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Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. v. Village of Hinsdale

December 12, 2001

ALARM DETECTION SYSTEMS, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
THE VILLAGE OF HINSDALE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 99-CH-1362 Honorable Bonnie M. Wheaton, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Geiger

Released for publication January 21, 2002.

ALARM DETECTION SYSTEMS, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
THE VILLAGE OF HINSDALE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 99-CH-1362 Honorable Bonnie M. Wheaton, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Geiger

The plaintiff, Alarm Detention Systems, Inc. (ADS), appeals from the August 29, 2000, order of the circuit court of Du Page County entering summary judgment on behalf of the defendant, the Village of Hinsdale (the Village), on ADS's complaint for injunctive relief. In its complaint, ADS sought the entry of a permanent injunction preventing the Village from enforcing an ordinance that required all owners of commercial buildings to connect their fire alarm systems directly to the Village's fire board for monitoring. In granting summary judgment, the trial court found that the Village had the authority to enact the ordinance under the provisions of the Illinois Municipal Code (the Code) (65 ILCS 5/1--1--1 et seq. (West 1998)). We affirm.

The following facts are relevant to the disposition of this appeal. ADS is state-licensed as a private alarm contractor pursuant to the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, and Locksmith Act of 1993 (225 ILCS 446/1 et seq. (West 1998)). ADS provides fire alarm services to commercial, institutional, and residential customers in over 200 Illinois communities, including Hinsdale. ADS sells and installs fire alarm systems and monitors fire alarm signals at its central monitoring station. ADS has entered into long-term contracts with commercial customers in Hinsdale to provide central station monitoring of their fire alarm systems. ADS's fire alarm systems and its central monitoring station satisfy all the requirements of nationally recognized fire codes.

The Village is a non-home-rule unit of local government that operates its own fire department and fire prevention bureau. The Village also operates a communications center, which includes a fire board that receives alarm signals from certain fire alarm system users in Hinsdale. The Village has entered into an exclusive contract with Security Link/Ameritech to maintain and operate the fire board. Security Link is a competitor of ADS.

Prior to 1999, the Village had adopted various national building and fire prevention codes governing the requirements and use of automatic fire alarm detection systems in certain types of buildings. These codes included the National Building Code of the Building Officials Code Administrators (BOCA). Hinsdale Municipal Code §9--2--1 (1997). BOCA requires that all fire detection systems be installed in accordance with the requirements of the National Fire Alarm Code drafted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 72). BOCA National Building Code §919.1 (1996). Pursuant to NFPA 72, all commercial structures that are required to have an automatic fire alarm system must be monitored by either a central monitoring station or a remote station (e.g., a municipal fire board). NFPA National Fire Alarm Code §5-4.1 (1999).

On March 2, 1999, the Village adopted ordinance No. 99--8, which amended the Village's building code. The ordinance made certain amendments to BOCA's fire alarm system requirements. Specifically, the ordinance amended section 919.4.2 of the BOCA National Building Code (BOCA National Building Code §919.4.2 (1996)) and required the fire alarm of certain commercial structures to be directly connected to the Village's fire board. The ordinance provided, in relevant part:

"919.4.2 Existing Structures: An automatic fire detection system complying with NFPA 72, 1993 edition, or an automatic fire suppression system complying with NFPA 13, 1994 Edition.

A. in each existing building and structure in Use Group A--1; A--2; A--3; and A--5 ***

Each such fire detection system shall be installed and tied directly to the Hinsdale Fire Department Communications Center on or before January 1, 2000. See also Section 904.0 related to fire suppression systems." Hinsdale Municipal Code §9--2--3 (eff. March 12, 1999).

The ordinance was enacted on the basis of Fire Chief Patrick Kenny's recommendation that direct connection to the fire board would reduce the response time to fire alarms, thereby saving lives and property and promoting firefighter safety. Following the enactment of the ordinance, the Village sent letters to the commercial businesses that would be affected by the new ordinance. The letters informed the businesses that their fire detection systems would have to be directly connected to the Village's fire board by January 1, 2000.

On November 29, 1999, ADS filed a six-count complaint seeking the entry of an order permanently enjoining the Village from enforcing the ordinance. The only counts of the complaint that are relevant to the instant appeal are counts I, II, V, and VI. Count I alleged that the ordinance contravened the safety standards adopted by national building and fire codes and was unlawful because its enactment was beyond the scope of the Village's authority as a non-home-rule municipality. Count II alleged the ordinance was a de facto regulation of private alarm contractors that was preempted by the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, and Locksmith Act of 1993 (225 ILCS 446/1 et seq. (West 1998)). Count V alleged that the ordinance was an illegal restraint on trade in violation of the Illinois Antitrust Act (740 ILCS 10/1 et seq. (West 1998)). Count VI alleged that the ordinance deprived ADS of its constitutional right to due process under article I, section 2, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §2).

The parties subsequently filed cross-motions for summary judgment as to counts I, II, V, and VI of the complaint. On August 29, 2000, following a hearing, the trial court granted the Village's motion for summary judgment and denied ADS's motion for summary judgment. In entering its ruling, the trial court explained that the Code grants municipalities broad powers to enact ordinances for the health, safety, and welfare of the community. The trial court found that the ordinance was clearly germane to the community's health, safety, and welfare as it addressed the fire safety needs of the community as determined by the Village. On November 3, 2000, the trial court made an express written finding that there was no just reason for ...


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