Governor Pritzker extended Illinois’ stay-at-home order on May 1, 2020 (the “Extended Order”). The extension was met with mixed emotions but some Illinoisans were ready to take legal action.
State Representatives Darren Bailey and local John Cabello have led the charge on lawsuits filed against the governor. Darren Bailey, of Clay County, Bailey filed a lawsuit alleging that Governor Pritzker superseded his authority by extending the stay-at-home order. He filed a second lawsuit on May 13, 2020. The amended complaint alleges that Governor Pritzker did not have the authority to grant an Illinois Emergency under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act. This new allegation came in light of the discovery of a memorandum written by Attorney General Jim Ryan’s office back in 2001. The memorandum allegedly states that the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act only allows a governor to utilize any expanded authority for up to 30 days, no more.
The case was set for decision before Clay County Judge Michael McHaney on Friday, May 22, 2020. However, Governor Pritzker requested to move this case from state court to federal court on Thursday afternoon. The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in this case, stating that the measures in place exceed the limits of Governor Pritzker’s office.
John Cabello filed a similar lawsuit. Cabello filed on behalf of himself and similarly situated Illinois citizens. Cabello is a local state representative. He represents the 68th District in Illinois which includes areas of Rockford, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Loves Park, and Cherry Valley. This matter was set for hearing in Winnebago County Circuit Court but has since been moved to federal court.
In addition to these two lawsuits, at least three lawsuits have been filed by small business owners in Illinois. One hair salon and two restaurants filed nearly identical suits in state court. The Attorney General’s office, representing Governor Pritzker, moved for a change of venue to federal court.
Other business owners have filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Pritzker and Illinois due to the adverse economic consequences allegedly caused by the Extended Order. The lawsuit alleges that while all citizens in Illinois benefit from “flattening the curve” the Extended Order has disproportionately affected the business community and the working class. The lawsuit alleges that both the governor and the state of Illinois have violated the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and seeks just compensation.
We will continue to monitor any changes with the legal challenges to the Extended Order and other COVID-19 related matters. Please contact us with any questions you might have. We are here to help you make it through these challenging times.