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05/01/87 the People Ex Rel. Steven v. the Village of Burr Ridge

May 1, 1987

THE PEOPLE EX REL. STEVEN ZAHER, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT

v.

THE VILLAGE OF BURR RIDGE ET AL., DEFENDANTS-PETITIONERS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

508 N.E.2d 354, 155 Ill. App. 3d 526, 108 Ill. Dec. 193 1987.IL.575

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Albert S. Porter, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LORENZ delivered the opinion of the court. SULLIVAN, P.J., and PINCHAM, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ

Plaintiff sought leave to file a complaint in quo warranto challenging the power of a municipality and its trustees to act with respect to a certain special service area created to make water and sewer drainage improvements in a designated area of the township where he resided. Defendants moved and were granted leave to transfer venue while hearings on plaintiff's application were being conducted. Said order was later vacated on plaintiff's motion. The case was subsequently transferred to another Judge who, after conducting a hearing on the matter, denied defendants their motion to transfer venue. It is from said order of denial that this appeal is taken.

For the reasons stated herein, we reverse.

On March 4, 1985, plaintiff, a homeowner in the village of Burr Ridge, filed an application for leave to file a complaint in quo warranto. The complaint challenged the authority of the municipality to create a special service area designed to improve water and sewage drainage in certain portions of the village. Defendants objected to plaintiff's application on the grounds that he had failed to comply with a statutory provision requiring him to submit denial letters from both the Illinois Attorney General's office and the State's Attorney's office.

At the hearing on plaintiff's application, defendants presented an emergency motion to transfer venue to Du Page County, situs of the village's principal office. The trial court initially granted defendants leave to transfer venue but subsequently vacated its order on plaintiff's motion. As a basis for his reversal, the Judge cited the possible improper filing of plaintiff's application for leave to file the quo warrantor complaint *fn1 and indicated that his decision in no way stemmed from a belief that his prior order had been incorrectly entered. Failing thus to address the merits of plaintiff's motion to vacate, the court apparently meant for its ruling to be applied solely to procedural matters.

Shortly after plaintiff was given leave to file his complaint in quo warrantor in the circuit court of Cook County, the case was transferred to another Judge who, after giving full consideration to the parties' respective positions on the matter, denied defendants their motion to transfer venue.

The propriety of the trial court's decision to deny defendants their request to transfer venue to Du Page County is the sole issue for consideration.

By this appeal, we are asked to determine whether section 2-103(a) or section 2-103(c) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, pars. 2-103(a), (c)) is the applicable statutory provision to determine the proper forum in the instant case. Section 2-103(a), the more generalized subsection, requires all actions against municipal corporations to be brought in the county where the "principal office" of the municipal corporation is located. Section 2-103(c), on the other hand, requires an action "made local" by any statute to be brought in the county designated by that statute.

Defendants rely on section 2 -- 103(a) to support their contention that venue in the instant case is proper in Du Page County. Their argument is twofold: first, since their principal office is located in Du Page County, the village is not a resident of Cook County for purposes of venue; second, section 2 -- 103(c) cannot form the basis upon which venue in Cook County may be found as plaintiff's action has not been made local by any statute.

Plaintiff maintains that his action has been made local by certain revenue provisions pertaining to special services areas. He argues that were it not for section 1 et seq. of "An Act to provide the manner of levying or imposing taxes for the provision of special services to areas . . ." (Special Service Areas Act or Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 1301 et seq.), the village of Burr Ridge would lack the authority to establish special service areas. Hence, any challenge to the municipality's authority to create special service area number 4 must necessarily be brought in connection with the aforesaid statutory provisions. Plaintiff further interprets section 1 et seq. of the Act as requiring actions of this kind to be brought in the county where the special service area and its subject property are ...


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