Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

02/03/94 VILLAGE BOLINGBROOK v. CITIZENS UTILITIES

February 3, 1994

THE VILLAGE OF BOLINGBROOK, APPELLANT,
v.
CITIZENS UTILITIES COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE.



Miller

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller

JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff, the Village of Bolingbrook, is a home rule municipality. Defendant, Citizens Utilities Company of Illinois, is an investor-owned Illinois public utility. Defendant furnishes water and sanitary sewage services within plaintiff's corporate limits.

Plaintiff alleges that on April 9, 1991, and April 15, 1991, there were substantial discharges of raw, untreated sanitary sewage from defendant's lines. These discharges allegedly deposited raw sewage on various properties located throughout plaintiff's corporate limits.

Based on the individual sewage discharges, plaintiff filed 20 separate complaints against defendant in the circuit court of Will County for violation of its municipal ordinance number 24-201, which provides as follows:

"UNLAWFUL PLACEMENT OF WASTE PROHIBITED. It shall be unlawful for any person to place, deposit, or permit to be deposited in any unsanitary manner on public or private property within the Village, or on any area under the jurisdiction of the Village, any human or animal excrement, garbage or other objectionable waste."

Two of these complaints related to the alleged April 9 discharges of sewage. The remaining 18 complaints related to the alleged discharges of April 15. Plaintiff also filed 22 additional complaints against defendant under its municipal ordinance number 24-200, which provides as follows:

"UNLAWFUL DISCHARGE INTO NATURAL OUTLET. It shall be unlawful to discharge to any natural outlet within the Village, or in any area under the jurisdiction of the Village, any sewage or other polluted waters, except where suitable treatment has been provided in accordance with subsequent provisions of this Chapter."

Two of these complaints related to the alleged April 9 discharges of sewage. The remaining 20 complaints related to the alleged discharges of April 15.

The 42 complaints filed by plaintiff against defendant carried fines of $100 each. Plaintiff did not seek an injunction to prevent future discharges of sewage or to force defendant to repair its sewer lines.

Defendant filed motions to dismiss the complaints alleging that the Public Utilities Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 111 2/3, par. 1-101 et seq.) preempted plaintiff's ordinances. The circuit court held that the ordinances were preempted and granted defendant's motions. The appellate court affirmed, with one Justice Dissenting. (231 Ill. App. 3d 740.) Plaintiff requested leave to appeal to this court and we granted the request. (134 Ill. 2d R. 315(a).) We now reverse.

Discussion

The first issue presented is whether plaintiff, as a home rule unit, had authority to enact the ordinances in question. If so, we must then consider whether the enforcement of plaintiff's ordinances against a public utility is preempted by the Public Utilities Act.

"Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt." (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, ยง 6(a).) Section 6(m) provides that "powers and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.