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Case Name Harris v. Quinn FA-IL-0012
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-02477 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
On April 22, 2010, individuals who provide home care to disabled individuals enrolled
in Illinois Medicaid-waiver programs filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the State of Illinois, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare ... read more >
On April 22, 2010, individuals who provide home care to disabled individuals enrolled
in Illinois Medicaid-waiver programs filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the State of Illinois, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare of Illinois & Indiana, SIEU Local 73, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31. The plaintiffs, represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, sought an injunction against enforcement of the agency-fee provision of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (PLRA) and a declaration that the law violated the personal assistants' fundamental rights. Plaintiffs claimed that compelling them to financially support the union for purposes of speaking to and petitioning the state infringes on their right of free association, free speech, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances under the First Amendment.

Specifically, plaintiffs work as part of the Illinois' Home Services Program. This program allows Medicaid recipients who would normally need institutional care to hire a "personal assistant" to provide homecare services. Under State law, the care recipients and the State both play some role in the employment relationship with the Personal Assistants. The Illinois Legislature codified this unique employment relationship by amending existing laws so as to acknowledge the right of the persons receiving care to hire and fire personal assistants or supervise them, but declaring personal assistants to be public employees of the state for the purposes of coverage under the Illinois PLRA. The Illinois PLRA authorizes state employees to join labor unions and to bargain collectively on the terms and conditions of employment. The PLRA also contains an agency-fee provision, which requires members of a bargaining unit who do not wish to join the union to nevertheless pay a fee to the union. Following a vote, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana was designated as the personal assistants' exclusive representative for purposes of collective bargaining. Plaintiffs challenged the mandatory contributions under the agency-fee provision.

On November 12, 2010, District Court Judge Sharon Coleman dismissed plaintiffs' claims with prejudice. 2010 WL 4736500. The district court relied on Supreme Court precedent holding that state employees can be required to contribute fair share fees to compensate unions for their representational activities. Plaintiffs appealed. On September 1, 2011, Judge Daniel Manion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision 656 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 2011). The appellate court held that the State of Illinois and the care recipients are joint employers of the personal care providers, and the court stated that it had no difficulty concluding that the State employs personal assistants within the meaning of Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed. 431 U. S. 209 (1977) (upholding the maintaining of a union shop in a public workplace). Plaintiffs sought certiorari and the Supreme Court granted review.

On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court overturned the Seventh Circuit's decision and held that the Illinois PLRA violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights under the First Amendment. 134 S. Ct. 2618 (2014). Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito was heavily critical of the Seventh Circuit's reliance on Abood. The Court noted the questionable foundations of that decision, highlighting its lack of adequate First Amendment analysis and failure to appreciate the distinction between core union speech in the public sector and core union speech in the private sector. The Court went on to stress the distinction between the full-fledged public employees at issue in Abood and the personal assistants at issue here. The Court noted that personal assistants are almost entirely answerable to the care recipient and not to the State, do not enjoy most of the rights and benefits that inure to state employees, and are not indemnified by the State for claims against them arising from actions taken during the course of their employment. Because Abood did not apply, the Court stated that the agency-fee provision of the law must serve a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved through means significantly less restrictive of associational freedoms. The Court found insufficient the interests contended by defendants and held the Illinois PLRA unconstitutional.

Richard Jolly - 10/14/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31
Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois & Indiana
Service Employees International Union Local 73
State of Illinois
Plaintiff Description Individuals who provide home care to disabled individuals enrolled in Illinois Medicaid-waiver programs
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Filed 04/22/2010
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Harris v. Quinn
Date: August 1, 2014
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
N.D. Ill.
FA-IL-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Ill.
Complaint-Class Action [ECF# 1]
FA-IL-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
Memorandum Opinion and Order [granting defendants' motion to dismiss] [ECF# 56] (2010 WL 4736500)
FA-IL-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
[USCA Opinion] [Ct. of App. ECF# 66] (656 F.3d 692)
FA-IL-0012-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Supreme Court
[Supreme Court Opinion] (2014 WL 2921708 / 189 L.Ed.2d 620)
FA-IL-0012-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Supreme Court website
show all people docs
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (Third Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Coleman, Sharon Johnson (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
FA-IL-0012-0002 | FA-IL-0012-9000
Hamilton, David Frank (S.D. Ind., Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Manion, Daniel Anthony (Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Wood, Diane Pamela (Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Haugh, Michael Austin (Illinois) show/hide docs
Messenger, William L. (Virginia) show/hide docs
FA-IL-0012-0001 | FA-IL-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Angelucci, Margaret Ann (Illinois) show/hide docs
Auerbach, Melissa J (Illinois) show/hide docs
Bloch, Robert E (Illinois) show/hide docs
D'Alba, Joel Abbott (Illinois) show/hide docs
Friebus, David Michael (Illinois) show/hide docs
Kronland, Scott A. (California) show/hide docs
West, John M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Willis, Ronald M (Illinois) show/hide docs

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