THE VILLAGE OF BOLINGBROOK, an Illinois Municipal Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ILLINOIS-AMERICAN WATER COMPANY, an Illinois Corporation, and AMERICAN LAKE WATER COMPANY, an Illinois Corporation, Defendants-Appellants.
from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 10-CH-6838 Honorable Raymond E.
Rossi, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Mark P. Rotatori, Mark W. DeMonte,
Nicole C. Henning, and Elizabeth E. Manning, of Jones Day, of
Chicago, for appellants.
Attorneys for Appellee: Kenneth M. Florey and M. Neal Smith,
of Robbins Schwartz Nicholas Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., of
Bolingbrook, for appellee.
JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Presiding Justice Schmidt dissented, with opinion.
1 The plaintiff, the Village of Bolingbrook (Village), filed
a breach of contract claim against the defendants,
Illinois-American Water Company and American Lake Water
Company. Following an appeal to this court, in which this
court held the circuit court of Will County did not have
subject-matter jurisdiction and vacated the circuit
court's rulings (Village of Bolingbrook v.
Illinois-American Water Co., 2016 IL App (3d) 150425-U),
the plaintiff filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its claim
pursuant to section 2-1009 of the Code of Civil Procedure
(Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1009 (West 2016)). The trial court
granted the plaintiffs motion. Defendants appeal, arguing the
trial court did not have the authority or jurisdiction to
enter an order granting the voluntary dismissal.
3 On November 2, 2010, the Village filed a breach of contract
claim against defendants in the circuit court of Will County.
Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing the
complaint was insufficient to state a claim and that the
Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) had exclusive jurisdiction
over the Village's claim so that the trial court lacked
subject-matter jurisdiction. On April 5, 2011, the trial
court denied defendants' motion to dismiss. The parties
filed motions for summary judgment, with defendants again
arguing the ICC had exclusive jurisdiction over the
Village's claim. On January 7, 2015, the trial court
granted summary judgment in favor of the Village in part,
finding defendants were in breach of the parties' water
delivery contract from 2004 through 2008. On February 5,
2015, defendants motioned the trial court to reconsider its
ruling, again arguing, among other things, that the ICC had
exclusive jurisdiction and the trial court had no authority
to enter the order granting partial summary judgment in favor
of the Village. On May 7, 2015, the trial court entered a
written order indicating that defendant's motion to
reconsider was "granted in part and denied in part for
the reasons stated in open court on May 7, 2015 (at 10:00)
with a written order to follow." The trial court denied
the motion to reconsider in regard to its finding of a breach
of contract but found that the amount of the Village's
damages should be determined by the ICC. On May 19, 2015, the
trial court entered a four-page written "ruling on
motion to reconsider," indicating its finding that the
trial court had jurisdiction to decide the issue of whether a
breach of contract had occurred was to stand but the issue of
damages should be presented by the parties to the ICC.
4 The Village appealed to this court, arguing that the trial
court erred in ruling that its damages should be adjudicated
before the ICC. Defendants also appealed to this court,
arguing the trial court did not have subject-matter
jurisdiction to hear the claim because the ICC had exclusive
jurisdiction over the entirety of the claim. Specifically,
defendants indicated on the notice of appeal that they were
appealing from the order entered on May 19, 2015, and
"all prior opinions, orders, and rulings subsumed
therein, including those addressing jurisdiction." The
defendants also stated in the notice of appeal that they were
requesting a reversal, or partial reversal, of the trial
court's January 7, February 5, and May 19, 2015, rulings.
This court found that the trial court did not have
jurisdiction over the Village's claim because the ICC had
exclusive jurisdiction, held the trial court's rulings
were void, vacated the trial court's rulings, and
determined that this court was "left without
jurisdiction and [could] only dismiss the appeal."
Bolingbrook, 2016 IL App (3d) 150425-U, ¶¶
2, 13, 19-20. This court's order was filed on June 2,
2016, and the mandate was issued on November 8, 2016.
5 On May 30, 2017, the Village filed its claim against
defendants with the ICC. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss
that claim, arguing it was time-barred by the statute of
6 On June 26, 2017, in the circuit court, the Village filed a
"motion to voluntarily dismiss, without prejudice"
pursuant to section 2-1009 of the Code. In the motion, the
Village indicated it was seeking the dismissal without
prejudice "so as to proceed with its case before the
Illinois Commerce Commission" and agreed to pay
defendants' court costs. In response, defendants opposed
the Village's motion to voluntarily dismiss, arguing
there was no case to dismiss because this court had
involuntary dismissed the complaint on appeal and because the
trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order because it
did not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim. The
trial court granted the Village's motion to voluntarily
dismiss the complaint pursuant to section 2-1009 of the Code.
7 Defendants appealed.
9 On appeal in this case, defendants argue that (1) the trial
court lacked jurisdiction over the Village's motion for a
voluntary dismissal because it lacked subject-matter
jurisdiction over the Village's claim, (2) the trial
court violated this court's mandate where this court held
"the trial court d[id] not have jurisdiction to hear
plaintiffs compliant" and determined that the trial
court's rulings were void, and (3) the trial court did
not have the authority to grant the Village's request for
a "voluntary" dismissal of the complaint ...