A judge has dismissed a lawsuit attempting to force the state into more court ordered payments.
Pay Now Illinois' $161 million lawsuit against the state was tossed from a Cook County courtroom Wednesday. Circuit Judge Rodolfo Garcia agreed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan that the state is immune from lawsuits like what the nearly 100 social service providers filed. The coalition aimed to force the state into a consent decree that would have compelled payment ahead of other services and operating expenses.
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Pay Now Illinois leader Andrea Durbin said the ruling was disappointing, but it was certainly not the end. "I was heartened by the judge's acknowledgment of the serious constitutional issues before him and the court," she said.
Durbin says contractors looking to do business with Illinois in the future should beware that the state doesn't have to pay for services. "Any entity holding a contract with the state of Illinois has to wonder what their remedies are should the state stop paying or refuse to pay," she said. "What rights does the state have to enter into contracts if they don't have the means to pay for them?"
One provider, Ounce of Prevention, got more attention than others since it's run by Illinois' first lady Diana Rauner.
The lawsuit was filed in the Chancery division of Cook County's courts. Typically, contract disputes are filed in the court of claims, but Durbin says the state would need to have a budget in place for their coalition to collect money in that court division.
The Attorney General's office would not respond for comment on the ruling.