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Murphy v. Village of Plainfield

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 16, 2013

Mark E. MURPHY and Pamela S. Murphy, Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF PLAINFIELD, a municipal corporation, Plainfield Township, Defendants.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Timothy P. Dwyer, Law Office of Timothy P. Dwyer, St. Charles, IL, for Plaintiffs.

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Jeannine Stephanie Gilleran, Litchfield Cavo, LLC, Andrew Russell Stuart, Joshua Michael Feagans, Langhenry Gillen, Lundquist & Johnson, LLC, Justin J. Harrison, Swanson, Martin & Bell, Chicago, IL, Troy Allen Lundquist, Langhenry, Gillen, Lundquist & Johnson, LLC, Joliet, IL, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOAN HUMPHREY LEFKOW, District Judge.

In this § 1983 civil rights action, plaintiffs, Mark E. Murphy and Pamela S. Murphy (" the Murphys" ), claim that the Village of Plainfield (" the Village" ) and Plainfield Township (" the Township" ) took their property in violation of the takings clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution (Count V). The Murphys also claim that the Village deprived them of equal protection of the laws based on a class-of-one theory of selective prosecution. (Count VII). Am. Compl. at 16. They also assert against the Village municipal liability under Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978) (Count VIII).[1] The remainder of the claims rely on Illinois law: Count I is a claim against the Village and the Township for negligent trespass. Count II is a claim against the Village for willful and wanton conduct. Count III is a claim against the Village and the Township for intentional trespass. Count IV alleges violation of the takings clause of the Constitution of Illinois, art. 1, sec. 15.[2] The Village has moved for summary judgment with respect to all claims against it (counts I, II, III, IV, V, VII, and VIII). Likewise, the Township seeks summary judgment on all claims against it (counts I, III, IV, and V). [Dkts. 123, 126]. The court will grant summary judgment in favor of the defendants on Counts VII and VIII. The remainder of the case must be remanded to the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court, Will County, Illinois.

BACKGROUND[3]

I. The Murphys' Flooding Issues

In 1990, the Murphys purchased 16141 South Farmingdale Drive in unincorporated Plainfield Township for $145,000. The Murphys' property is surrounded by subdivisions and developments annexed by and located within the Village. Shortly after the Murphys moved into their home, the Village annexed and began developing three subdivisions surrounding their property, Spangler Farms, Vintage Harvest, and Arbor Place. In 1993, during the development of the Vintage Harvest subdivision, the Murphys noticed standing water in their backyard. Their property continued to flood as and after the Village developed additional subdivisions. The Murphys believed that the additional subdivisions

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were the cause of their flooding issues. In 2006, water seeped into the eastern portion of their basement. Additionally, in 2006, the Murphys removed their pool and decking material from their backyard because the structures began to buckle. As a result of the problems with flooding, the Township's tax assessor reduced the Murphys' home assessment value by 75 percent.

II. The Village's Maintenance of Stormwater Systems and Detention Ponds

The Village's Department of Public Works maintained the stormwater systems within the Village. Before approving the construction of new subdivisions, the Village required subdivision developers to submit a proposal to its Planning Committee, which would consult with Village engineers about the proposed development. A Village Plan Commission would then review the plans and recommend to the Village President and Board of Trustees whether to approve the subdivision. If questions arose at any time during the review process, the Village would return the plan to the developer to address the Village's concerns. The Spangler Farms, Vintage Harvest, and Arbor Place subdivisions all passed the Village's review process before their annexation.

These subdivisions each included at least one pre-engineered stormwater detention pond. Periodically, the Department of Public Works, pursuant to the Village's Drainage and Detention Ordinance, drained the detention ponds. The ordinance permitted pumping the detention ponds when " draining by gravity [was] not feasible." (Village L.R. 56.1, Ex. 4; § 713) Allen Persons, the Village Director of Public Works, testified that pumping the detention ponds alleviated the effects of flooding resulting from excess stormwater in the surrounding subdivisions. The Village pumped water from the detention ponds onto land ...


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