Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 09 CH 51396. Honorable Neil H. Cohen, Judge Presiding.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part; cause remanded with directions.
In an action under the Freedom of Information Act seeking documents maintained by defendant police department related to complaints of police misconduct, the appellate court found that the documents listing the police officers with the most complaints and referred to as repeater lists and the documents related to completed investigations into allegations of misconduct against five officers and called complaint register files were subject to disclosure; therefore, the trial court's entry of summary judgment for plaintiff as to the repeater lists was affirmed and the entry of summary judgment for defendant as to the complaint register files was reversed, but the cause was remanded to allow the trial court to resolve defendants' claim that some portions of the complaint register files should be redacted pursuant to the deliberative process exemption and to revisit the denial of plaintiff's request for attorney fees in view of the reversal of the judgment for defendants on the issue of the complaint register files.
For PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT: EDWIN F. MANDEL LEGAL AID CLINIC, Chicago, Illinois.
For DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES: Stephen R. Patton, CORPORATION COUNSEL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO; Benna Ruth Solomon, Myriam Zreczny Kasper, Justin A. Houppert, Chicago, Illinois.
PRESIDING JUSTICE CONNORS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Cunningham concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Delort specially concurred in the judgment, with opinion.
[¶1] Plaintiff Jamie Kalven filed suit against defendants Chicago police department (CPD) and City of Chicago pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 ILCS 140/1 et seq . (West 2010)), seeking the disclosure of certain documents related to complaints of police misconduct. Plaintiff and defendants filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the circuit court granted and denied both motions in part. Plaintiff now appeals from the court's ruling that certain documents are exempt from FOIA disclosure and from the denial of attorney fees. Defendants appeal from the court's ruling that certain lists are not exempt from FOIA disclosure. We affirm in part and reverse in part and remand for further proceedings.
[¶2] On November 16, 2009, plaintiff submitted FOIA requests to CPD seeking two types of documents: (1) lists of Chicago
police officers who amassed the most misconduct complaints (referred to as Repeater Lists or RLs); and (2) complaint register files (referred to as CRs) related to CPD's completed investigations into allegations of police misconduct against five officers. On December 8, 2009, CPD denied the requests. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on December 22, 2009, seeking an injunction requiring CPD to produce the documents.
[¶3] The CRs are CPD's records of investigations into complaints made by citizens against police officers. Upon receiving a citizen complaint, CPD generally creates records cataloging the investigation into any officer's alleged misconduct. The CR files consist of the complaint itself and documents created during the investigation of the complaint.
[¶4] The RLs, in contrast, were first compiled by defendants as part of Bond v. Utreras, No. 04 C 2617 (N.D. Ill.) (hereinafter Bond ), and Moore v. City of Chicago, No. 07 C 5908 (N.D. Ill.) (hereinafter Moore ). The Bond RLs identify police officers who accumulated the most misconduct complaints between 2001 and 2006. The Moore RLs identify officers who received more than five complaints from May 2002 to December 2008, as well as officers who were accused of excessive force more than five times during the same time period. These lists were retrieved from CPD's complaint register management system and were produced in response to court-ordered civil discovery in each case. The Bond lists were ordered preserved for ease of production in this case by the circuit court after Bond was settled. The Moore lists were produced as court-ordered discovery in that case and then saved to CPD's computer system.
[¶5] Plaintiff, a reporter who was in the midst of publishing articles on alleged police misconduct, sought leave to intervene in Bond in order to obtain access to the RLs and CRs at issue in that case. The federal court granted plaintiff's motion, but the Seventh Circuit stayed that order pending defendants' appeal. See Bond v. Utreras, 585 F.3d 1061, 1065 (7th Cir. 2009). The Seventh Circuit ultimately ruled that plaintiff lacked standing to intervene in Bond, but noted that plaintiff could seek the same documents from defendants under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. See Bond, 585 F.3d at 1076 n.10.
[¶6] On November 16, 2009, plaintiff submitted FOIA requests to CPD for the RLs and the CRs relating to 17 Chicago police officers, including the 5 officers who were defendants in Bond . CPD, however, denied plaintiff's request. In response to the denial, plaintiff filed this lawsuit against defendants on December 22, 2009.
[¶7] In the circuit court, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. In regard to the CRs, the court found that they were exempt from disclosure under FOIA because they are " [r]ecords relating to a public body's adjudication of *** disciplinary cases." 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(n) (West 2010). Regarding the RLs, the circuit court found that section 7(1)(m), which exempts documents prepared in anticipation of litigation for attorneys representing a public body, did not exempt the RLs from disclosure. See 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(m) (West 2010). The circuit court further found that the RLs were public records subject to disclosure under section 2(c). See 5 ILCS 140/2(c) (West 2010). Finally, the circuit court found that plaintiff, having succeeded on his claim for the RLs but failing on his claim for the CRs, did not ...