New Issue of Cases Pending Highlights Court's September 2015 Term

September 18, 2015 5:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

As a reminder, ALA members enjoy complimentary and exclusive access to Cases Pending, a publication that provides extensive information on cases currently pending before the Illinois Supreme Court. Edited by ALA Treasurer Clare Quish (pictured on left) and former ALA Director Gretchen Sperry (pictured on right), Cases Pending can be accessed at the Association’s website.

The Illinois Supreme Court’s September Term that began Monday, September 14, 2015, with oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 15-17, 2015, and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 22-24, 2015. A total of 22 cases will be heard – 9 civil and 13 criminal.

Here are the civil cases with the dates of oral argument:

Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Illinois Commerce Commission, No. 118129—September 17

The Board of Education of the City of Chicago v. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, Nos. 118043, 118072 (cons.)—September 22

The State of Illinois v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 118422—September 23

Petrovic v. The Department of Employment Security, No. 118562—September 23

Blumenthal v. Brewer, No. 118781 – September 23

Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. v. Heritage Bank of Central Illinois, No. 118955 – September 23

1010 Lake Shore Association v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., No. 118372—September 24

People of the State of Illinois ex rel. Patrick McGuire v. Cornelius, No. 118975—September 24

Bowman v. Ottney, No. 119000—September 24

To read previews for two of these cases, please continue reading this post. 

The Court will hear several cases of interest this term, including Blumenthal v. Brewer, which involves property rights for same-sex domestic partners, and a case addressing the State’s obligation to pay increased wages under a collective bargaining agreement although the legislature did not appropriate sufficient funds to do so. Below are abbreviated summaries for these two cases. Summaries for these cases and others listed above can be found in our Cases Pending publication, accessible to ALA members on our website. 


No. 118781 

Blumenthal v. Brewer

The issue in this case is whether the Appellate Court properly disregarded the 1979 Illinois Supreme Court case of Hewitt v. Hewitt, 77 Ill. 2d 49 (1979) and permitted claims for implied contract arising out of the parties’ non-marital cohabitation to proceed.

The parties in this case are two same-sex partners who were involved in a long-term relationship of 26 years. During that time, the parties raised several children together and “intentionally comingled and shared their assets based on a mutual commitment and expectation of a lifelong relationship.” Upon the dissolution of their relationship, the plaintiff sued to partition a home she jointly owned with the defendant. The defendant counterclaimed, alleging that she was entitled to a portion of the parties’ jointly acquired assets under theories of constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit. Relying on our Supreme Court’s decision in Hewitt, which prohibited such claims between unmarried cohabitants, the trial court dismissed the defendant’s counterclaims and she appealed.

The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, found that much of Hewitt’s underlying authority had been abandoned or superseded, noting that subsequent amendments to the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 (750 ILCS 45/3 (West 2012)), the Illinois Probate Act (755 ILCS 5/2-2 (West 2012)), and the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/1-104.2 (West 2012)) have extended certain rights to the children of unmarried parents, implicitly signaling a shift in Illinois public policy away from disfavoring such relationships. Accordingly, the First District reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the defendant’s counterclaims for equitable relief and remanded with instructions to consider the plaintiff’s remaining arguments regarding the sufficiency of those claims.

In her petition for leave to appeal, the plaintiff argues that the First District acted beyond its jurisdiction by refusing to follow Hewitt, and further reinstated the concept of common-law marriage by potentially affording rights previously only available to married parties (such as the right to an equitable division of property pursuant to section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/503 (West 2012)) to the litigants below.

Appellate Court Opinion: 2014 IL App (1st) 132250, 24 N.E.3d 168. McBride, J. with Gordon and Reyes, J.J., concurring. 

PLA Allowed: 03/25/15


No. 118422 

State of Illinois v. American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees, Council 31

The issue in this case is whether section 21 of the Public Relations Act (5 ILCS 315/21 (West 2012)) (the “Act”) requires the State to spend more than $52 million in public funds pursuant to an arbitration award without a legislative appropriation.

In 2008, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (“CMS”), on behalf of several state agencies, and the American Federal of State County & Municipal Employees, Council 31 (“AFSCME”), on behalf of employees at the state agencies, entered into a collective bargaining agreement that provided, among other things, for scheduled wage increases in each year of the agreement. After the State budget for fiscal 2012 did not include appropriations sufficient to cover the wage and salary amounts provided in the agreement, CMS suspended scheduled wage increases for that year. An arbitrator ruled that the State was obligated to pay the increases and the circuit court affirmed in part, but postponed full enforcement until the legislature appropriated additional funds. Both parties appealed. The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held that the Act required immediate payment regardless of whether the funds were appropriated.

The State argues that the Appellate Court disregarded the Appropriations Clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VIII, § 2(b)) by holding that a statutory contracting authority is not limited to the amount of actual legislative appropriations. It argues that this holding is in conflict with Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508 v. Burris, 118 Ill. 2d 465 (1987); People ex rel. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois v. Barrett, 382 Ill. 321 (1943); Cook County v. Ogilvie, 50 Ill. 2d 379 (1972); and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO v. Netsch, 216 Ill. App. 3d 566 (4th Dist. 1991) (per curiam).

Appellate Court Opinion: 2014 IL App (1st) 130262, 19 N.E.3d 1127. Neville, J., with Simon, P.J., and Pierce, J., concurring.

PLA Allowed: 03/25/15 

Appellant Counsel: Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of State of Illinois, Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General, Richard S. Huszagh, Assistant Attorney General, 100 West Randolph Street, 12th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60601, (312) 814-2587.

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