Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County 99 CH 2012 The Honorable Thomas P. Durkin, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cousins
Plaintiffs, Roy L. Endsley III and Stephen Graham, individually and on behalf of those similarly situated, appeal the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County granting defendants' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs are seeking reversal of that judgment and request that the case be returned to the circuit court for trial. The issues presented for review are: (1) whether the trial court erred in concluding that the City of Chicago's (the City) practice of financing non-related projects with Skyway Toll Bridge System (Skyway) tolls did not violate Illinois common law; (2) whether the trial court erred in concluding the City's practice of financing non-related projects with Skyway tolls did not violate article IX, section 2, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IX, §2) (the uniformity clause); (3) whether the trial court erred in concluding that voluntary choice exempts the City's practice of financing non-related projects with Skyway tolls from the requirements of the uniformity clause; (4) whether the trial court erred in concluding that there was no violation of state statutes because the financing was under the City's home rule powers; (5) whether the trial court erred in concluding that the challenged part of the tolls was not an unauthorized service tax; (6) whether the trial court erred in concluding there was no violation of the federal or state due process clause (U.S. Const., amend. XIV, §1; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §2; (7) whether the trial court erred in concluding that this suit was precluded by laches; (8) whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the issue of service fees; and (9) whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on plaintiffs' takings clause argument.
Plaintiffs are two Skyway users; Endsley is a resident of Indiana and Graham is a resident of Cook County, Illinois. The Skyway is a 7.8- mile toll bridge carrying interstate route 90 (I-90), which connects the Indiana Toll Road at the Illinois state line and the Dan Ryan Expressway, in Chicago. It was opened in 1958. The cost of construction of the Skyway was paid by private funds raised by the sale of bonds authorized by Illinois statutes. See 605 ILCS 5/10-703, 10-706 (West 1998). The statutes authorize the collection of tolls from Skyway users to repay the original bonds and to pay the cost of operation of the Skyway. Skyway tolls are the primary security for repayment of the bonds.
In 1996, the City sold new bonds. The proceeds of the 1996 bond sale were $179,765,000, sufficient to "advance refund" the aggregate principal amount of the Skyway bonds that were then outstanding and to raise an additional $52 million for other "City transportation improvements."
Plaintiffs filed their original complaint in February 1998. Plaintiffs joined American National Bank and Trust Company as a defendant in its capacity as trustee of the Skyway bonds. The complaint raised issues under federal and Illinois law. The federal claims were based on the takings clause of the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution and the due process and equal protection clauses of the fourteenth amendment (U.S. Const., amends. V, XIV). The state law claims were based on the common law, certain statutes pertaining to toll bridges, and provisions of the Illinois Constitution, including its uniformity, takings, due process, and equal protection clauses (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IX, §2, art. I, §15, art. I, §2, art. I, §2). The City and its treasurer moved to dismiss the complaint. The motion to dismiss was denied. In August 1998, plaintiffs moved for class certification.
In December 1998, the City moved for summary judgment on all of plaintiffs' claims. In February 1999, plaintiffs filed a motion in circuit court requesting a continuance of all matters pending in that court, including the City's motion for summary judgment. The circuit court granted a series of continuances. In June 1999, the federal district court dismissed all of the plaintiffs' federal claims with prejudice and declined to exercise jurisdiction over any of their state law claims. See Endsley v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 276 (7th Cir. 2000).
In November 1999, the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. The circuit court did not rule on the motion for class certification.
The plaintiffs in the instant case are seeking reversal of the trial court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment. Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings and discovery, construed in the non-movant's favor, show that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Town Crier, Inc. v. Department of Revenue, 315 Ill. App. 3d 286, 290, 733 N.E.2d 780 (2000). A circuit court's grant of summary judgment is subject to de novo review. Town Crier, 315 Ill. App. 3d at 290.
Plaintiffs contend that Illinois common law requires Skyway toll revenue use be limited to the public interest sought to be served, which is to defray the expense of providing the Skyway, not to provide payment for unrelated transportation projects. Defendants contend that the Skyway is not subject to the common law duty to limit its toll revenue to the amount of its reasonable operating costs because the Skyway is not the type of enterprise to which the common law ...