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Thu, 04 May 2017
How PNI Spent The One-Year Anniversary Of Its Lawsuit Against State Officials
Calling Pay Now Illinois (PNI) plaintiffs “political hostages” in the nearly two-year state budget impasse, our lawyer Thomas Geoghegan today argued before the Illinois Appellate Court seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that dismissed PNI’s 2016 lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against the Governor and other state officials for failure to pay overdue contracts.

Geoghegan made the case that the State never tried to terminate contracts with the plaintiffs – even though the State couldn’t pay for services rendered due to the lack of appropriations – nor would the State want to because it would cause Illinois’ social service infrastructure to collapse. So, Geoghegan argued, the State is just as happy to have the plaintiffs continue providing services – such as caring for the elderly – while struggling to stay afloat using lines of credit, laying off staff and skipping pay days for senior management. The state’s behavior is “unconscionable” and represents “a complete breakdown in state government,” he said.

Geoghegan said that last year’s stop-gap funding bill amounted to “a write-down in the value of contracts,” effectively – and illegally – impairing them. He described the effect of that as, “We will keep you alive for a little bit, but we will keep inflicting the pain.”

Interestingly, the Assistant Attorney General conceded in court today that the plaintiffs do not have access to a practical remedy for their contracts in the Court of Claims absent an appropriation. Further, the Assistant Attorney General agreed that the State’s behavior is “untoward” and that there is “an element of unfairness” as a result of the budget impasse.

The judges took the case under advisement; we will let you know when a decision is handed down. In the meantime, arguments have been set for June 14 for our lawsuit in St. Clair County.
Posted 20:47

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