Querrey & Harrow Scores Three Big Victories For Taxpayers

Attorneys: Burke, Thomas P.    Guolee, Terrence F.    Lemley, Brandon K.    Rettberg, Paul A.

Related Practices: Defense of Civil Rights Claims   Litigation   Municipal


September 2008

First, Federal District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly recently granted our client, the Village of Lisle’s, motion for summary judgment in a class action lawsuit brought by homeowners in a subdivision of Lisle for alleged 1983 Equal Protection discrimination case where the disputed claim was made that Lisle had discriminated against the class by failing to provide water at sufficient pressure and volume to adequately fight fires in the subdivision.

Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief which would have compelled Lisle to extend its water mains at a cost of about $5,000,000, despite residents previously voted to reject similar proposals. Plaintiffs also claimed that as a result of the alleged discrimination that the they were required to pay water rates to a private utility which charged 300% more for its water than the Village. The compensatory damages alleged amounted to between $3-$7 million. In granting summary judgment, the Court held that Plaintiffs failed to prove that Lisle lacked a rational basis for not undertaking a multimillion dollar capital improvement program to extend its water mains throughout the subdivision.

Q& H attorneys Paul Rettberg and Brandon Lemley lead the defense of the case and were assisted by Stacey Atkins and Jason Callicoat.

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Chicago shareholder Tom Burke recently scored a trial victory for The City of Highland Park. Highland Park was sued by a developer of a six unit moderate income housing development in Lake County. Plaintiff received a planned use development ordinance with code exceptions for lot size, setbacks and open space, which also included a copy of his drainage and grading plan which partially depicted a sanitary sewer system that was not in compliance with village code. The non-complying nature of the sanitary sewer system was not discovered until construction was underway and the plaintiff was compelled to change the system. Plaintiff sued, claiming that his civil rights were violated because he had a right to build the system granted by the PUD, and the subsequent permit.

Following a four-day bench trial the court found for Highland Park, finding that the planned use development ordinance only granted those specific exceptions provided for in the PUD grant and, as the plans did not depict the sanitary sewer system in its entirety and only barely depicted the non-complying proportion, there was no claim. The court also rejected the plaintiff's damage claims, finding the plaintiff's testimony that a 12 hour delay in construction resulted in $150,000 in damages was not credible.

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Finally, in another matter first reported on in our July Newsletter, Q&H attorney Terrence Guolee obtained a summary judgment order in the Northern District of Illinois Federal Court dismissing all claims filed against the Will County Sheriff’s Office and certain of its employees in a case where plaintiff, a Will County Sheriff's Deputy, claimed he was demoted due to his age. In following proceedings, Terrence and Matt obtained an order from Judge James Zagel awarding Will County about $16,000 in fees and costs connected to the required summary judgment motion as a sanction against the plaintiff.

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