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Municipal League v. Labor Relations Bd.

OPINION FILED JANUARY 21, 1986.

THE ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL LEAGUE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE ILLINOIS STATE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES (THE VILLAGE OF HANOVER PARK ET AL., PLAINTIFFS).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Simon L. Friedman, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE MCCULLOUGH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This action arises from a seven-count complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief seeking to set aside the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act), Public Act 83-1012, effective July 1, 1984, raising various claims concerning the alleged invalidity thereof. (See Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1601 et seq.) By order of February 1985, the circuit court of Sangamon County dismissed the complaint with prejudice, having found that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the matters asserted in counts I and V; that counts II, III, IV, and VI were not ripe for adjudication; and count VII, incorporating the allegations of the other counts and requesting injunctive and declaratory relief, was also dismissed by the court's order which dismissed the complaint in its entirety. The Illinois Municipal League has appealed from the judgment of the circuit court of Sangamon County. We affirm.

Count I alleged that (1) the League is an unincorporated, non-profit, nonpolitical association of Illinois cities, villages, and incorporated towns, legally able to sue on behalf of member municipalities, the interests of which constitute protectable interests falling within the operative language of the Act and which would be adversely affected by the Act's enforcement; (2) section 3(g) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1603(g)) requires payment of moneys by municipal employees or, on their behalf by municipalities, for purposes which violate the first and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amends. I, XIV) and article I, sections 2 and 4, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, secs. 2, 4) in that it denies employees freedom of association and deprives them of property without due process by forcing them to make payments for which they receive no value or compensation while providing them no means to object thereto; and (3) because of section 3(g), the Act is illegal, invalid, unconstitutional, and unenforceable.

Count II alleged that (1) section 17 of the Act permits employees charged with the protection of public health, safety, and welfare of the State's citizens to strike their employers (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1617(a)); and (2) the Act thereby encourages municipal employees to abandon their statutory and constitutional duties, resulting in a per se violation of article XI, section 2, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. XI, sec. 2).

Count III of the complaint alleged that (1) the citizens of the State, through the General Assembly, have established a public policy that prohibits public employees from striking, which policy created a right in the citizens, protected by article I, section 24, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, sec. 24 ("[t]he enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the individual citizens of the State")); (2) passage of the Act, with its strike provision, violates those rights historically granted to this State's citizens and protected by this constitutional provision; and (3) the Act is therefore rendered unconstitutional, void, and unenforceable.

Count IV of the complaint alleged that (1) Governor Thompson, a defendant, was permitted amendatory veto power pursuant to article IV, section 9(e), of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, sec. 9(e)); (2) the supreme court has interpreted this section as prohibiting the Governor from changing the fundamental purpose of legislation and making substantial or expansive changes therein (People ex rel. City of Canton v. Crouch (1980), 79 Ill.2d 356, 403 N.E.2d 242; Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust co. v. Zagel (1979), 78 Ill.2d 387, 401 N.E.2d 491); (3) the amendatory veto message to the legislation which was the basis of the Act violated section 9(e) by adding a section to the bill dealing with collective bargaining rights for employees of the Bi-State Development Agency and deleting reference to educational employees and employers from the bill; and (4) the Act is rendered unconstitutional as a result of this violation of the Illinois Constitution.

Count V alleged that (1) section 17 of the Act permits all employees, other than security employees, the right to strike, thereby conferring upon those persons involved with prison populations a "special benefit," which is denied to others who "may be similarly situated"; (2) there is no compelling State interest in this distinction; (3) the strike provision of the Act therefore constitutes "invalid special legislation and denies equal protection of the safety laws of this State"; (4) the strike provision of the Act violates article IV, section 13, and article I, section 2, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, sec. 13; art. I, sec. 2), and the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. XIV).

Count VI alleged that (1) the Act imposed on members of the League a personnel mandate, as defined by section 3(h) of the State Mandates Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 85, par. 2203(h)); (2) while the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1623) purports to exempt its provisions from the State Mandates Act, it does not state the specific reasons for such exclusion as is required under section 6(f) of the State Mandates Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 85, par. 2206(f)); and (3) that the failure of the Act to comply with the requirements of the State Mandates Act relieves the League and its members from the obligation of implementing the personnel mandate imposed by the Act.

We first consider the propriety of the circuit court's ruling that the League lacked standing to bring the claims asserted in counts I and V. The League relies on two cases: Warth v. Seldin (1975), 422 U.S. 490, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, 95 S.Ct. 2197, referred to by the trial court in its memorandum opinion, and Weihl v. Dixon (1977), 56 Ill. App.3d 251, 371 N.E.2d 881.

• 1 Warth viewed the question of standing as whether the litigant is entitled to have the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues. Warth determined that the inquiry involved both (1) constitutional limitations on Federal court jurisdiction, and (2) prudential limitations on its exercise. (Warth v. Seldin (1975), 422 U.S. 490, 498, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, 354, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2205.) In its constitutional dimension, standing imports justiciability; i.e., whether the plaintiff has made out a "case or controversy" between himself and the defendant within the meaning of article III of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., art. III). Thus:

"As an aspect of justiciability, the standing question is whether the plaintiff has `alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy' as to warrant his invocation of federal-court jurisdiction and to justify exercise of the court's remedial powers on his behalf. [Citations.] The Art. III judicial power exists only to redress or otherwise to protect against injury to the complaining party, even though the court's judgment may benefit others collaterally. A federal court's jurisdiction therefore can be invoked only when the plaintiff himself has suffered `some threatened or actual injury resulting from the putatively illegal action. * * *' [Citations.]" (Warth v. Seldin (1975), 422 U.S. 490, 498-99, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, 354-55, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2205.)

Apart from this minimum constitutional mandate, there are other limits on the class of persons who may invoke the Federal courts' decisional and remedial powers: (1) when the asserted harm is a "generalized grievance" shared in substantially equal measure by all or a large class of citizens, that harm alone normally does not warrant the exercise of jurisdiction; and (2) the plaintiff must generally assert his own legal rights and interests, and cannot rest his claim to relief on the legal rights and interests of others. (Warth v. Seldin (1975), 422 U.S. 490, 498, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, 355, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2205.) As to associations, Warth held that the possibility of representational standing, absent injury to the association itself, does not eliminate or attenuate the constitutional requirement of case or controversy. Therefore, the association must allege that its members, or any one of them, are suffering immediate or threatened injury as a result of the challenged action of the sort that would make out a justiciable case had the members themselves brought suit. (422 U.S. 490, 510-11, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, 361-62, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2211.) The court further stated that, apart from the case-or-controversy requirement of article III, prudential considerations for standing strongly counseled against according the association standing to prosecute the action, as such was an attempt to raise "putative rights" of third parties; and none of the exceptions permitting such claims were present. 422 U.S. 490, 514, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, 363-64, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2213.

Weihl v. Dixon (1977), 56 Ill. App.3d 251, 253-55, 371 N.E.2d 881, 883-84, discussed Illinois law on standing:

"As stated by the court in Lynch v. Devine, 45 Ill. App.3d 743, 747-48, 359 N.E.2d 1137, 1140:

`The doctrine of standing, simply stated, requires that a party seeking relief from the courts must allege some injury in fact to some substantive, legally-protected interest of his, which is a right or interest either recognized by common law or created by statute. (See 59 Am.Jur.2d Parties secs. 26-29 (1971).) The doctrine is used to insure that the courts are available to decide actual, specific controversies between the parties and are not overwhelmed in the mire of abstract questions, moot issues, or cases brought on behalf of other parties who do not desire judicial aid. Flast v. Cohen (1968), 392 U.S. 83, 99-100, 20 L.Ed.2d 947, 961-62, 88 S. CT. 1942.' See also Fuchs v. Bidwell, 65 Ill.2d 503, 359 N.E.2d 158.

Article 6, section 9 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 states in part: `Circuit Courts shall have original jurisdiction of all justiciable matters * * *.' Standing is an aspect of justiciability in which the primary focus is upon the personal stake in the outcome of the controversy of the person seeking the adjudication of a particular issue. (Flast v. Cohen.) The person seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the court must have some real interest in the cause of action, or a legal or equitable right, title or interest in the subject matter of the controversy. (59 Am.Jur.2d Parties sec. 26 (1971).) A sufficient interest in the actual controversy is equally a prerequisite for a person to maintain an action for a declaratory judgment (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 57.1), and where such an interest is lacking, the plaintiff does not have standing to bring the action (Clark Oil & Refining Corp. v. City of Evanston, 23 Ill.2d 48, 177 N.E.2d 191).

* * * Moreover, that the instant action involves questions directly affecting the interests of the plaintiff's [an attorney] clients can give him no more right, title or interest in the subject matter of the controversy than a physician would have to the body of his patient. * * * It is they whose rights were allegedly infringed and thus it is they who must seek redress. Plaintiff may not invoke a remedy on behalf of others who do not ...


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