Prior to 1982, the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago discovered that the overloading of local sanitary sewer systems was threatening water supplies. The Sanitary District instructed the communities within its jurisdiction to take measures to abate the problem of excess infiltration of ground and storm water into the sewer system. In response to this mandate, the City of Hickory Hills instituted the program that has created the current dispute with the Magnusons.
Initially, the City inspected the homes in the community in an effort to locate those homes that had illegal connections to the sewer system. After these searches, the City identified 1200 homes which might have contained illegal connections. Included among this list were those homes which the City was unable to search.
On April 1, 1988, the City proceeded to mail notices to each of these 1200 homeowners. This "first notice" stated that the property had been identified as a source of illegal storm water. The notice listed potential sources and suggested methods of remedying defects. The notice also warned that court action and termination of water service could result if the home was not listed in compliance.
Those residents who did not schedule an inspection received a "second notice," which was mailed on June 22, 1988. This notice warned the resident that their property was still identified as a source of illegal storm water. The notice warned that legal action would be taken if corrections were not made or the home was not inspected. In addition, the notice contained an address to which the resident could write and request a hearing.
On August 26, 1988, the City mailed final notices to the residents of homes that were on the list of homes with possible illegal connections. This notice instructed the recipient that she could schedule a hearing if she believed she was in compliance. Again, the notice threatened that water service would be terminated if the residence was not listed in compliance by the deadline.
The Magnusons received each of these three notices. The Magnusons took no action after receiving the first two notices. After receiving the third notice, the Magnusons scheduled a compliance inspection. However, Barbara Magnuson subsequently canceled this appointment.
On November 8, 1988, a City employee affixed a sticker to the Magnusons' front door. This notice warned the Magnusons that their water service would be terminated unless a compliance inspection was scheduled by November 18, 1988. The Magnusons contacted the City and demanded the removal of this sticker; the Magnusons allege that a city employee damaged their door when the sticker was eventually removed.
The Magnusons scheduled a compliance inspection for November 16, but canceled this appointment. This action was filed on November 18, 1988.
On November 21, 1988, the City received a letter from the Magnusons plumber. This letter stated that the sump pump violation at the Magnusons' home had been corrected. Accordingly, the City removed the Magnusons from the list of the homes that had illegal sources of storm water.
The Magnusons seek injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The Magnusons claim that the City's program violated several of their constitutional rights. Specifically, they claim that the City's program violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, their procedural due process rights under the Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, and their right to substantive due process.
A. Motion for Class Certification
The Magnusons seek to certify a class of:
All residents of City of Hickory Hills who have been threatened with water service termination, pursuant to the sewer rehabilitation program of the defendant City of Hickory Hills, and all those persons who shall in the future be subjected to similar threats under the defendants' current sewer rehabilitation program or any such program to be developed by the defendant City of Hickory Hills.