Select an Area of Practice
Areas of Practice
Heyl Royster has a long history of representing governmental bodies both as regular and special counsel. We recognize that this representation requires expertise in constitutional, statutory and regulatory law, but also common sense and an appreciation for the public position held by our client officials. We are proud of the long association we have had with many of our governmental clients.
Our work in this area has run the gamut from drafting ordinances and general operational issues to litigation over annexations and conflicts with employee unions. We have substantial experience with intergovernmental agreements, governmental liability and immunities, the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, prevailing wage requirements, problem officials, and budgets and levies. We have frequently dealt with public employment issues. Our clients include the state government, state universities, counties, cities, villages, townships, road districts, fire districts, and park districts. We have likewise represented private entities dealing with public bodies.
Our practice group conducts quarterly seminars for governmental officials and publishes a quarterly newsletter on governmental issues. We regularly publish articles to assist fellow lawyer and governmental clients.
Three of our attorneys have served as president of the Illinois Township Attorneys' Association. Practice group members have won numerous awards for their work in this field.
Champaign Police Pension Fund
Cincinnati Township and Road District
General Assistance Training Institute (GATI)
Hollis Township Road District
Kickapoo Township and Road District
Limestone Township and Road District
Limestone Township Fire Protection District
Madison Police Department
Medina Township and Road District
Peoria County Sheriff's Merit Commission
Regional Transportation Authority – Chicago (RTA)
Village of Norwood
- Ridenour v. Kaiser-Hill Co. 397 F.3d 925 (10th Cir. 2005) Successful defense of government contractor in False Claims Act appeal averting revelation of classified information and adopting the Sequoia standard of review.
- A.F.S.C.M.E., et al. v. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, et al. - Illinois Governor made the executive decision to close the Pontiac Prison – part of the Illinois Department of Corrections system. In response, The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (A.F.S.C.M.E.) and others filed suit against the Governor and other defendants claiming the Governor did not have the right to take that action and sought a writ of mandamus Order commanding the Governor to reverse his decision and to continue operating the prison. A.F.S.C.M.E. also sought a temporary restraining Order (T.R.O.) preventing the Governor or the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections from taking any action consistent with closing the prison until the Court ruled on the plaintiff's request for the writ. We responded to the Plaintiff's T.R.O. asking the Court to deny the issuance of the T.R.O. and filed a Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint for Writ of Mandamus. The Court denied the request for the temporary restraining order. The Court later dismissed the entire cause of action brought by Plaintiffs.
- Peters v. Village of Clifton 498 F.3d 727 (7th Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 128 S. Ct. 1472 (2008) Plaintiff sued a municipality, alleging a takings claim. The federal complaint was dismissed on grounds that the district court had no subject matter jurisdiction over the takings claim. The case was appealed to, and affirmed by, the Seventh Circuit. The plaintiff filed a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and that petition was denied.
- Doe v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois 429 F. Supp. 2d 930 (N.D. Ill. 2006) A former student sued the University of Illinois after he was dismissed from the medical school program. The fifteen count federal complaint asserted damages in excess of $100,000,000. Several counts were dismissed at the pleading stage and the entire lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice before discovery closed.
- Joanne Meyer, as Executor of the Estate of Jack Meyer v. Coal Valley Fire Protection 93 L 327 (Rock Island County) Wrongful death case wherein it was claimed that emergency response personnel failed to properly respond to a 911 call which delayed treatment. The verdict was not guilty.
- Cunningham v. Moody 99 L 25 (Henry County) 2002 The plaintiff claimed the defendant, a Colona, Illinois police officer, utilized excessive force when arresting and physically subduing the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed he brandished a baseball bat to defend himself from an imminent assault by three individuals who were part of a volatile crowd. The plaintiff claimed he heard someone from behind order him to drop the bat and that he was immediately maced and struck in the face before he had a reasonable opportunity to determine a police officer was the individual giving him the command. The defendant claimed he gave the plaintiff several warnings before utilizing physical force. The plaintiff sustained a small fracture of the jaw, soft tissue damage, and permanent nerve damage. The plaintiff asked the jury for $116,000. The verdict was not guilty.
- City of Springfield v. Hashman 332 Ill. App. 3d 748 (4th Dist. 2002) Application of various provisions of the Illinois Municipal Code and city ordinances governing the ability of a municipality such as the City of Springfield to prevent pollution of its public water supply (Lake Springfield), and even if that entails going beyond its corporate limit to do so.
- Baker v. West Peoria Township 286 Ill. App. 3d 1137 (3d Dist. 1997) Nuisance case brought by township (our client) against local race track; race track shut down; affirmed on appeal.
- Steelman v. City of Collinsville 319 Ill. App. 3d 1131 (5th Dist. 2001) The IRS's seizure of funds being held by a municipal police department did not constitute a conversion of those funds by the department.
- "The Execution of Humberto Leal Garcia; Garcia v. Texas (July 7, 2011)," ILSA Quarterly Magazine (2011)
- “New Laws for the New Year” (2013)," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2013) - Download Article
- "The Cemetery Oversight Act: What You Need to Know at the Local Level," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2013) - Download Article
- "The Effect of The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act on Municipalities" (2013) - Download Article
- "Municipal Contracts" supplement chapter in Municipal Law, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2012) - Download Chapter
- "Religious Symbols in Cemeteries: When Cemetery Decorations Cross the Line of Constitutional Violations," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2012) - Download Article
- "Snow Removal, Tort Immunity, and the ADA," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2012) - Download Article
- "Can Public Bodies Claim Records Are 'Outside the Scope' of a FOIA Request?" – Local Government Law, ISBA Section on Local Government Law Newsletter (2012)
- "Frequently Asked Election Questions," with Jeffrey R. Jurgens, Township Officials of Illinois Perspective Magazine (2012)
- "Public Unions and the Collective Bargaining Process," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
- "Employee Manuals: Managing Expectations/Complying with the Law," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011)
- "Public (and Private) Projects Influenced by the Prevailing Wage Act," Heyl Royster Commercial Litigation Newsletter (2011) - Download Article.
- "Is Information On Privately-Owned Electronic Devices Subject To FOIA?—What Public Access Binding Opinion No. 11-006 Means To You And Your Government Clients," Local Government Law, ISBA Section on Local Government Law Newsletter (2011)
- "Introduction to the Open Meetings Act" chapter in Illinois' Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011) - Download Article
- "Illinois Tort Immunity Act Part 2," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Approval of Plats v. Acceptance of Roadways," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Local Government Prompt Payment Act," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "Equipment of a Public Entity or Private Company on Your Right-of-Way – Is the Road District's Prior Consent Required?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "A New Court Opinion on the Open Meetings Act: Is Your Notice, Agenda, and Meeting Site Good Enough for a Special Meeting?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "The Freedom of Information Act: Change is Here," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
- "New Laws Allow 80,000 Pound Legal Loads and More Width on Roadways," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Articles
- "The Tort Immunity Act," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Legislative Update," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Cemetery Maintenance Districts," chapter in Special Districts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2009) - Download Article
- General Editor, Special Districts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2009)
- "Second District Appellate Court Addresses Conflicting Statutory Powers of Township Board and Electors," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Good Samaritans in California May Think Twice Before Rendering Aid to the Injured: Could the Same Happen in Illinois?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
- "Repairing and Restoring Private Cemeteries," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2008) - Download Article
- "DeSpain v. City of Collinsville and the Freedom of Information Act: What Do We Do When a Citizen Requests Our Meeting Audiotapes?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2008) - Download Article
- "An Introduction to the Prevailing Wage Act for Township Officials," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2008) - Download Article
- "Criminal Discovery and the Costs of Reproduction: A Burden Taxpayers Should Not Have to Bear," Northern Illinois University Law Review (2006)
- "The Dynamics of State and Local Protest Litigation," Contract Mgmt (2006)
- "The Consequences of Mutually Mistaken Facts in Contracting," Contract Mgmt (2005)
- "10 Principles for Receiving High-Quality Legal Services," Contract Mgmt (2005)
- "The Use and Misuse of Contingent Fees in Government Contracting," Contract Mgmt (2003)
- "The Federal Mentor-Protege Program," Contract Mgmt (2003)