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06/17/87 the Board of Education of v. County of Lake Et Al.

June 17, 1987

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE APTAKISIC-TRIPP SCHOOL

v.

COUNTY OF LAKE ET AL., DEFENDANTS (MOSS & BLOOMBERG, LTD., PETITIONER-APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT; THE PEOPLE EX REL. FRED L. FOREMAN, STATE'S ATTORNEY OF



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

Lake County et al., Objectors-Appellants

and Cross-Appellees)

No. 2-86-0514

509 N.E.2d 1088, 156 Ill. App. 3d 1064, 109 Ill. Dec. 249 1987.IL.838

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Alphonse Witt, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE UNVERZAGT delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., and REINHARD, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE UNVERZAGT

The appeal stems from an award of attorney's fees. The award has been appealed by 51 of Lake County's taxing districts, who were represented by the petitioning firm in the underlying class action suit.

The law firm of Moss & Bloomberg, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as M & B), represented the board of education of the Aptakisic-Tripp School District No. 102, a Lake County taxing district, in a suit against Lake County. At the time, the county, like every county in the State, collected taxes for its taxing districts and deposited the funds in interest-bearing accounts. When it paid the taxes over to the taxing districts, the county retained the interest the accounts had earned. The suit alleged that the interest, like the principal, belonged to the taxing districts and that the county's practice of retaining it violated the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, sec 9(a)). M & B had already filed virtually identical suits for other municipal clients in Du Page, Cook, and Will counties.

The Du Page County suit (hereinafter referred to as the Wood Dale case) progressed through the trial court and this court (Board of Commissioners v. County of Du Page (1982), 107 Ill. App. 3d 409) ahead of its companion suits, and ultimately resulted in the county's practice of retaining interest being declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. (Board of Commissioners v. County of Du Page (1983), 96 Ill. 2d 378 (hereinafter referred to as Wood Dale I).) On remand, the trial court dismissed the Wood Dale case, finding that the practice was permitted by a newly enacted amendment to the Revenue Act of 1939. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, par. 761.) On a second appeal to this court, we reversed that decision. (Board of Commissioners v. County of Du Page (1983), 119 Ill. App. 3d 1085.)

Du Page County then appealed to the supreme court for a second time, and that court held that the county must repay to its taxing districts all interest earned from the date of the Wood Dale I decision. Board of Commissioners v. County of Du Page (1984), 103 Ill. 2d 422 (hereinafter referred to as Wood Dale II).

During the course of the Wood Dale appeals, the Lake, Cook, and Will county cases were also actively progressing. The Wood Dale decisions, however, dictated the outcome of those cases. Therefore, after each appellate decision in the Wood Dale case, this court issued a Rule 23 order in the Lake County case, simply applying the Wood Dale decision to it. Similarly, when the supreme court remanded to the trial court in Wood Dale I and II, this case also returned to the trial court for identical treatment.

After the Wood Dale II decision, classes were certified in each case so that M & B represented all of the taxing districts in each county. M & B's Lake County suit ultimately resulted in the recovery of $2 million from Lake County to be distributed among the members of the Lake County class. M & B submitted fee petitions in each of the four counties requesting payment from their respective funds. The Cook and Du Page county classes settled with M & B for fees of approximately $400,000 and $575,000, respectively. An agreement was also reached in Will County, and, although the trial court awarded M & B less than the agreed amount, the Appellate Court for the Third District reversed that decision and awarded M & B $218,000, the amount the parties had agreed upon. (Board of ...


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