. City of East St. Louis v. Netflix.   

The city claimed the streaming services were "covered video service providers" operating without statewide authorization under the Illinois Cable and Video Competition Law (CVCL) and were required to pay a portion of their revenue to each municipality in Illinois. The city also raised common law trespass and municipal ordinance violation claims. The district court dismissed the city’s lawsuit, ruling the CVCL only allowed the state Attorney General to sue entities alleged to be operating without the required statewide authorization.

The city appealed, and the Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal, rejecting the city’s claims. First, the Court held that internet streaming services were exempt from the CVCL’s definition of video service, and that content streamed over the internet is not covered under the CVCL’s regulatory scheme. Second, the Court held that transmitting streaming content through wires that crossed city-owned land was not a trespass. Finally, the Court held that internet streaming services did not violate a city ordinance prohibiting the re-sale of cable television services as the streaming services provided different services than traditional cable television providers. 

Post Authored by Tyler Smith & Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Appellate Court Upholds Attorneys Fee Award in FOIA Challenge

After a City denied a FOIA request asking for traffic and environmental studies related to a development project, the requestor sued. Two weeks after the requester filed the lawsuit, the City provided the records to the requester. The circuit court held the case was "moot" since the City disclosed the responsive records. However, the court did award the requester attorneys fees, finding that the requestor had “prevailed” in his FOIA case because the City provided the records. On appeal, the City argued that requestor was not entitled to attorney fees and alternatively, that the fee award should be reduced. 

In Kieken v. City of Joliet, the Third District Appellate Court upheld the circuit court's award of attorneys fees. The Third District acknowledged that the Appellate Districts are divided on the issue of when a plaintiff has "prevailed" in a FOIA lawsuit to trigger FOIA’s attorneys' fee provision. The Third District noted that the Second District holds that a plaintiff is entitled to attorneys' fees under 11(i) only if there is a court order in the plaintiff's favor in the FOIA lawsuit. So, if requested records are voluntarily provided by the public body while the lawsuit is still pending, a plaintiff cannot have "prevailed" for purposes of an attorneys' fee award under FOIA. On the other side, the First, Fourth, and Fifth Districts all hold that the attorneys' fee provision in FOIA can be triggered even without a court order, meaning a plaintiff can "prevail" in their FOIA lawsuit even if the public body voluntarily provides the records while litigation is pending.

In this case, the Third District joined the First, Fourth, and Fifth Districts, holding that a court order is not required for a plaintiff to "prevail." The Third District adopted a test requiring a plaintiff to show that: (1) plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a public entity, (2) the entity produced the requested documents, (3) the lawsuit caused the documents’ production, and (4) the lawsuit was reasonably necessary to obtain those documents. In this case, the Third District held that the requestor’s lawsuit was reasonably necessary to obtain the requested documents, and the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorneys’ fees to the requestor.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Court Dismisses Tort Claims Relating to Hotel Redevelopment

An Appellate Court dismissed a lawsuit against a municipality relating to a hotel redevelopment project. Matthews v. City of Peoria.

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the city claiming the city interfered with a contractual relationship and a business expectancy relating to a proposed redevelopment of a hotel and adjacent properties. The complaint alleged that the city's requests for more information about the project and its alleged threats to discontinue public financing resulted in the loss of financing for the project and ultimately foreclosure and the bankruptcy of the hotel owners, resulting in plaintiffs losing their interest in the hotel project and opportunity for development fees. 

The city filed a motion to dismiss the two tort claims on the basis that the Tort Immunity Act applied and that the complaint failed to state a cause of action. The trial court dismissed the two counts, finding they were not timely filed within the one year statute of limitations under the Tort Immunity Act. Plaintiffs appealed, and the Appellate Court upheld the dismissal but on a different basis, finding that the complaint did not contain sufficient factual allegations to support these two claims. With respect to the tortious interference with contracts, the Appellate Court held that plaintiffs were not parties to the contracts they claimed the city breached. And as to the tortious interference with business relationships, the Court held that the complaint failed to include facts to support a reasonable expectancy of plaintiffs to enter into a business relationship.