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Deizman v. Bd. of Educ.





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL A. COVELLI, Judge, presiding.


Plaintiff, Tom Deizman, a teacher, was denied sick leave benefits which he claimed he was entitled to under the collective bargaining agreement executed by the defendant, Board of Education (Board), and the Morton Council Teachers Union (Union). Following denial of his grievance, plaintiff filed suit for specific performance, and other relief, in the circuit court of Cook County. Plaintiff and defendant both moved for summary judgment. On January 20, 1976, the court granted defendant's motion, denied plaintiff's motion, and dismissed the suit. On February 3, 1976, plaintiff's motion to reconsider was denied. Plaintiff appeals from these orders. The sole question on review is whether the trial court properly entered summary judgment in favor of defendant. We affirm. The pertinent facts follow.

On June 16, 1974, plaintiff, a high school wrestling coach, shot to death a 16-year-old student of his wrestling team. He was arrested and placed in Cook County jail, and was subsequently transferred to Cermak Memorial Hospital, an adjunct of the jail. On July 21, 1975, plaintiff was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to a term of 5 to 20 years, which conviction was affirmed by this court. People v. Deizman (1976), 44 Ill. App.3d 829, 358 N.E.2d 1208.

During plaintiff's period of incarceration prior to trial, Gloria Deizman, plaintiff's wife, requested in his behalf that plaintiff be placed on sick leave. Said request was supported by medical documentation of plaintiff's illness. The Board acted on the request on September 9 by placing plaintiff on a leave of absence at no cost to the Board pending outcome of the criminal charges against him.

Pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement a grievance was then filed, which included the following letter from Dr. Jan Fawcett, dated September 25, 1974:

"This is to state that Thomas J. Deizman was examined by me shortly after his admission to Cermak Memorial Hospital. On the basis of his medical history and my examination, I can certify that this patient has been suffering from severe Alcoholism. This illness would have required treatment and hospital care whether or not he was incarcerated in the Cermak Memorial Hospital. He will require hospital care for this condition for an indefinite period of time, irrespective of the outcome of any charges lodged against him. In no way should his criminal charges detract from the fact that he suffers from a bonafide medical illness."

The grievance was denied by the school superintendent on October 4.

An evidentiary hearing was then requested by the Union, and on October 21 the Board held a hearing, at which further documentation concerning plaintiff's illness while incarcerated at Cermak was submitted. On October 24 the Board reaffirmed the superintendent's denial of the grievance. The Union requested binding arbitration which the Board refused, as was its right under the collective bargaining agreement. This action followed.


Section 57(3) of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 57(3)) provides that summary judgment is appropriate

"* * * if the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment or decree as a matter of law."

Thus, summary judgment is proper when the issue is determinable solely as a question of law. Sidwell v. Sidwell (1975), 28 Ill. App.3d 580, 328 N.E.2d 595; Applicolor, Inc. v. Surface Combustion Corp. (1966), 77 Ill. App.2d 260, 222 N.E.2d 168.

• 1 In the instant case the facts are not in dispute. Disposition of the case revolves around construction of the statutory and collective bargaining agreement provisions governing sick leave benefits for teachers. Thus, this case is a proper one for determination upon summary judgment.

Plaintiff's complaint for specific performance alleges that he is entitled to sick leave under article VI, section 1 of the collective bargaining agreement, ...

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