Drinker Biddle’s Labor and Employment Practice Group recently received a ruling from the Illinois Appellate Court affirming the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the former Fire Commissioner of the City of Chicago against clients Richard Daley, the former Mayor of Chicago, and his Chief of Staff, Raymond Orozco. Partner Alan King, counsel Noreen Cull and associate Alejandra Lara led Drinker Biddle’s team.

The plaintiff, John Brooks, first sued the City and Mayor Daley in federal court alleging certain constitutional violations arising from his removal from office as the City’s highest ranking fire official. Drinker Biddle’s team was successful in having the federal suit dismissed without an appeal, and Brooks then filed a state court action claiming tortious interference with an advantageous business relationship and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from his removal from office. The team then successfully moved to dismiss the state court complaint and an amended complaint based on the argument that Daley and Orozco enjoyed immunity from suit for their actions in removing Brooks from his post under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act. 

The City’s in-house appellate division lawyers handled the appeal, in close consultation with the Drinker Biddle team and with heavy reliance on the team’s strategy and briefs in the lower court. In a 15-page opinion published on March 18, 2015, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the previous decision dismissing the action based on tort immunity.