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Adt Security Services, Inc., et al v. Lisle-Woodridge Fire Prevention District

July 20, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge


On November 23, 2010 this Court granted a preliminary injunction against defendants Lisle-Woodridge Fire District ("District") and Chicago Metropolitan Fire Prevention Company ("Chicago Metro"). In the wake of that ruling, which is now before our Court of Appeals for review, Plaintiffs*fn1 have filed a motion for partial summary judgment solely against District,*fn2

asserting claims for violations of various constitutional rights, antitrust laws and the Illinois law of tortious interference. Plaintiffs also reiterate their argument that District lacked statutory authority for its actions, the issue that triggered the entry of the preliminary injunction.

In Plaintiffs' view, success on those substantive claims entitles them to injunctive and declaratory relief against District in the form of a permanent injunction, as well as damages. Needless to say, District has responded with a vigorous opposition to Plaintiffs' contentions. After careful consideration of both sides' submissions, this Court grants Plaintiffs' motion and orders the issuance of a permanent injunction for the reasons set forth below.*fn3

Summary Judgment Standard

Every Rule 56 movant bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact (Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322--23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)). For that purpose courts consider the evidentiary record in the light most favorable to nonmovants and draw all reasonable inferences in their favor (Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002)). But a non-movant must produce more than "a mere scintilla of evidence" to support the position that a genuine issue of material fact exists (Wheeler v. Lawson, 539 F.3d 629, 634 (7th Cir. 2008)) and "must come forward with specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial" (id.).*fn4

Ultimately summary judgment is warranted only if a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the non-movant (Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). What follows is a summary of the relevant facts,*fn5 viewed of course in the light most favorable to non-movant District.

Factual Background

Plaintiffs are companies that sell fire and burglar alarm monitoring services to commercial buildings and multifamily residential buildings in the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Prevention District (Compl. ¶¶2-6). Plaintiffs monitor those fire alarm systems pursuant to standards promulgated by District, which is organized under the Illinois Fire Protection District Act ("Act,"

70 ILCS 705/1 to 705/24).*fn6 All Plaintiffs except ADT transmit fire alarm signals to central stations by means of wireless radio transmitters (P. St. ¶¶2, 9). In case of a fire alarm, central station operators alert Dupage Public Safety Communications ("DuComm"), which in turn communicates with District to coordinate any necessary emergency response (id. ¶10).

ADT, by contrast, uses a phone-based network that transmits signals to a transmission board at District, which is itself directly connected to Du-Comm's fire alarm board (hence the term "direct connect")(P. St. ¶¶11, 12). ADT does not use wireless technology because a prior ordinance had prohibited central station monitoring outside the Chicago metropolitan area, while all of ADT's central stations are located outside of Illinois (id. ¶11).

Both types of Plaintiffs' systems (wireless and telephonic) were in compliance with national standards and approved by District (P. St. ¶¶7, 13). Typically the customers for whom Plaintiffs have agreed to provide fire alarm monitoring services have (or had) contracts of a duration of five to seven years, with provisions for automatic renewal (id. ¶3).

Dissatisfied with the reliability of ADT's phone-based system,*fn7 in 2007 District studied the feasability of replacing it with a wireless radio network and concluded that such action would have numerous safety-related and efficiency-related advantages (P. St. ¶14; D. St. ¶¶11-14). In September 2009 District's Board of Trustees adopted and implemented Ordinance 09-06 (the "Ordinance"), which mandated the use of a direct-connect wireless (as opposed to phone-based) fire alarm monitoring network (P. St. ¶34). That wireless radio system was to send signals directly to District and thus eliminate the need for central stations (id. ¶36).

To implement that wireless network, the Ordinance specified that District would purchase the necessary equipment and a company of its choice would operate it (Compl. Ex. B). Subscribers were required to enter into five-year contracts and pay fees for the provision of that service (id.). District's motivation in passing the Ordinance was self-described as an "effort to provide better protection against fire" (id.). District later entered into a five-year contract with Chicago Metro to install and then maintain the wireless network (P. St. ¶36; D. St. ¶22).*fn8

Thus District agreed to purchase radios from Chicago Metro and took out a significant loan to cover the cost of purchasing, maintaining and monitoring ...

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