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Player v. Village of Bensenville

December 30, 1999

JAMES W. PLAYER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE VILLAGE OF BENSENVILLE AND BENSENVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 2, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 98--MR--059 Honorable John W. Darrah, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Bowman

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Pro se plaintiff, James Player, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his complaint against defendants, Village of Bensenville (Village) and Bensenville Elementary School District No. 2 (District), with prejudice, pursuant to section 2--615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2--615 (West 1998)). Plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal. This court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 303 (155 Ill. 2d R. 303).

On appeal, plaintiff argues that (1) the clerk of the circuit court improperly designated his case as an "administrative review" action rather than a "miscellaneous remedies" action; (2) the trial court improperly denied his request for oral argument on defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint; (3) the trial court erroneously construed the law pertaining to hiring preferences for veterans; (4) the trial court improperly denied plaintiff's motion for a court-appointed attorney; (5) the trial court erred in allowing the Village to proceed with its motion to dismiss after it had earlier been defaulted; (6) the defendants unlawfully performed their duties during the hiring process for the position for which plaintiff applied; (7) the intergovernmental agreement between defendants was invalid; and (8) the manner and sequence in which the trial court ruled on the parties' motions were erroneous. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Village and the District on July 29, 1998. He alleged that in June 1998 he applied for the position of "Redmond Park Coordinator-Physical Education Teacher," which came about through an intergovernmental agreement between the Village and the District. Plaintiff further alleged that he was a "qualified veteran and qualified teacher." Plaintiff claimed that he was entitled to an absolute hiring preference for the position by virtue of his veteran status. He further claimed that the manager and assistant manager for the Village denied him his rights by refusing to interview him for the position.

Plaintiff alleged that the District was responsible for paying the salary and benefits associated with the position and that it too failed to recognize plaintiff's right to an absolute hiring preference. In his prayer for relief, plaintiff requested that he be appointed to the position he applied for and that he be granted back pay, full benefits, and $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

In response to the complaint, the District filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2--615, arguing that plaintiff could not state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Village sought leave to and did file a motion to dismiss but later joined in the District's motion to dismiss.

Plaintiff filed numerous motions, including a motion to strike the Village's motion to dismiss, a "Motion to Deny Defendant's, Village of Bensenville, Motions to Vacate and Re-Notice of Motion to Dismiss My Case," a "motion to deny" the District's motion to dismiss, and a motion for a court-appointed attorney. Plaintiff also filed responses to both the District's and the Village's motions to dismiss, which were titled "motions to respond." All of plaintiff's motions were fully briefed.

On November 6, 1998, the trial court entered an order that read as follows, in relevant part:

"1. Defendant Village's motion to vacate defaults is granted to the extent that any defaults existed;

2. Defendant Village is granted leave to file its appearance, instanter;

3. Plaintiff's motion for a court-appointed attorney is denied;

4. Defendant School District's 2--615 motion to dismiss is granted, and this case is hereby dismissed with prejudice;

5. Defendant Village's motion to join in the School District's motion to dismiss is granted, and this case is hereby dismissed with ...


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