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Municipal Law

Our attorneys serve as corporate counsel to state and local government entities, assisting with matters ranging from taxation to FOIA compliance. We strive to meet municipalities’ legal needs while helping them achieve policy goals and objectives. We also defend municipalities in employment claims and municipal tort claims.

At Quinn Johnston, we understand that municipal law matters can differ greatly from other areas of law. Representatives of local entities often need corporate counsel to assist with municipal transactions or tort liability issues. We have a team of lawyers with extensive area knowledge and the ability to comprehensively address all matters.

Municipal Law

Quinn Johnston’s attorneys serve as corporate counsel to state and local government entities. We strive to meet municipalities’ legal needs while looking for ways to help them achieve their policy goals and objectives.  We understand that government bodies must keep their legal costs down so that they can allocate more of taxpayers’ money to services that help their citizens and improve their communities.

We assist in a variety of municipal transactions, including:

Looking Out for Municipalities’ Interests

We work to prevent the need for costly litigation by anticipating client concerns, addressing important matters, and providing mediation and arbitration services for clients on all levels of the state and federal court system. We work efficiently and effectively with our clients to resolve matters.

On March 4, 2010, our attorney Peter Jennetten appeared at a legislative hearing in Springfield to support HB6178. The bill would reinstate a law providing that arresting municipalities are not responsible for an arrestee’s medical bills if treatment is due to a self-inflicted injury or pre-existing condition. A similar exception was in place several years ago but removed by a subsequent amendment, probably inadvertently. After the issue came up in one of his cases, Peter spoke with the Illinois Municipal League (IML) and recommended that they seek an amendment to the statute. IML included it in their legislative agenda, and Peter assisted IML’s Matt Davidson in his efforts to lobby for the amendment.

Our attorneys regularly give lectures to municipal organizations and clients on municipal law topics.  The best way for municipal employees to comply with laws and to avoid future losses from claims is to be well-informed about municipalities’ duties to citizens and immunities from litigation.  If you are interested in having one of our attorneys speak to your employees or conference attendees, please contact Peter Jennetten at pjennetten@quinnjohnston.com.

Municipal Employment Claims

Quinn Johnston represents municipalities and other employers in various employment claims under Section 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and Title VII (discrimination).  We also assist municipalities with retaliation and whistleblower claims, including the defense of municipal employee free speech claims and issues raised by Garcetti v. Ceballos.  For more information, visit our Civil Rights Litigation page.

Quinn Johnston also routinely represents municipalities in arbitrating grievances filed under collective bargaining agreements, and in negotiating with unions representing municipal employees to resolve these types of disputes prior to arbitration.

Municipal Tort Liability

Whether the matter is related to negligence, willful misconduct, or personal injury claims, we at Quinn Johnston have broad experience representing different municipal entities, including counties, cities, townships, park districts, and school districts. We have experience in defending municipal liability cases and a strong knowledge of defenses available under the Tort Immunity Act, including qualified immunity and absolute immunity.

As strong personal injury defense lawyers, we have the edge, experience, and knowledge needed to achieve positive outcomes for our municipal clients.  We understand that jurors commonly feel sympathy for injured plaintiffs, and we know how to counter those biases with strong defenses based on facts.  We work with our clients to obtain positive results efficiently and cost-effectively.  Many of our municipal clients also come to us when dealing with civil rights claims and discrimination claims.

Representative Cases

Municipality Granted Absolute Immunity in Wrongful Death Case:  Plaintiff brought a suit against our client, a local municipality, claiming the city’s police department had failed to respond to a caller’s report of a vehicular accident.  The circuit court dismissed the complaint with prejudice.  The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal, holding that the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act granted absolute immunity to public entities and employees for failing to provide adequate police protection service.

Summary Judgment for Village following Accident in Park:   Our client’s village park contained a sledding hill that abutted a baseball field, and the village was sued following a sledding accident.  The court found that the village’s removal of portions of the outfield fence, though not the part the plaintiff struck, was not willful and wanton and that the village was therefore entitled to immunity. The appellate court affirmed the judgment.

Judgment in Favor of Municipality Affirming Dismissal of a Police Officer:  After our municipal client’s police commission terminated a probationary police officer near the end of her probationary period, the former officer filed suit challenging her dismissal and seeking reinstatement on the grounds she had completed her probationary period.  The trial court found that the officer had not successfully completed her probationary period and upheld the decision of the police commission to terminate the officer.   The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

About Quinn Johnston

Quinn Johnston was featured by Fortune Legal Marketplace as a 2013 Top Ranked Law Firm based on Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent ratings for ethical standards and legal ability. Several of our attorneys have also been named as Leading Lawyers by their peers in the Leading Lawyers Network.  We represent clients throughout Central Illinois, including in Peoria County, Sangamon County, McLean County, Champaign County, Rock Island County and their surrounding areas.  Our experienced litigators strongly defend clients while maintaining a high level of professionalism and ethical standards.