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Peo. Ex Rel. Dep't v. Arlington Pk Race T.

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 7, 1984.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ARLINGTON PARK RACE TRACK CORPORATION, DEFENDANT AND THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT (THE VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS ET AL., THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Harold A. Siegan, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This interlocutory appeal, brought under Supreme Court Rule 307(a) (87 Ill.2d R. 307(a)), is from an order in the nature of a preliminary injunction granted pursuant to section 7-104 of the Illinois Human Rights Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 68, par. 7-104) enjoining defendant Arlington Park Race Track Corporation (Corporation), its successor Arlington Park Racetrack Limited (Limited), and third-party defendants the Village of Arlington Heights (Village) and the Illinois Racing Board (Board) from implementing any policy prohibiting children under the age of 14 from residing in the backstretch area at the Arlington Park Racetrack (Track) pending resolution by the Illinois Human Rights Commission (Commission) of proceedings on a complaint filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (Department) by certain persons who work at the Track during the racing season, in which it was alleged that such a policy would constitute a civil rights violation under section 3-104 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 68, par. 3-104).

The Corporation, the Village, and the Board appeal, *fn1 variously contending that (1) the motion for temporary injunctive relief filed by the Department (a) did not comply with the statutory requirements of section 7-104 of the Act governing such motions, and (b) failed to set forth any factual basis for granting the injunctive relief requested; (2) the trial court erred an issuing an injunction without (a) conducting any evidentiary hearings, or (b) setting forth the reasons for its order as is required by section 11-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 110, par. 11-101); (3) no injunction could properly be issued against any of them because (a) not being respondents to the complaint filed with the Department, the Village and Board are not subject to the provisions of section 7-104; (b) the Department's motion did not seek to enjoin the Village or Board, but was directed only against the Corporation; (c) the Corporation has sold the Track and no longer has any interest in or control of it; (d) Limited was not named in the original complaint nor has any motion been made to name it as a party defendant in lieu of or in addition to the Corporation; (4) the order was improper because (a) it required the Corporation to violate Village ordinances and Board rules without a preliminary determination by the trial court that those ordinances and rules were either invalid or superseded by the Act, and (b) it prevented the Village from exercising its police powers; (5) section 3-104(A) of the Act, which prohibits discrimination against families with children under the age of 14 in the rental of housing accommodations, is inapplicable to the situation at the Track because the subject units (a) are not "housing accommodations" within the meaning of the Act, and (b) are not rented, but are provided without charge to the occupants; and (6) the Corporation's policy of prohibiting children from residing in the backstretch area is justified because it is rationally related to legitimate concerns for the health, safety and welfare of the children involved.

Although the underlying facts of this case are set out, in part, in People ex rel. Department of Human Rights v. Arlington Park Race Track Corp. (1984), 122 Ill. App.3d 517, 461 N.E.2d 505, a prior interlocutory appeal in which we vacated an order permanently enjoining the Corporation from prohibiting children under 14 years of age from residing in the backstretch and remanded the cause for further proceedings, we think it necessary for an understanding of the issues presented here to briefly restate the pertinent facts and to recount a history of the litigation both prior to and since our previous opinion.

The Track, which is located within the Village limits, operates from May through September of each year and has traditionally provided dormitory housing facilities in an area of the Track commonly known as the backstretch for certain employees of trainers who have horses stabled at the Track during the five-month racing season. The dormitories consist of more than 600 rooms ranging in size from 80 to 206 square feet, the larger rooms being designated for double occupancy and the smaller for single occupancy. None of the rooms are equipped for cooking, and most are serviced by communal washroom and shower facilities. The rooms were allocated, without cost except for a refundable $75 damage deposit, to the trainers, who in turn assigned them — also without cost — to persons employed by them to care for the horses. The Track also maintained 16 two-bedroom trailers in an area removed from the backstretch, ostensibly for rental at a rate of $300 per month to those employees who were accompanied to the Track by their families. For a number of racing seasons prior to 1982, an average of 20 to 30 families, including 30 to 40 young children, lived in the dormitories on the backstretch, allegedly because off-track housing and on-track trailer-housing was either unaffordable or unavailable.

Although it appears that for several years the Corporation was aware that children were living in the dormitories on the backstretch, it took no action to remove or bar them therefrom until April 1982, when it notified the trainers that no children would be permitted to reside there during the 1982 racing season. Shortly thereafter, certain employees who would be affected by the proposed exclusion of children filed charges with the Department alleging that, if implemented, the Corporation's policy would constitute a violation of their civil rights under section 3-104(A) of the Act, which provides in part:

"It is a civil rights violation for the owner or agent of any housing accommodation to:

(A) Require, as a condition precedent to the rental of a housing accommodation, that the prospective tenant shall not have, at the time the application for rental is made, one or more children under the age of 14 years residing in his or her family." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 68, par. 3-104(A).)

The director of the Department then filed an action with the Commission, pursuant to section 7-104 of the Act, which provides in pertinent part:

"(1) At any time after a charge is filed, the department may petition the appropriate court for temporary relief, pending final determination of the proceedings under this Act, including an order * * * restraining the respondent from doing or causing any act which would render ineffectual an order which the Commission may enter with respect to the complainant. The petition shall contain a certification by the Director that the particular matter presents exceptional circumstances in which irreparable injury will result from a civil rights violation in the absence of temporary relief.

(2) The petition shall be filed in the circuit court for the county in which the respondent resides or transacts business or in which the alleged violation took place, and the proceedings shall be governed by `An Act to revise the law in relation to injunctions' * * *. Except as provided in subsection (A)(3), the court may grant temporary relief or a restraining order as it deems just and proper.

(3) When the petition is based upon a civil rights violation as defined in Article 3 of this Act, the relief or restraining order entered by the court shall not exceed 5 days unless:

(a) A longer period is agreed to by the respondent; or

(b) The court finds that there is substantial evidence to demonstrate that the respondent has engaged in unlawful discrimination." Ill. ...


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