For 25 years, municipalities have relied on Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona to represent them in absolutely every kind of case a municipality could have. Our geographic scope is immense, covering everywhere from inner-tier communities to exurban diaspora: the Chicago suburbs, the outlying counties, and far-flung farming areas as well.

Municipalities place their trust in GKWW because of a shared context. After all, GKWW’s partners understand these issues from the distinct vantage point of elected officials. Tom Gardiner served as trustee of the Village of Glenwood and Prairie State College for a cumulative total of 21 years. He currently serves on a Plan Commission and served the Board of Education for a high school district. James Koch is the former president on the board of New Trier High School, in Northfield Illinois, and has served as the president of the Board of Governors for the North Suburban Special Education District. In these capacities, we have garnered extensive familiarity with the pressures placed on elected officials and executives–and thus demonstrate the ability to provide sound counsel that protects both community and leadership.

We have successfully defended municipalities against discrimination suits concerning sex, race, national origin and religion; in claims of discrimination involving employment and housing; in contract disputes and municipal tax contests; in negotiated union contracts and retaliatory discharge claims; in situations where municipal employees were accused of sexual harassment and molestation.

We also represent municipalities in matters of police brutality, malicious prosecution, false arrest constitutional rights, wrongful conviction and class-of-one equal protection claims. We have defended municipalities in disputes involving proposed zoning code revisions, in challenges to municipal ordinances and in matters involving annexation agreements.

We invite you to review the Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona blog, where we offer a look at our most recent successes. As you see, municipalities benefit significantly from our expert help. Contact Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona for a free consultation.

Since our establishment in 1992, Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona has brought a sophisticated, well-knit mosaic of expertise to bear in several practice areas. We are aggressive, ethical advisers who get things done.

To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable staff, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Explore our focus areas within our municipal law practice.

Civil
Rights

Discrimination Claims

Due Process Claims

Equal Protection

Police Brutality

Political Retaliation

Developer Disputes

Contract Disputes

Municipal Ordinances

Open Meetings Act

Freedom of Information Act

De-Annexation Claims

Civil Rights

Municipalities have long relied on GKWW’s attorneys to represent them in very varied litigation across the wide sphere of civil rights.

We have successfully defended municipalities against claims of sex, race, national origin, religion and employment discrimination. We’ve defended retaliatory discharge claims, as well as claims concerning political firings and hirings. We have handled police brutality, malicious prosecution, false arrest, wrongful conviction, class-of-one equal protection claims and constitutional rights cases. We have defended municipalities against claims of housing discrimination. We have been involved in cases in which municipal employees were accused of sexual harassment and molestation.

Due Process Claims

Traditionally, due process claims sit on the basis of constitutional claims for civil rights violations. More recently, however, the issue has broadened to issues of property.

We have extensive experience in handling cases in which municipalities are accused of not having afforded property owners due process when considering proposals. (Often, these claims are brought by developers.)

Equal Protection

Equal protection claims have traditionally been made in connection with civil rights discrimination claims. In recent years, however, equal protection claims have often been made by property owners based upon the claim that they are being treated differently than similarly situated property owners. For example: a case may arise in which a zoning ordinance (or denial of a variance) might have a disproportionate impact on one property owner. These equal protection “class of one” cases have become quite prevalent, and we are well versed in the law.

Police Brutality

Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona has built an impressive reputation for expertise, experience and achievement on behalf of its clients in matters of police brutality. We have litigated on behalf of our clients involving not just police brutality but misconduct and harassment, as well. Tom Gardiner and Jim Koch have spent their entire careers handling cases involving related claims-including an argument before the United States Supreme Court.

Political Retaliation

When a new political administration comes into power, the administration is often elected to facilitate change. Changes are made to both policy and personnel. Sometimes, the municipality’s finances require the reduction of personnel or the reassignment of job functions.
To make such changes may be perfectly legitimate, but such changes must be made within the protections afforded by the law. For example: a non-exempt employee may not be terminated simply for political reasons, and job duties cannot be dramatically changed to punish the politically active employee. If rules are not followed–including union rules–then the employee may have a legitimate claim.

Developer Disputes

Because of the exceptionally complicated nature of the development process, disputes often arise regarding the precise meaning of documents and the extent of the approvals granted them. Our firm has handled a great many developer disputes, on behalf of all parties involved in the development process, and guided them to a successful conclusion.

Challenges to Municipal Ordinaces

Municipal ordinances cannot violate state or federal law. Our firm demonstrates extensive expertise in analyzing such ordinances in the context of other laws.

We recommend approval, revision, or withdrawal of proposed ordinances where pertinent. In cases within which unconstitutional ordinances have been passed, we challenge them on behalf of taxpayers and citizens.

Open Meetings Act

Our firm frequently deals with the obligation of governmental units and committees to satisfy the requirements of the Open Meetings Act. Because of our expertise, we have given a speech between a very large regional Mayors and Managers organization on this topic.

Freedom of Information Act

With the changes to Illinois law expanding the scope of the Freedom of Information act, we are frequently called upon to interpret the act and advise public officials in responding to these requests. We’ve given speeches on the topic.

Since the disclosure requirements imposed on municipalities are substantial and the time limits are extraordinarily tight, some municipalities are simply turning all documents over without deliberating the documents’ contents or possible exemptions. Often, these disclosures are the precursor to litigation. (They need to be considered with litigation counsel.)

De-Annexation Claims

There are few firms that have handled claims by a property owner that his property should be de-annexed from the municipality. GKWW is one of those firms. Among our de-annexation cases was a hotly contested case in which we argued successfully at both the trial court and appellate levels.

De-annexation cases often involve developers who annex into one municipality only to learn that another municipality would afford them better annexation terms. De-annexation is governed by statute (and is referred to as “disconnection” under Illinois law), but it involves multiple, complex factual determinations that must be adroitly navigated.