Articles Posted in Illinois Supreme Court

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The trial court dismissed a third amended class action complaint filed in connection with power outages during severe storms. The complaint alleged negligence, breach of contract, and violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/1). The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The electric utility's tariff precludes an award of damages; even if such claims were not barred, jurisdiction over matters relating to the utility's service and infrastructure lies with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The Consumer Fraud Act claim alleged that that the company knew or should have known that it failed to sufficiently establish policies and procedures to prevent controllable interruptions of power and to timely respond to those interruptions, in order to protect the health, safety, comfort and convenience of its customers, including those on the life support registry. The claim failed because the company is not required to prioritize those on the life support registry and does not intend that those on the registry rely on it doing so.

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Based on faxes received in 2002, advertising discount travel, plaintiff filed a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 U.S.C. 227. The trial court denied motions to dismiss, but certified questions to the appellate court. On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the TCPA forms part of the law enforceable in Illinois courts without the need for the Illinois General Assembly to enact enabling legislation to permit private claims. The appellate court's discussion of the assignability of TCPA claims amounted to an advisory opinion because the amended complaint under discussion alleged that the plaintiff at issue had, itself, received junk faxes from the defendant. The court remanded for consideration of whether the claim is subject to the Illinois two-year limitations period for actions including personal injuries and statutory penalties (735 ILCS 5/13-202) or the four-year limitations period for federal civil actions (28 U.S.C. 1658).