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Dixon Ass'n For Retarded Citizens v. Thompson

OPINION FILED AUGUST 20, 1982.

DIXON ASSOCIATION FOR RETARDED CITIZENS ET AL., APPELLEES,

v.

JAMES R. THOMPSON, GOVERNOR, ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Marjan P. Staniec, Judge, presiding.

CHIEF JUSTICE RYAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs, the Dixon Association for Retarded Citizens, whose members consist of parents and guardians of residents at the Dixon Developmental Center, and two individual residents at that institution, by their guardians, commenced this action by filing a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the defendants, James R. Thompson, the Governor of the State of Illinois, and Ivan Pavkovic, the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (hereinafter referred to as Department). Thereafter, the office of State Guardian of the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission intervened as party plaintiff on behalf of 224 Dixon residents. The complaint sought to enjoin the defendants from implementing their announced intention to close the Dixon Developmental Center (hereinafter referred to as Dixon). Following some preliminary matters not germane to this case, the circuit court of Cook County conducted an extensive hearing and issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the defendants from implementing their plan for the closure of Dixon, including any transfer of the residents or layoffs or transfers of personnel until further order of the court. The circuit court found that the proposed transfers may be in violation of the statutory rights of the plaintiff class to adequate and humane care and services under section 2-102(a) of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 2-102(a)) and the transfer procedures set forth in section 4-707 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-707). The defendants filed a notice of interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 307(a)(1) (73 Ill.2d R. 307(a)(1)), and we granted their motion to transfer the appeal to this court pursuant to Rule 302(b) (73 Ill.2d R. 302(b)). In order to accommodate the litigants, the court set an expedited briefing schedule and had a special setting of the case for oral argument. Thereafter, on June 29, 1982, we entered our order reversing the trial court and stated that a written opinion would follow. In this opinion we set forth the reasons for our decision.

Plaintiffs commenced this action on November 24, 1981, by filing their initial complaint for relief against the defendants, alleging in substance that the defendants proposed to close the Dixon facility and to transfer its predominantly severely and profoundly retarded residents in violation of certain provisions of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, including sections 2-102(a) and 4-707 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 2-102(a), 4-707). The complaint also alleged that the proposed closure and transfer of residents would be in violation of the residents' constitutional due process rights. The complaint was amended to allege violation of the residents' eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The trial court's ruling was based solely on the statutory provisions. We need not address alleged violations of the residents' constitutional rights, other than to say that the statutory rights granted under the Code are more expansive than and include the constitutional rights of the Dixon residents. See Youngberg v. Romeo (1982), 457 U.S. 307, 73 L.Ed.2d 28, 102 S.Ct. 2452; Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 2-100.

On February 23, 1982, pursuant to plaintiffs' motion, the court entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting the defendants from implementing their decision to close Dixon. The temporary restraining order is not before this court but was appealed to the appellate court.

On April 19, 1982, the trial court certified this cause as a class action and designated the named plaintiffs as representative members of that class. On April 19, 1982, the court also commenced an evidentiary hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The hearing concluded on May 10, 1982.

On June 3, 1982, the circuit court entered a preliminary injunction in the form of a memorandum opinion and order. The injunction enjoined and restrained defendants from any further implementation of their announced closure of Dixon. The effect of the injunction was to prevent the closing of Dixon, including the transfer of residents and the layoff or transfer of Dixon employees, because the judge believed that to do so might violate the residents' right to "adequate and humane care and services" guaranteed by section 2-102(a) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 2-102(a)) and the transfer standards in section 4-707 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-707). As noted above, the defendants appealed from this interlocutory order pursuant to Rule 307(a)(1) (73 Ill.2d R. 307(a)(1)), and we granted the motion to transfer the appeal directly to this court pursuant to Rule 302(b) (73 Ill.2d R. 302(b)).

The plaintiffs and intervenors seek to limit the role of this court on review to the traditional role of a reviewing court considering an appeal from an order granting a preliminary injunction. Thus, it is argued that the granting of the preliminary injunction was within the sound discretion of the trial court and that a court of review should determine only whether or not there was an abuse of that discretion. (See Lonergan v. Crucible Steel Co. of America (1967), 37 Ill.2d 599.) The plaintiffs also argue that the primary purpose of interlocutory injunctive relief is to preserve the status quo until there can be a determination on the merits of the controversy. (See Hydroaire, Inc. v. Sager (1981), 98 Ill. App.3d 758, 761.) The appellate court, in City of Chicago v. Airline Canteen Service, Inc. (1978), 64 Ill. App.3d 417, summarized the role of the preliminary injunction and the nature of the review on appeal from an order issuing such an injunction when it stated:

"It is well established that a hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction does not determine any factual issue. A preliminary injunction is issued to preserve the status quo until the trial court may consider the merits of the case. In ruling on a motion for such relief, controverted facts or the merits of the case are not decided. In reviewing the discretion exercised by the trial court, an appellate court may decide only whether the petitioner has demonstrated a prima facie case that there is a fair question as to the existence of the rights claimed; that the circumstances lead to a reasonable belief that they probably will be entitled to the relief sought, if the evidence sustains the allegations of the petition; and that matters should be kept in status quo until the case can be decided on its merits. In sum, the only question before us is whether there was a sufficient showing to sustain the order of the trial court. [Citation.]" City of Chicago v. Airline Canteen Service, Inc. (1978), 64 Ill. App.3d 417, 432-33.

In this case we do not feel limited by the traditional scope of review of an order issuing a preliminary injunction. Although the order in this case purports to be a preliminary injunction and many references are made in the order to the fact that the court is only preserving the status quo until there can be a hearing on the merits, this order is, in effect, a decision on the merits of the case. It should be noted that the transcript of the hearing on the motion for the preliminary injunction is in excess of 4,000 pages. Approximately 28 witnesses testified, and more than 80 exhibits were introduced. The hearing lasted approximately 15 days. The court's order found that the proposed relocation of the residents of Dixon, as set forth in the defendants' plan, would result in a violation of the statutory requirement that the residents must be provided with adequate and humane care and services (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 2-102(a)), and their statutory right to be transferred to a facility that is appropriate and consistent with their habilitation needs (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-707). The injunction enjoined the defendants' proposed closure of Dixon and transfer of residents and layoff and transfer of staff "until defendants, at an evidentiary hearing on the merits of this cause can persuade the court that such transfers and layoffs should proceed." Thus, at the proposed evidentiary hearing on the merits, the burden will not be on the plaintiffs to establish the invalidity of the defendants' proposed plan of relocation of residents and staff. The effect of the order is to hold the proposed plan invalid, and it placed the burden on the defendants to come forth with a plan acceptable to the court. The court then went on to criticize the proposed plan of the defendants and stated, "What we have here, at this point in time, is a plan (4-Level Plan) which purports to be noble in purpose, but will be void of content until there is a sincere, conscientious and sensitive implementation of adequate planning that is not tethered slavishly to short budget deadlines that demand precipitous actions." This clearly reveals a complete rejection of the defendants' relocation plan, and as noted previously, the order has enjoined the transfer, not temporarily pending the disposition of the case, but until the defendants present a different plan acceptable to the judge.

Neither the plaintiffs nor the intervenors contend that the Governor and the Department do not have the power or authority to close Dixon. The only question is whether the proposed closure and relocation of the residents at Dixon violate any rights of those residents.

The trial court based its holding on two sections of the Code. It found that the proposed plan for relocating the residents of Dixon violated the transfer standards set forth in section 4-707 of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-707). That section provides that the director of any facility "may transfer a client to another Department facility if he determines that the transfer is appropriate and consistent with the habilitation needs of the client." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-707.) The court also found that the proposed plan violates section 2-102(a) of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 2-102(a)). That issue will be addressed later. Also, the proposed relocation plan, which the court found to be in violation of these sections of the Code, will be more specifically set forth later in this opinion.

A reading of article VII of chapter 4 of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-700 et seq.) reveals that these provisions do not apply to the relocation of clients of a facility when that facility is to be closed. The provisions of article VII can apply only to transfers between existing facilities.

Whenever a transfer is to be made under section 4-707, the resident, his attorney, parent, or guardian are entitled to notice of the transfer and the reason for the transfer. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 4-709.) A client or the person who receives the above notice is entitled to object to the transfer, and if an objection is filed, then the client is entitled to a hearing by a utilization-review committee. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 4-707, 4-709.) The Department has the burden of proving that the transfer is "appropriate and consistent with the habilitation needs of the client." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 4-707, 4-709.) The review committee may recommend that the resident be transferred or not transferred. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. ...


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