Hal Morris, Allan Goldberg, Laura Marinelli, Katelyn Miller and Elizabeth Thompson file amicus brief noted by CAI

Hal Morris, Allan Goldberg, Laura Marinelli, Katelyn Miller and Elizabeth Thompson file amicus brief noted by CAI
March 26, 2014

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partners, Hal Morris, Allan Goldberg, Laura Marinelli, and Chicago Associate, Elizabeth Thompson, agreed to prepare an amicus brief for the Illinois Chapter of Community Association Institute (CAI). On March 19, over the vociferous objection of the plaintiff/appellee to the matter, the Supreme Court granted the motion to file the amicus brief. This is a very difficult to achieve result as the Illinois Supreme Court does not grant many non-governmental requests to file amicus briefs. Obviously, the request and brief made important points that the Court believed would assist in the decision and the shaping of Illinois law. On March 20, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in the case and cited the firm’s amicus brief. At issue was whether a condominium “association’s purported failure to repair or maintain the common elements is germane to the proceeding [for forcible entry and detainer], and thus may be raised by the unit owner in defense.”

The Court held, as urged by our amicus filing, that the purported failure to repair and maintain common elements is not germane and, therefore, not a viable defense to an action based on a failure to pay assessments. In reaching this ruling, the Supreme Court rejected analogies to landlord-tenant law, noted that a contrary finding would be inconsistent with the expeditious nature of forcible entry proceedings, is not statutorily permitted under the Condominium Act, and would upset the operation of condominiums. In making this ruling, the Court adopted our arguments, including those concerning statutory construction and our analogy that a taxpayer cannot lawfully refuse to pay a tax because of a disagreement with the taxing body so a condominium owner should similarly not be permitted. The impact of this ruling is significant to common interest associations and their ability to secure the payment of assessments. In addition, because of the technical requirements imposed on amicus filings, significant credit should also go to Chicago Assistant June Taylor in the preparation of the brief.

Allan Goldberg, and the attorneys involved are noted on March 21 on behalf of the Illinois Chapter of the Community Associations Institute or “CAI-IL” on a pro bono basis regarding this case. The amicus brief raised concerns of the possible broad legal effects of this court decision in Illinois as well as on a national level if the Illinois Supreme Court did not reverse the Appellate Court’s decision. Both CAI-IL and the International Legal Assistance Consortium or “ILAC” are grateful for the tremendous hard work and dedication our firm contributed in the preparation of this amicus brief.