By Bob Skolnik
The village of Brookfield struck out again in court again Tuesday morning as it tried for a second time to persuade a Cook County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208.
Brookfield had tried to have the lawsuit dismissed in September, but Judge Mary Mikva rejected the village's arguments, although she did order the high school to amend one portion of its complaint.
But, Mikva was perturbed that the village tried the same tactic twice to get her to dismiss the case. She swiftly denied the village's motion to dismiss the case on Tuesday.
"I'm pretty unhappy with you guys," she told attorney Michael R. Durkin, who was representing the village. Village Attorney Richard Ramello was not in court for Tuesday morning's hearing.
"Get word back to whoever did this, and don't do it again," Mikva told Durkin.
Last summer, District 208 filed a lawsuit claiming that the April decision of the Brookfield Village Board to deny the high school zoning variances and a special use permit to build a new parking lot and tennis courts on a field just north of Hollywood School was arbitrary and capricious.
Ramello, reached at his office Tuesday afternoon, said the village's motion was filed in good faith. He said that Mikva had instructed the village to clarify its position and that the new motion was the village's attempt to do that.
"We made it clear to her that's she just supposed to consider the findings and recommendations of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the proposed findings of the Board of Trustees," Ramello said. "We cited those cases; made it eminently clear that's not that's not what she's supposed to do. The issue is not whether the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Board of Trustees' decision was correct or incorrect, it's whether or not the school district was denied substantive due process."
Ramello said that he could not appeal the judge's ruling until the case is over.
Following Tuesday's hearing, the village had 21 days to file a substantive answer to the complaint. Then the case will move to the discovery phase. The next court date is set for Jan. 12.
The attorney representing RBHS says the school district would like to enter into settlement talks with the village and resolve the case before going to trial. But the village apparently isn't interested.
"We opened up the possibility of sitting down with the court for a settlement conference and that was pretty much rejected," said Nicki Bazer, the attorney representing RBHS.