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City Can’t Sue DoT Over Dump Sites, Court Rules

(CN) - An Illinois appeals court dismissed a city's lawsuit against the state Department of Transportation over two allegedly illegal dump sites, ruling that the agency is protected by sovereign immunity.

Originally, the state accused Excavation and Lowboy Services (E&L) of running two illegal dumps in the city of Harvey, Ill. The state later named the city and its park district as defendants.

The city agreed to prevent future dumping, while the court entered a $1.46 million default judgment for the state against E&L.

The city then filed a third-party lawsuit, alleging liability against the Illinois Department of Transportation, former secretary Timothy Martin, and 15 companies.

The trial court dismissed the case because the state had not waived sovereign immunity. Justice Toomin agreed.

The State Lawsuit Immunity Act prevents the state from being sued without its consent, and the Court of Claims Act gives that court exclusive jurisdiction over any tort cases against the state.

"The Environmental Act does not by any of its terms or provisions evince intent to override other statutes governing jurisdictional concerns," Toomin wrote, "including the Immunity Act or the Claims Act."

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