Posts in Illinois Supreme Court.

On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed an appellate court’s ruling on an Illinois Pollution Control Board (“Board”) decision involving groundwater monitoring at clean construction or demolition debris fill sites, in The County of Will v. The Pollution Control Board, 2019 IL 122798, Case Nos. 122798, 122813. The case concerned the Board’s adoption of regulations governing the use of clean construction or demolition debris (“CCDD”) and uncontaminated soil (“US”) as fill material at CCDD fill operations.

CCDD is uncontaminated broken concrete ...


The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided Sienna Court Condominium Ass'n v. Champion Aluminum Corp., 2018 IL 122022 (December 28, 2018). The case raised a rather straightforward question: May the purchaser of a newly constructed home assert a claim for breach of an implied warranty of habitability against a subcontractor who had no contractual relationship with the purchaser? The Court held that the purchaser could not assert such a cause of action, regardless of the general contractor's insolvency or the unavailability of recourse against the general contractor. This ruling ...


Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the City of Danville, Illinois, was not entitled to immunity from a negligence lawsuit brought by a citizen who tripped and fell on a crack in a city sidewalk. The court essentially held that in order for a city or public entity to be immune under the discretionary immunity statute, it must specifically analyze the sidewalk at issue and decide that the crack at issue was not a big enough problem to warrant fixing.

Stepping on a crack in a sidewalk is a common occurrence and lawsuits to recover injuries that result from it are not rare. In Barbara ...


On January 19, 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in Bogenberger v. Pi Kappa Alpha Corp., et. al., 2018 IL 120951. The tragic case arose from the alcohol-related death of David Bogenberger, a Pi Kappa Alpha pledge at Northern Illinois University, who died from alcohol intoxication at a fraternity party in November 2012. The Bogenberger decision established, for the first time, a cause of action in negligence for victims of alcohol-related hazing. In so doing, the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity national organization. It also ...


Illinois hospitals and the lawyers that represent them breathed a collective sigh of relief recently after the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the First District’s decision in Yarbrough v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital. 2017 IL 121367. Under traditional laws of agency, a principal can be held liable for the negligent acts of its agent under the doctrine of respondeat superior. This is most commonly seen in the employer/employee context, in which the employer controls and supervises the work of its employees and can therefore be held liable for such work. However, in certain ...


It used to be in Illinois that an insurance broker could be sued for breach of fiduciary duty for just about any policy-related misdeed. See, e.g., Faulkner v. Gilmore, 251 Ill.App.3d 34 (3d Dist. 1993) (alleging breach of fiduciary duty for a broker’s failure to advise insureds to terminate their master surety agreement.) The fiduciary-duty claim did not need to involve the actual handling of client monies; the counts were essentially repackaged negligence or breach of contract allegations, labelled with a seemingly-heightened sense of breached duty.

But in 1997 the Illinois ...


Judicial estoppel, also known as estoppel by inconsistent positions of law, precludes a party from taking a position in a case that is contrary to a position it has taken in earlier legal proceedings. Often, it is asserted as an affirmative defense in a personal injury lawsuit where the plaintiff failed to disclose the existence of the personal injury lawsuit as an asset in a prior bankruptcy. A plaintiff’s failure to disclose a personal injury cause of action in the bankruptcy proceeding deprives the trustee, and by proxy, the plaintiff’s creditors, of an asset that the creditors ...


The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/1-101, et seq.—commonly known as the Tort Immunity Act—provides certain statutory immunities to local public entities. These protected entities include, but are not limited to, counties, townships, municipalities, school districts, park districts, and other local governmental bodies. See 745 ILCS 10/1-206. The Act sets forth those circumstances in which an entity is entitled to immunity, but many of the Act’s provisions expressly except immunity when an entity’s conduct is ...


The Illinois Supreme Court recently reiterated its position that common law retaliatory discharge claims should be treated the same as any other tort claim when it comes to the issue of causation. In Michael v. Precision Alliance Group, LLC, 2014 IL 117376, the state’s high court reaffirmed its prior rulings on the elements of retaliatory discharge, and again declined to apply the burden-shifting framework used for other employment cases to a claim of retaliatory discharge. The Court also drew an important distinction between proving a “causal nexus” for purposes of ...


Free Speech Trumps Conversational Privacy

In a recent pair of decisions, the Supreme Court of Illinois resolved the tension between freedom of speech and privacy in favor of freedom of speech. In People v. Clark, 2014 IL 115776 the Court held that Illinois’ eavesdropping statute was so overbroad it violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, thus finding the statute unconstitutional. And, in People v. Melongo, 2014 IL 114852, the Court held that the eavesdropping statute’s prohibition on publishing any information obtained through an “eavesdropping ...


** By HeplerBroom Summer Associate Tiffany B. Wong

A. Direct Participant Liability Negligence Theory in Illinois

In Illinois, it is a bedrock principle of limited liability deeply ingrained in our economic and legal systems that a parent company is not liable for the acts of its subsidiary.  Liability for negligence arises when one person breaches a duty of care owed to another.  To establish a cause of action for negligence under the law, a plaintiff must establish four “elements”: (1) a duty of care, (2) a breach of that duty, (3) an injury caused by the breach, and (4) resulting ...


The attorney-client privilege is one of the oldest recognized privileges protecting confidential communications between two parties.  While the privilege serves as the cornerstone of the attorney-client relationship, the privilege is waived when confidential communications are disclosed to third parties.  In fact, the “subject-matter waiver” doctrine holds that where a privileged communication concerning a particular subject is voluntarily disclosed to a third party, waiver of the attorney-client privilege extends to all other communications pertaining to the ...


Following the lead of multiple Illinois appellate districts, the Illinois Supreme Court recently recognized for the first time an actionable tort for “intrusion upon seclusion.”  Intrusion upon seclusion is one of four torts generally recognized under the umbrella of the "right to privacy" torts along with public disclosure of embarrassing private facts, publicity which places a person in a false light in the public eye, and appropriation of a person's name, likeness or identity for trade or advertising purposes without consent.

In Lawlor v. North American ...

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