The Illinois Supreme Court returns to session for the September Term, with oral arguments scheduled for September 12-14 and September 19-21. A total of 24 cases will be heard this Term: 13 criminal and 11 civil. The civil cases will be heard on the following dates:
September 19, 2023
128275 - Hart v. The Illinois State Police
128575 - Pinkston v. The City of Chicago
128602 - Alave v. The City of Chicago
September 20, 2023
128731 - Shawnee Community Unit School District No. 84 v. Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board
128841 - Muhammad v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc.
128867 - In re Estate of Mark A. Coffman
128935 - M.U. v. Team Illinois Hockey Club, Inc.
September 21, 2023
129031 - Direct Auto Ins. Co. v. Guiracocha
129081 - Mosby v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital
129087 - Acuity v. M/I Homes of Chicago, LLC
129097 - Doe v. Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, LLC
The Court will hear several cases of interest this term, including M.U. v. Team Illinois Hockey Club and Mosby v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital. Below are abbreviated summaries for these two cases. Full summaries for these cases, as well as criminal and disciplinary cases pending before the Court, can be accessed by ALA members on our website: www.applawyers.org/casespending.
M.U. v. Team Illinois Hockey Club raises the question of whether section 5 of the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) applies to a youth hockey club that is not itself a “place of public accommodation,” but rents time at an ice rink that is, such that the club’s exclusion of a team member for a mental health condition would violate the IHRA.
The minor plaintiff joined a girls’ hockey team operated by defendants Team Illinois Hockey Club and the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois. Defendants lease and operate a public ice rink which is generally open to the public and at which the team holds practices and games. In late 2019, defendants suspended plaintiff from participating in any team activities upon her disclosure of certain mental health conditions. Two weeks later, defendants lifted plaintiff’s suspension.
Plaintiff sued defendants, alleging they violated article 5 of the IHRA, which states “[i]t is a civil rights violation for any person on the basis of unlawful discrimination to *** [d]eny or refuse to another the full and equal enjoyment of the facilities, goods, and services of any public place of accommodation.” 775 ILCS 5/5-102(A). Defendants moved to dismiss her complaint, arguing that the team did not constitute a “place of public accommodation” under the IHRA, and the trial court agreed. The Second District Appellate Court reversed. It held that defendants, as entities, are not places of public accommodation, but the ice rink is, and defendants “may nevertheless be subject to civil rights laws if they exercise sufficient control over a place of public accommodation by, for example, leasing or operating the venue where its public sporting events are held.”
Defendants sought leave to appeal, primarily arguing that the Second District’s ruling subjects private organizations to liability under the IHRA simply by virtue of conducting private activities in public places (i.e. social clubs, political organizations, and church groups holding monthly meetings at a restaurant), without providing any parameters for how frequently or how pervasively a private organization must frequent a place of public accommodation before triggering liability under article 5 of the IHRA.
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Mosby v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital addresses whether healthcare workers who are required to scan their fingerprints to use medication dispensing systems have their biometric information collected without consent in violation of BIPA. The employers moved to dismiss lawsuits brought by these health care workers based on section 10 of BIPA, which provides that biometric information does not include “information captured from a patient in a health care setting or information collected, used, or stored for health care treatment, payment, or operations under” HIPAA. They argued that dispensing medication fell within the definitions of “treatment” and “operations” under HIPAA and the collection of fingerprints for this purpose was exempt under section 10.
The trial court denied the motions to dismiss, but certified a question under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308 regarding whether section 10’s exemption applied to the collection of healthcare workers’ fingerprints for healthcare treatment or operations. The appellate court answered the certified question in the negative. The court interpreted the exemption to apply only to patient information that is already protected by HIPAA. And because information collected from healthcare workers is not protected by HIPAA, the exemption was inapplicable. The appellate court modified the opinion on rehearing, noting that section 10 made no mention of employee information; it applied to information collected “under HIPAA,” not information collected for treatment and operations “as defined by HIPAA.” Justice Mikva dissented, observing that section 10 exempted two distinct types of information: (1) information captured from patients; and (2) any other information collected for healthcare treatment, payment, or operations as those terms are defined under HIPAA. Justice Mikva believed that the majority’s reading of section 10 disregarded the General Assembly’s use of the word “information” twice, which suggested that it intended to exempt two distinct categories of information.
In their petition for leave to appeal, the employers argued that Justice Mikva correctly interpreted section 10 and that the majority’s reading of that section conflicted with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidance directing healthcare facilities to use biometric scanners on medication dispensers. In their answer to the petition for leave to appeal, the employees argued that the employers’ reading of section 10 would amount to creating a BIPA exemption for the entire healthcare industry.