Heyl Royster has a long history of representing governmental bodies both as regular and special counsel. We recognize that this representation requires expertise in constitutional, statutory and regulatory law, but also common sense and an appreciation for the public position held by our client officials. We are proud of the long association we have had with many of our governmental clients.
Our work in this area has run the gamut from drafting ordinances and general operational issues to litigation over annexations and conflicts with employee unions. We have substantial experience with intergovernmental agreements, governmental liability and immunities, the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, prevailing wage requirements, problem officials, and budgets and levies. We have frequently dealt with public employment issues. Our clients include the state government, state universities, counties, cities, villages, townships, road districts, fire districts, and park districts. We have likewise represented private entities dealing with public bodies.
Our practice group conducts quarterly seminars for governmental officials and publishes a quarterly newsletter on governmental issues. We regularly publish articles to assist fellow lawyer and governmental clients.
Three of our attorneys have served as president of the Illinois Township Attorneys' Association. Practice group members have won numerous awards for their work in this field.
Bloomingdale Township Road District (DuPage County)
Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority
Champaign Police Pension Fund
Cincinnati Township and Road District (Tazewell County)
City of Bloomington Township
Cruger Township (Woodford County)
Dwight Township (Livingston County)
Fondulac Township (Tazewell County)
General Assistance Training Institute (GATI)
Groveland Township and Road District (Tazewell County)
Limestone Township (Peoria County)
Limestone Township Fire Protection District
Medina Township and Road District (Peoria County)
Normal Township (McLean County)
Northville Township and Road District (LaSalle County)
Ohio Grove Road District (Mercer County)
Pawnee Township Road District (Sangamon County)
Peoria County Sheriff's Merit Commission
Regional Transportation Authority – Chicago (RTA)
Richwoods Township (Peoria Township)
Township Officials of Illinois Risk Management Association (TOIRMA)
Village of Kingston Mines
- Lorenz v. McDonough County Sheriff’s Department Obtained a defense verdict in Macomb, McDonough
County, Illinois. Plaintiffs brought suit against a Sheriff's Deputy and the
Sheriff's Department alleging willful and wanton conduct and negligence in the
wake of an accident occurring during a high speed pursuit. Plaintiffs (a
mother, daughter and family friend) were traveling to Macomb, Illinois to visit
a family friend. The Sheriff's deputy was in the process of pursuing a vehicle
that had sped off after a traffic stop. Speeds of both cars were over 100 mph
as they entered the city limits of Macomb. Plaintiffs' vehicle, unaware of the
pursuit despite the fact that the Deputy had lights and sirens activated,
turned in front of the Deputy's vehicle. The passenger, a married mother of
three, was killed. The driver, the daughter of the passenger, was seriously
injured, as was the rear-seat passenger. Plaintiffs asked the jury for
$5,800,000 in addition to an unspecified award for punitive damages. After
three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the
- Baker v. Brown County Sheriff's Department In the case, the Plaintiff filed
suit against the local sheriff’s department. Plaintiff’s decedent (a 19
y/o girl home on a break from her freshman year at college) was killed after
the vehicle she was traveling in struck a utility pole. Plaintiff’s
decedent was a passenger. That vehicle was being pursued by a Brown
Country Sheriff’s Deputy. Plaintiff alleged the pursuit was unnecessary
in that the original investigative stop was for a misdemeanor damage to
property and a stop sign violation. The pursuit lasted 20 minutes, went
through four different counties and involved high speeds (100 mph). The
Plaintiff alleged willful and wanton conduct on the part of the Brown County
Sheriff’s Department and its deputy, John Zimmerman. Plaintiff’s counsel
asked the jury to return a verdict in the range of $3-$5 million. The
jury returned a defense verdict after 25 minutes of deliberation.
- Ridenour v. Kaiser-Hill Co. 397 F.3d 925 (10th Cir. 2005)
Successful defense of government contractor in False Claims Act appeal averting revelation of classified information and adopting the Sequoia standard of review.
- A.F.S.C.M.E. v. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich - Illinois Governor made the executive decision to close the Pontiac Prison – part of the Illinois Department of Corrections system. In response, The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (A.F.S.C.M.E.) and others filed suit against the Governor and other defendants claiming the Governor did not have the right to take that action and sought a writ of mandamus Order commanding the Governor to reverse his decision and to continue operating the prison. A.F.S.C.M.E. also sought a temporary restraining Order (T.R.O.) preventing the Governor or the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections from taking any action consistent with closing the prison until the court ruled on the plaintiff's request for the writ. We responded to the plaintiff's T.R.O. asking the court to deny the issuance of the T.R.O. and filed a Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff's Complaint for Writ of Mandamus. The court denied the request for the temporary restraining order. The court later dismissed the entire cause of action brought by plaintiffs.
- Peters v. Village of Clifton 498 F.3d 727 (7th Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 128 S. Ct. 1472 (2008) Plaintiff sued a municipality, alleging a takings claim. The federal complaint was dismissed on grounds that the district court had no subject matter jurisdiction over the takings claim. The case was appealed to, and affirmed by, the Seventh Circuit. The plaintiff filed a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and that petition was denied.
- Doe v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois: A former student sued the University after he was dismissed from the medical school program. The fifteen count federal complaint asserted damages in excess of $100 million. Several counts were dismissed at the pleading stage and the entire lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice before discovery closed.
- Joanne Meyer, as Executor of the Estate of Jack Meyer v. Coal Valley Fire Protection 93 L 327 (Rock Island County) Wrongful death case wherein it was claimed that emergency response personnel failed to properly respond to a 911 call which delayed treatment. The verdict was not guilty.
- Cunningham v. Moody 99 L 25 (Henry County) 2002
The plaintiff claimed the defendant, a police officer, utilized excessive force when arresting and physically subduing the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed he brandished a baseball bat to defend himself from an imminent assault by three individuals who were part of a volatile crowd. The plaintiff claimed he heard someone from behind order him to drop the bat and that he was immediately maced and struck in the face before he had a reasonable opportunity to determine a police officer was the individual giving him the command. The defendant claimed he gave the plaintiff several warnings before utilizing physical force. The plaintiff sustained a small fracture of the jaw, soft tissue damage, and permanent nerve damage. The plaintiff asked the jury for $116,000. The verdict was not guilty.
- City of Springfield v. Hashman 332 Ill. App. 3d 748 (4th Dist. 2002) Application of various provisions of the Illinois Municipal Code and city ordinances governing the ability of a municipality such as the City of Springfield to prevent pollution of its public water supply (Lake Springfield), and even if that entails going beyond its corporate limit to do so.
- Baker v. West Peoria Township 286 Ill. App. 3d 1137 (3d Dist. 1997) Nuisance case brought by township (our client) against local race track; race track shut down; affirmed on appeal.
- Steelman v. City of Collinsville 319 Ill. App. 3d 1131 (5th Dist. 2001) The IRS's seizure of funds being held by a municipal police department did not constitute a conversion of those funds by the department.
- "Freedom of Information Act," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
- "Proposed Law Would Not Allow Counties to Set Standards for Wind-Farms," Heyl Royster Governmental Practice Client Alert (2014) - Read Article
- "Municipal Bankruptcy - Can an Illinois Municipality File for Bankruptcy Protection?," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2014) - Read Article
- "Cyber Liability for Park Districts," Illinois Parks Association Risk Services Newsletter (2016) - Download Article
- “Public Bodies Prohibited from Requiring Community Members to Disclose Address Before Public Comment,” Illinois County Magazine (2015) - Read Article
- "Ethical Issues for Government Attorneys," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2014) - Read Article
- "FOIA Update: When Texts and Emails on Your Cell Phone or Tablet Become Public Records," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2014) - Read Article
- "Cemetery Maintenance Districts," chapter in Special Districts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2009, 2014) - Download Article
- "Amendment to Prevailing Wage Act Provides Relief to Government Bodies with Respect to Notification Requirements," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2013)
- "New Statute Requires Governmental Bodies to Publicly Disclose Terms of Economic Development/Rebate Agreements," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2013)
- “New Laws for the New Year," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2013) - Download Article
- "Introduction to the Open Meetings Act," chapter in Illinois' Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011, 2013) - Download Article
- "Survey of Local Government Law Cases," Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel's 2013 Survey of Law (2014) - Download Article
- "The Cemetery Oversight Act: What You Need to Know at the Local Level," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2013) - Download Article
- "The Effect of The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act on Municipalities" (2013) - Download Article
- "Recent Statutory Changes of Note," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2012)
- "Religious Symbols in Cemeteries: When Cemetery Decorations Cross the Line of Constitutional Violations," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2012) - Download Article
- "Snow Removal, Tort Immunity, and the ADA," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2012) - Download Article
- "Can Public Bodies Claim Records Are 'Outside the Scope' of a FOIA Request?" – Local Government Law, ISBA Section on Local Government Law Newsletter (2012)
- "Frequently Asked Election Questions," with Jeffrey R. Jurgens, Township Officials of Illinois Perspective Magazine (2012)
- "Public Unions and the Collective Bargaining Process," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
- "Is Information On Privately-Owned Electronic Devices Subject To FOIA?—What Public Access Binding Opinion No. 11-006 Means To You And Your Government Clients," Local Government Law, ISBA Section on Local Government Law Newsletter (2011)
- "The Execution of Humberto Leal Garcia; Garcia v. Texas (July 7, 2011)," ILSA Quarterly Magazine (2011)
- "Public (and Private) Projects Influenced by the Prevailing Wage Act," Heyl Royster Business & Commercial Litigation Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
- "Sensible Modifications to the Prevailing Wage Act," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011)
- "Employee Manuals: Managing Expectations/Complying with the Law," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
- "Equipment of a Public Entity or Private Company on Your Right-of-Way – Is the Road District's Prior Consent Required?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "A New Court Opinion on the Open Meetings Act: Is Your Notice, Agenda, and Meeting Site Good Enough for a Special Meeting?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "The Freedom of Information Act: Change is Here," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Illinois Tort Immunity Act Part 2," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Approval of Plats v. Acceptance of Roadways," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Local Government Prompt Payment Act," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Second District Appellate Court Addresses Conflicting Statutory Powers of Township Board and Electors," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "New Laws Allow 80,000 Pound Legal Loads and More Width on Roadways," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Articles
- "The Tort Immunity Act," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Legislative Update," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Good Samaritans in California May Think Twice Before Rendering Aid to the Injured: Could the Same Happen in Illinois?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Repairing and Restoring Private Cemeteries," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2008) - Download Article
- "DeSpain v. City of Collinsville and the Freedom of Information Act: What Do We Do When a Citizen Requests Our Meeting Audiotapes?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2008) - Download Article
- "An Introduction to the Prevailing Wage Act for Township Officials," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2008) - Download Article
- "Criminal Discovery and the Costs of Reproduction: A Burden Taxpayers Should Not Have to Bear," Northern Illinois University Law Review (2006)
- "The Dynamics of State and Local Protest Litigation," Contract Mgmt (2006)
- "The Consequences of Mutually Mistaken Facts in Contracting," Contract Mgmt (2005)
- "10 Principles for Receiving High-Quality Legal Services," Contract Mgmt (2005)
- "The Use and Misuse of Contingent Fees in Government Contracting," Contract Mgmt (2003)
- "The Federal Mentor-Protege Program," Contract Mgmt (2003)