The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM 0PINION AND ORDER
This Court has plowed its way through the four-inch-thick paper blizzard generated by the competing alarm companies in this action--co-defendant Chicago Metropolitan Fire Prevention Company ("Chicago Metro") on one side of the current debate and all the plaintiff alarm companies ("Alarm Companies") on the other--comprising the submissions in support of and in opposition to Chicago Metro's second effort to prevail short of trial. For their part the Alarm Companies have coupled their opposition to Chicago Metro's Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 56 motion with a cross-motion of their own, and Chicago Metro has responded to that effort.
In brief, Chicago Metro seeks to slice and dice its integral and symbiotic involvement in the initial action by the LisleWoodridge Fire Protection District ("District") that declared the existing service contracts to which the Alarm Companies were parties to be "null and void," leaving Chicago Metro as the only game in town. Essentially Chicago Metro attempts to downplay its inextricable involvement in that effort as though it were a sort of innocent beneficiary of that plan. But this Court initially responded to Chicago Metro's like Rule 56 motion a year ago by a brief ruling that a rational factfinder could reasonably view the situation through a totally different lens, and that remains true today.
Attached to this opinion are pages 2 and 3 of the Alarm Companies' responsive memorandum of law. What is said there by way of summary, amplified in detail in the pages that follow, torpedoes Chicago Metro's self-portrayal as a sort of Jack Horner that put its thumb into the District-conceived plan and--voila!--pulled out the plum of an exclusive arrangement for itself.
Although of course this Court does not now rule in favor of the Alarm Companies as a matter of law, any such ruling is unnecessary to scotch Chicago Metro's effort to obtain such a ruling in its favor. Instead this Court once again determines that a factfinder, instructed as to the relevant criteria under Burton v. Wilmington Parking Auth., 365 U.S. 715 (1961) and its progeny, could reasonably find Chicago Metro to be a "state actor" so as to bring constitutional principles and 42 U.S.C. §1983 into play.
As for the other branch of the Alarm Companies' claim against Chicago Metro, a claim based on potential antitrust liability, any possible "state action immunity" defense to defeat such a claim likewise calls for a factual--not a legal--resolution (see Alarm Companies' Mem. 10-12). And Chicago Metro's effort to call the Noerr-Pennington doctrine to its aid simply doesn't fit the contested facts here.
On the other side of the coin, however, the Alarm Companies' cross-motion under Rule 56 is puzzling. Like Chicago Metro, the Alarm Companies have not demonstrated their entitlement to a favorable ruling as a matter of law.
Conclusion In summary, Chicago Metro's Rule 56 motion (Dkt. 230) and the Alarm Companies' cross-motion (Dkt. 307) are denied. This action is set for a status hearing at 8:45 a.m. September 13, 2012 to discuss what if any further proceedings should take place at this District Court level in light of the currently pending interlocutory appeals.
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