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Jarmuth v. City of Chicago

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

May 19, 2014

JEFFREY J. JARMUTH, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., Defendants

Jeffrey J. Jarmuth, Plaintiff, Pro se, Chicago, IL.

For City Of Chicago, Gregory Steadman, Local Liquor Commissioner, Defendants: Grant Erwin Ullrich, City Of Chicago Department Of Law, Chicago, IL.

Page 890

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Robert M. Dow, Jr., United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Jeffrey Jarmuth filed a four-count complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against Defendants City of Chicago and Local Liquor Commissioner Gregory Steadman, asserting equal protection (Count I) and substantive due process (Count II) violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as state law claims for a petition for writ of mandamus pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/14-101 (Count III) and indemnification pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/9-102 (Count IV). In short, Plaintiff seeks to prevent liquor licenses from being issued near where he lives.

Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's federal claims and urge the Court to decline to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims. In his response brief, Plaintiff concedes that the complaint does not state a claim for a substantive due process violation--or, as Plaintiff puts it, " does not amount to a deprivation that 'shocks the conscience' in the sense required in a substantive due process

Page 891

claim" --and " withdraws Count II." Pl.'s Resp. at 13. Additionally, for the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss [14] with respect to the remaining federal claim -- for equal protection (Count I) -- and dismisses Plaintiff's state law claims without prejudice.

I. Background[1]

Plaintiff is a resident of the City of Chicago and resides within a geographic area that in November 1982 was designated as the 7th precinct of the 42nd ward of the City, which is bounded by Elm Street on the south, State Street on the west, Division Street on the north, and Lake Shore Drive on the east (the " 1982 7th Precinct" ). On November 2, 1982, the residents of the 1982 7th Precinct voted to prohibit the retail sale of all alcoholic liquor within the 1982 7th Precinct pursuant to Article IX of the Illinois Liquor Control Act (" ILCA" ). In his complaint, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have incorrectly decided, under the Illinois Liquor Control Act, that since at least June 14, 1984, liquor licenses may be issued in the portion of the 1982 7th Precinct bounded by Elm Street on the south, State Street on the West, Division Street on the north, and the alley immediately east of State Street on the east--as Plaintiff refers to it, the " annexed area." According to Plaintiff, Defendants have taken steps to issue a liquor license for an address within this area and, in turn, have violated Plaintiffs rights under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In May or June of 1984, the City received a petition to discontinue the prohibition on the retail sale of alcoholic liquors in the " annexed area" pursuant to Section 173.1(b) (now Section 9-9(b)) of the ILCA), which the Court will refer to as the " wet" petition. The City's Law Department issued a letter to the City Clerk advising that the wet petition appeared to conform to the requirements of the Act. Because no objections had been filed, the Clerk filed the petition and the prohibition was discontinued in the " annexed area" as of June 14, 1984.

According to the complaint, certain residents of the 1982 7th Precinct became aware of the wet petition in mid-1984 and raised concerns.[2] According to Plaintiff, the alderman who represented the area from 1971 until 2007 indicated that he considered the area to be " dry" at several public meetings in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and a document entitled " City of Chicago '07-'08 Zoning Map" indicated the area was " dry." No liquor license applications

Page 892

for locations in the 1982 7th Precinct were submitted ...


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