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12/02/94 ALAMO RENT A CAR v. GEORGE H. RYAN

December 2, 1994

ALAMO RENT A CAR, INC., A FLORIDA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
GEORGE H. RYAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT, AND JIM EDGAR, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, CONTEMNOR-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Judge Presiding.

As Corrected January 4, 1995. Second Correction January 10, 1995. Released for Publication January 13, 1995.

Justice McNULTY delivered the opinion of the court: Cousins, J., concurs. Murray, P.j., Dissents.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnulty

JUSTICE McNULTY delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff Alamo Rent A Car, Inc. appeals from the trial court order granting summary judgment in favor of defendant Secretary of State George H. Ryan (Secretary) on its action seeking declarations that certain amendments to section 6-305 of the Illinois Motor Code (Code) (625 ILCS 5/6-305(d) and (f)(West 1992)) were unconstitutional. In addition, Governor Jim Edgar filed a separate appeal from a contempt citation in which the trial court imposed a $100 fine and ordered him to turn over certain documents, which related to the Alamo suit, pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum. These appeals were consolidated. We affirm the trial court order granting summary judgment in favor of the Secretary, but we vacate the contempt order which required the Governor to turn over certain documents and imposed a fine for his failure to do so.

Plaintiff filed this declaratory judgment action claiming that sections 6-305 (d) and (f) of the Code violate the Special Legislation Clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 13), the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 2) and the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. XIV). In addition, plaintiff claimed that subsection (d) also violates the Jury Trial Clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 13), and that subsection (f) also violates the first amendment of the United States Constitution. U.S. Const., amend. I.

Section 6-305(d) imposes a $200 cap on the amount of damages which a car rental company may recover from a rental car driver for negligently caused damage to a rental vehicle. There are exceptions to the rule when the damages occur from intentional acts, intoxication, speed contests, fraud by renter, crime towing or unauthorized use. 625 ILCS 5/6 305(d) (West 1992).

Section 6-305(f) requires that quoted and advertised rental charges be the full amount of all charges, except for a limited few exceptions which may be added to the daily rental rate. Under section 6-305(f), all charges must be bundled into the advertised rental rate. Subsection (f) particularly prohibits a person from charging, in addition to taxes and mileage and the advertised rental rate, required fuel and airport surcharges or transportation fees. Subsection (f) further states that:

"No collision damage waiver, or other type of waiver or insurance, may be offered and sold as a separate charge which would provide coverage for a deductible and any of the exceptions authorized by subsection (d) of this Section." (625 ILCS 5/6 305 (f) (West 1992).)

The Secretary claims that this provision bans the sale of Collision Damage Waivers (CDWs). Alamo argues that the provision does not ban the sale of CDWs but rather, prohibits charging for a CDW in addition to the advertised rental rate. We agree with the trial court that Alamo's interpretation of this provision is correct.

In the course of Alamo's discovery, the trial court granted Alamo's motion to enforce a subpoena duces tecum which had been previously served upon Deputy Governor John E. Washburn. Ultimately, Alamo filed a petition for rule to show cause why Governor James Thompson should not be held in contempt on the basis of then Governor Thompson's, and subsequently, Governor James Edgar's, refusal to produce documents required by the subpoena. The trial court cited Governor Edgar for contempt, imposed a $100 fine and ordered him to produce the documents. Governor Edgar has not complied with the trial court's order and has filed this appeal from the contempt order. Alamo and the Secretary each filed motions for summary judgment on the declaratory judgment action and the court entered an order finding sections 6-305(d) and (f) constitutional and granting the Secretary's motion, dismissing all of Alamo's claims. Alamo appeals from that order.

The issues raised on appeal are whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary on the basis that the bundled charge and $200 cap provisions are constitutional as a matter of law. Specifically, we must determine whether: (1) the bundled charges provision violates the special legislation, equal protection, and due process clauses and the first amendment and (2) whether the $200 cap provision violates the special legislation, equal protection, due process, and jury trial clauses. We must also determine whether the trial court properly required the Governor to turn over certain documents, and held him in contempt and imposed a fine for his failure to do so.

We first consider whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary. Both the Secretary and Alamo filed cross motions for summary judgment seeking the resolution of this case as a matter of law. It is clear from an examination of these motions that there are no disputed facts material to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of section 3-605.

A strong presumption of constitutionality attaches to legislativeenactments, ( People v. Blackorby (1992), 146 Ill. 2d 307, 586 N.E.2d 1231, 166 Ill. Dec. 902.) The party who challenges a statute's constitutionality bears the burden of clearly establishing the violation alleged. ( Bernier v. Burris (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 219, 497 N.E.2d 763, 100 Ill. Dec. 585.) Courts are obligated to affirm the constitutionality and validity of statutes if possible. Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust Co. v. Illinois State Toll Highway Comm. (1969), 42 Ill. 2d 385, 251 N.E.2d 253.

Both Alamo and the Secretary agree that Alamo's claims do not implicate suspect or quasi-suspect classifications. The parties also agree that the same standard applies to the special legislation and equal protection claims. ( Nevitt v. Langfelder (1993), 157 Ill. 2d 116, 623 N.E.2d 281, 191 Ill. Dec. 36.) The parties are, however, in dispute over what standard to apply in determining whether section 6-305 violates the equal protection, special legislation and due process clauses. Alamo claims that the rational basis plus standard applies, which requires the court to determine not only whether there is a reasonable relationship between the challenged legislation and the governmental interest, but also ...


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