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Mclorn v. City of East St. Louis

OPINION FILED MARCH 30, 1982.

ARTHUR MCLORN, JR., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE CITY OF EAST ST. LOUIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. — (FIRST ILLINOIS BANK, EAST ST. LOUIS, GARNISHEE-INTERVENOR.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. WILLIAM B. STARNES, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE HARRISON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant-Appellant, the City of East St. Louis (the City), appeals from a final order and judgment of the circuit court of St. Clair County which denied the City's motion to quash a garnishment summons. The City raises one issue on this appeal, that is whether its Ordinance No. 80-10043, which prohibits nonwage garnishment of City funds on deposit at institutions within the City, is valid. The City urges resolution of this issue in its favor on the ground that, as a home rule unit, the City is entitled to prohibit the garnishment of City funds located within the City because that is a subject pertaining to the City's government and affairs under article VII, section (6) of the Illinois constitution. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, § (6).) Appellee, Arthur McLorn, raises two arguments to rebut the City's contention. First, McLorn asserts that the ordinance in question is an invalid legislation of sovereign immunity. Second, McLorn contends that the ordinance is an improper exercise of powers not accorded home rule units by the constitution. We affirm.

In 1979 a final order of the Industrial Commission awarded Arthur McLorn a workers' compensation award of $11,012.80 against the City. The City failed to pay the amount of the award, and on August 24, 1979, McLorn filed an application with the circuit court of St. Clair County for entry of judgment on the award. On September 20, 1980, judgment was entered. On May 22, 1980, the City adopted the following ordinance:

"HOME RULE ORDINANCE TO GRANT IMMUNITY TO THE PROPERTY AND ASSETS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL UNITS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS FROM SUPPLEMENTARY PROCEEDINGS INSTITUTED BY JUDGMENT CREDITORS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS

WHEREAS, the City of East St. Louis is a `Home Rule Municipality' under the provisions of Article VII, Section 6-a, etc., of the Illinois State Constitution and was adopted in 1970; and

WHEREAS, the legislature of the State of Illinois has not enacted any statutes dealing with or granting sovereign immunity as to supplementary proceedings relating to local units of government, including municipalities, school districts, park districts, etc., as was reserved to said legislature in Article XIII, Section 4 of the Illinois State Constitution; and

WHEREAS, it would be within the purview of the City of East St. Louis to enact legislation dealing with the issue of immunity of local governmental units and school districts from supplementary proceedings initiated by judgment creditors and their successors as such proceedings would occur and/or effect [sic] such local governmental units and school districts situated within the geographical boundaries and municipal corporate limits of the City of East St. Louis; and

WHEREAS, it would be in the best interest of the City and its citizens and the local governmental units, including school districts, park districts, sewer districts and health districts, to be granted immunity by such actions of judgment creditors as it relates to the property of such entities situated within the geographical boundaries of the City of East St. Louis.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE MAYOR AND THE ALDERMANIC COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EAST ST. LOUIS, as follows:

I. All property or assets of local governmental units, including municipalities, school districts, park districts and sewer districts, shall be immune and shall not be subject to garnishment actions by judgment creditors where said property or asset is held or disposited [sic] with any third party, or situated within the geographical boundaries and city limits of the City of East St. Louis.

II. Any institution, firm, trust, person or corporate entity situated within the city limits of the City of East St. Louis, upon which a judgment creditor issues a garnishee summons on any property or any local governmental unit, shall be empowered to affirmatively plead the immunity granted in the preceding paragraph 1.

III. Any local governmental unit, upon whose property has been subject to a garnishee summons with any third party institution referred to in Sections 1 and/or 2 of this Ordinance, shall have the right to intercede as a party of interest to any such garnishment proceedings and to affirmatively plead the immunity granted in Section 1 of this Ordinance.

IV. Garnishment process, as defined and intended within the provisions of this Ordinance, shall not include wage deduction summons upon local governmental units situated within the geographical limits of the City of East St. Louis."

The City is a home rule unit. On May 27, 1980, McLorn filed an affidavit for garnishment (nonwage) based on his belief that the First Illinois Bank, East St.Louis (the Bank), had City funds in its possession. The City was granted leave to intervene and filed a motion to quash the garnishment summons on the ground that "a certain Ordinance #80-10043, * * * grant[s] imnuity [sic] to the property and assets of the City from all actions or proceedings instituted by judgment creditors including the act of non-wage garnishment." On September 18, 1980, the circuit court denied the motion to quash and the City filed a motion asking the court to reconsider this decision. This motion was denied on November 3, 1980. The circuit court entered judgment in favor of McLorn and against the ...


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