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Runyan v. Kelley

AUGUST 25, 1975.

DAVID G. RUNYAN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

KATHRYN R. KELLEY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. PHILIP F. LOCKE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DIXON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The county collector of Du Page County filed his application for judgment for sale of real estate for delinquent 1971 taxes and for judgment fixing the correct amount of any taxes paid under protest. David G. Runyan and certain other taxpayers filed objections to the application for judgment. Thereafter, the taxpayers were given leave to file an "amended complaint."

The amended complaint was filed in due time, the State's Attorney moved to dismiss and after a hearing the circuit court dismissed with prejudice. The taxpayers appeal.

The amended complaint sets forth the following basic facts:

In 1971 the township assessor of Wayne Township, Du Page County, raised all real estate valuations by about 10%. In the face of an enormous number of complaints about these assessments the Du Page County Board of Review at an official meeting applied a .9000 multiplier to the valuations. Notice of the Board's action was published April 20, 1972.

On May 31, 1972, at a secret meeting held at the behest of the assessor and the supervisor of assessments the board eliminated the reduction and restored the original assessments. No notices were given prior to this meeting and none thereafter. Further, although the term of the board chairman had not yet ended, a new chairman purported to preside.

Count I is a class action on behalf of all Wayne Township taxpayers who paid 1971 taxes and requests equitable relief. Count II is brought under the quo warrantor act and Count III is brought for double damages under the provisions of section 323 of the Revenue Act of 1939 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 120, par. 804).

• 1 There can be no question but that notice and hearing required by the statute are jurisdictional and a prerequisite to board action in establishing a "township multiplier." People ex rel. Miller v. Doe, 22 Ill.2d 211, 217.

COUNT I

In Clarendon Associates v. Korzen, 56 Ill.2d 101, the supreme court reexamined at length its prior decisions relating to the granting of relief by way of injunction or declaratory judgment in the case of allegedly excessive assessments and held that the remedy at law provided by way of paying the taxes under protest and filing objections to the application for judgment provides an adequate remedy.

Soon thereafter in La Salle National Bank v. County of Cook, 57 Ill.2d 318, the court again held the legal remedy by way of payment under protest followed by objections to the application for judgment provides an adequate remedy. In a more recent case, Hoyne Savings & Loan Association v. Hare, 60 Ill.2d 84, the court found the unusual circumstances of a grossly excessive assessment (from $9,510 to $246,810), plus other factors including an implied acknowledgement by the assessing officials that the assessment was grossly excessive, would warrant the case to fall within the exception to the general rule announced in Clarendon.

• 2 We believe that the taxpayers here have an adequate remedy at law (their objections to application for judgment filed on January 8, 1973, are still pending) and that the trial judge was correct in dismissing Count I of the "amended complaint."

COUNT II

• 3 Under the quo warrantor act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 112, par. 10,) the statute names the persons who may bring the action. Where individual rights are involved and an individual desires to file a complaint in quo warrantor on his own relation after the Attorney General or State's Attorney refuses his request to institute the proceedings, he must first obtain leave of court after giving notice to the attorney general and state's attorney. People v. Wood, 411 Ill. 514; 30 Ill. ...


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