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Zieler v. Village of Oak Lawn

OCTOBER 11, 1974.

JAMES S. ZIELER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE VILLAGE OF OAK LAWN ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS C. DONOVAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendants Village of Oak Lawn and Oak Lawn Police and Fire Commission appeal from that portion of a judgment ordering the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing them to permit plaintiff to take a police sergeants' qualifying examination. They contend that: (1) new parties and issues cannot be introduced 5 years after a final judgment has been rendered and satisfied, and (2) a police officer must meet the same standards to take promotional examinations as for original appointment.

Defendant Oak Lawn Police Pension Fund appeals from those portions of the same judgment which direct it to permit plaintiff to become a police-pension-fund member and to participate in pension-fund elections. It contends that: (1) the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, (2) the action was barred by laches, (3) barring plaintiff's participation in the fund was correct, and (4) prohibiting plaintiff's participation in pension fund elections was correct.

The following facts are pertinent to this appeal.

On November 30, 1966, plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of mandamus alleging that the Oak Lawn Police and Fire Commission had authorized his appointment as an Oak Lawn probationary police officer despite the fact that his left foot had been amputated below the ankle, but that the Village of Oak Lawn had refused to permit him to undertake his duties. The Police and Fire Commission and the Pension Board were not parties to this action.

On March 23, 1967, the court ordered that a writ of mandamus be issued against the Village of Oak Lawn, the village trustees, the village manager, the village clerk, the village finance director, and the chief of police commanding them to do the following:

"A. To forthwith place the name of the plaintiff herein, JAMES S. ZIELER, upon the official payroll of the Village of Oak Lawn as a probationary patrolman.

B. To immediately thereafter assign the plaintiff to such regular duties as are legally assigned to probationary police officers of the Village of Oak Lawn.

C. To permit the plaintiff to embark upon his duties as a probationary police officer of the Village of Oak Lawn without interference or prejudice on the part of all or any of the defendants named herein.

D. To pay to the plaintiff, JAMES S. ZIELER, the established salary, in such an amount and at such times as shall be fixed by ordinances of the Village of Oak Lawn in such cases made and provided."

This order conformed fully with plaintiff's prayers for relief.

No further action was taken in the case until March 29, 1972, when plaintiff filed a notice directed to the Village of Oak Lawn, its trustees, its chief of police, the Oak Lawn Fire and Police Commission and its commissioners, and the Oak Lawn Pension Fund and its trustees. The notice informed those parties of plaintiff's intent to file a petition for a rule to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the court's order of March 23, 1967. The petition was filed and a rule to show cause was entered.

Prior to any court hearing on the rule to show cause, the Oak Lawn Pension Fund and its trustees and the Oak Lawn Fire and Police Commission and its commissioners filed their special and limited appearances contesting the court's jurisdiction. On May 9, 1972, on plaintiff's motion and over defendants' objections, the court ordered that these defendants be joined in the case.

Plaintiff then filed a petition for writ of mandamus alleging: (1) that the Police and Fire Commission had improperly refused to permit plaintiff to take the sergeants' examination, and (2) that the Police Pension Fund had improperly refused to permit him to vote in the elections of or to be a candidate for trustee of the pension fund. ...


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