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Mcguire v. Bd. of Regents of N. Ill. Univ.

OPINION FILED MAY 25, 1979.

J. POWERS MCGUIRE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE BOARD OF REGENTS OF NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. SIMON L. FRIEDMAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE TRAPP DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff appeals from the order of the trial court which dismissed with prejudice his complaint against the Board of Regents of Northern Illinois University. Plaintiff alleged a breach of an employment contract and prayed damages in excess of $1 million.

The action was initially filed in the circuit court of DeKalb County. Defendant filed a special and limited appearance and upon defendant's motion the action was transferred to Sangamon County where the defendant has its principal office. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 7(1).

On appeal plaintiff contends that the circuit court has jurisdiction in the matter of this action for breach of contract and that the complaint sufficiently states a cause of action. He also argues that the provision for venue in section 7(1) of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 7(1)) violates the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution.

Section 1 of "An Act in relation to immunity for the State of Illinois" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 127, par 801), effective January 1, 1972, provides:

"Except as provided in `An Act to create the Court of Claims, to prescribe its powers and duties, and to repeal An Act herein named', filed July 17, 1945, as amended, the State of Illinois shall not be made a defendant or party in any court."

Section 8 of "An Act to create the Court of Claims, to prescribe its powers and duties * * *" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 37, par. 439.8) provides:

"The court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine the following matters:

(b) All claims against the state founded upon any contract entered into with the State of Illinois.

In Scoa Industries, Inc. v. Howlett (1975), 33 Ill. App.3d 90, 337 N.E.2d 305, the court noted that the enactment of section 1 of the civil administrative act, effective January 1, 1972 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 127, par. 801), was a legislative restatement or reenactment of sovereign immunity. See also Williams v. Medical Center Com. (1975), 60 Ill.2d 389, 328 N.E.2d 1; Talandis Construction Corp. v. Illinois Building Authority (1978), 60 Ill. App.3d 715, 377 N.E.2d 237, appeal denied (1978), 71 Ill.2d 615.

Plaintiff argues that the circuit court had jurisdiction by reason of the provisions of section 7 of "An Act providing for the management, operation, control and maintenance of the Regency Universities System" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 144, par. 307), which provides:

"The Board is hereby constituted a body corporate and politic and shall have power:

a. to enter into contracts;

b. to sue and be sued, provided that any suit against the Board based upon a claim sounding in tort must be ...


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