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04/29/87 Hardee's Food Systems, Inc v. the Human Rights

April 29, 1987

HARDEE'S FOOD SYSTEMS, INC., PETITIONER-APPELLANT

v.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

507 N.E.2d 1300, 155 Ill. App. 3d 173, 107 Ill. Dec. 931 1987.IL.559

Petition for review of order of Human Rights Commission.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE JONES delivered the opinion of the court. KARNS, P.J., and KASSERMAN, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JONES

This is a proceeding for judicial review of an order of the Illinois Human Rights Commission (Commission) pursuant to section 8-111(3) of the Illinois Human Rights Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 68, par. 8-111(3)), brought by Hardee's Food Systems, Inc. (Hardee's). However, we find that we are without authority to proceed with the review because the jurisdiction of this court to review the order of the Commission was not properly invoked.

On June 15, 1983, Mark Bradford filed a charge of race discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (Department). The charge asserted that Bradford had been discharged from his job at Hardee's because of his race. The Department filed a complaint with the Commission on April 10, 1984, asserting that Hardee's had discriminated against Bradford because of his race. A hearing was held before an administrative law Judge on October 3, 1984, and on June 27, 1985, the Judge issued her recommended order and decision, finding that, with respect to Bradford's discharge, he had been discriminated against because of his race. Hardee's filed exceptions to the decision and findings, and the Commission conducted a review hearing. On December 16, 1985, the Commission issued its order affirming the administrative law Judge. It is this latter order that is the subject of these proceedings.

On January 17, 1986, Hardee's filed its "Complaint-Judicial Review of Administrative Decision" in the circuit court of Clinton County, Illinois, the county wherein the Hardee's restaurant involved in this case was located. On March 4, 1986, the Commission filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, the assertion being based upon the fact that the petition for judicial review should have been filed in the appellate court. The motion to dismiss was denied by the circuit court with the following record sheet order:

"3-20-86 Motion for leave to file motion to dismiss is granted. Motion to Dismiss is argued. Timeliness is confessed by dft. Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction even to transfer is denied. Plaintiff's motion to transfer to the Appellate Court is sustained."

The record from the circuit court of Clinton County was filed in this court on April 3, 1986.

It is our duty to determine whether our jurisdiction for direct judicial review of an administrative order has been properly invoked even though the matter has not been raised by the parties. In re Marriage of Lawrence (1986), 146 Ill. App. 3d 307, 496 N.E.2d 538; Trizzino v. Kline Brothers Co. (1982), 106 Ill. App. 3d 230, 435 N.E.2d 958.

The pertinent facts are as follows: The Commission's final decision was handed down on December 16, 1985. Under the version of the Human Rights Act in effect at that time, proceedings brought on administrative review were to "be commenced in the circuit court in and for the county wherein the civil rights violation which is the subject of the Commission's order was committed." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 68, par. 8-111.) Under subparagraph (1) of former section 8-111, a complaint for administrative review was to be brought in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Review Law. Under section 3-103 of the Administrative Review Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 110, par. 3-103), administrative review was commenced by the filing of a complaint and the issuance of summons by a party within 35 days after service of a copy of the final agency decision from which the appeal is taken. Thus, under the law in existence at the time of entry of the December 16, 1985, final decision of the Commission, the time within which to file a complaint for administrative review in the circuit court and issue summons extended to and included January 20, 1986.

On January 1, 1986, Public Act 84 -- 717 came into effect and amended section 8 -- 111 to provide for direct administrative review to the appellate court, thereby bypassing the circuit court. Subparagraph 8 --111(3) provides in pertinent part:

"Proceedings for judicial review shall be commenced in the appellate court for the district wherein the civil rights violation which is the subject of ...


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