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Heyl Royster has a long history of representing governmental bodies both as general counsel and special counsel. Our clients include the entire spectrum of governmental entities and private entities doing business with local, state, and federal governments.
Our attorneys possess a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience while maintaining an appreciation for the public position held by our elected officials. We advise clients on litigation, risk management, land use and zoning, contracting and procurement, employment and labor law, corporate governance, sunshine law, development, and matters of public interest.
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Our Governmental and Government Contracts team has significant experience and involvement in professional associations, including the American Bar Association Board, the Illinois Township Attorneys' Association, and the National Contract Management Association.
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Murphy v. Springfield Park District, 2019 IL App (4th) 180662, 146 N.E.3d 143 – Held that when an injury occurs on recreational property owned by a public entity, Section 3-106 (requiring proof that the public entity engaged in willful and wanton conduct), and not Section 3-102 (requiring proof that the public entity had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition upon the property) of the Tort Immunity Act governs whether the public entity is liable. In this case, the park district had upright bollards blocking vehicles from accessing its bike path. Unbeknownst to the park district, someone had removed a bollard, thereby exposing its collared base, which stuck up 4 to 5 inches from the pavement in the middle of the bike path. The plaintiff, a bicyclist, collided with the exposed collar, lost control of his bicycle, and sustained serious personal injuries. There was no evidence that the park district had removed the bollard or was aware that the bollard had been removed, and nothing indicated that the bollard was exceptionally dangerous, either in place or on the rare occasions that it was missing, as no injury had ever occurred as a result of a bollard being down. Summary judgment in favor of the park district was affirmed since there was no evidence from which one could conclude that the park district had acted willfully and wantonly.
Lorenz v. McDonough County Sheriff's Department – Circuit Court, 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. The plaintiffs (a mother, daughter, and family friend) traveled 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. The speeds of both cars were over 100 mph as they entered the city limits of Macomb. Plaintiffs' vehicle, unaware of the pursuit even though 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 passenger's daughter, was seriously injured, as was the rear-seat passenger. The 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 defendants.
Baker v. Brown County Sheriff's Department, Circuit Court, Illinois – The plaintiff filed suit against the local sheriff's department in the case. Plaintiff's decedent (a 19-year-old girl home on a break from her first year at college) was killed after the vehicle she was traveling in struck a utility pole. Plaintiff's decedent was a passenger. A Brown Country Sheriff's Deputy was pursuing that vehicle. Plaintiff alleged the pursuit was unnecessary in that the original investigative stop was for misdemeanor damage to property and a stop sign violation. The pursuit lasted 20 minutes, went through four counties, and involved high speeds (100 mph). Plaintiff alleged willful and wanton conduct by the Brown County Sheriff's Department and its deputy, John Zimmerman. The plaintiff's counsel asked the jury to return a verdict in the $3-$5 million range. 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.), among 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 a temporary restraining order. The court later dismissed the entire cause of action brought by the 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, Circuit Court, Rock Island County, Illinois, Case No. 93 L 327 – Wrongful death case wherein it was claimed that emergency response personnel failed to respond to a 911 call which delayed proper treatment. The verdict was not guilty.
Cunningham v. Moody, Circuit Court, Henry County, Illinois, Case No. 99 L 25 – 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 in 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 whether 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 jaw fracture, soft tissue, 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, 774 N.E.2d 427 (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, 709 N.E.2d 1017 (3d Dist. 1997) – Nuisance case brought by township (our client) against local race track and the race track shut down. Affirmed on appeal.
Steelman v. City of Collinsville, 319 Ill. App. 3d 1131, 791 N.E.2d 746 (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.