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02/06/87 Metromedia, Inc., v. John D. Kramer

February 6, 1987

METROMEDIA, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT

v.

JOHN D. KRAMER, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS AND CROSS-APPELLEES (NATIONAL ADVERTISING COMPANY, INTERVENOR-APPELLANT AND CROSS- APPELLEE)

THIS CASE INVOLVES THE HIGHWAY ADVERTISING CONTROL ACT OF 1971 (ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1981, CH. 121, PAR. 501 ET SEQ.) (THE ACT), THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS OF WHICH ARE MOST PERTINENT TO THE ISSUES PRESENTED:

"ALONG INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS AND EXPRESSWAYS NO TWO SIGN STRUCTURES ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY SHALL BE ERECTED LESS THAN 500 FEET APART. . . ." ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1981, CH. 121, PAR. 506.03(B).)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

504 N.E.2d 884, 152 Ill. App. 3d 459, 105 Ill. Dec. 599 1987.IL.138

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur L. Dunne, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE SULLIVAN delivered the opinion of the court. LORENZ and PINCHAM, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SULLIVAN

This is an appeal and cross-appeal from an order (a) granting partial summary judgment to each party in an action for declaratory judgment and a writ of mandamus and (b) dismissing those counts of the complaint alleging tortious interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage.

Plaintiff, Foster & Kleiser a division of Metromedia, Inc., an outdoor advertising business, filed a two-count amended complaint against defendants, officers of the Illinois Department of Transportation (Department), alleging that the Department wrongfully: (1) revoked two permits issued to it for the construction of billboards on sites adjacent to the Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways, respectively, and (2) granted permits for those sites to its competitor, National Advertising, Inc. (National). F & K sought a declaration that the revocation of its permits and the subsequent issuance of permits to National were improper and a writ of mandamus to compel the Department to reinstate its permits. Having begun construction of its billboards by the time the complaint was filed, National was granted leave to intervene, following which F & K filed a second-amended complaint seeking damages from National for tortious interference with contractual relations (count III) and prospective economic advantage (count IV). The parties thereafter filed cross-motions for summary judgment as to counts I and II, and F & K moved for partial summary judgment as to counts III and IV. Following a hearing, the trial court (a) granted summary judgment for F & K on count I and ordered the Department to reissue F & K's permit for the Kennedy site, (b) granted summary judgment for the Department on count II and thereby denied F & K's request for a writ of mandamus to compel the Department to issue a permit for the Eisenhower site, and (c) dismissed counts III and IV with prejudice. The Department and National appeal from summary judgment for F & K on count I; F & K cross-appeals from summary judgment for the Department on count II and from the dismissal of counts III and IV.

"No sign, . . . may be erected after the effective date of this Act without first obtaining a permit from the Department. The application for a permit shall be on a form provided by the Department and shall contain such information as the Department may reasonably require. Upon receipt of an application containing all required information and appropriately executed and upon payment of a fee of $5, the Department then issues a permit to the applicant for the erection of the sign, provided such sign will not violate any provision of this Act." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 121, par. 508.)

"The following signs are unlawful and a public nuisance:

(a) Signs erected after the effective date of this Act in violation of this Act;

(b) Signs not registered in accordance with this Act or in accordance with the regulations established by the Department;

(c) Signs without valid permits, as required by this Act or by regulations established by the Department." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 121, par. 510.)

"The Department may establish rules and regulations regarding implementation and enforcement of this Act . . .." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 121, par. 514.01.)

One of the regulations established by the Department states that "[a]pplication to erect a new sign must be submitted to the Department . . . on Form BRW 1171 or BRW 1172" (92 Ill. Admin. Code 552.801(b) (1985)), both of which ...


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