State supreme court will not hear case of unit owner fined for expressing opinions
Loop North News
By Steven Dahlman
26 September 2018

The Supreme Court of Illinois will not consider the case of a unit owner fined for expressing opinions about his condo board.

Michael Boucher successfully sued 111 East Chestnut Condominium Association and seven of its board members after they imposed a $500 fine against him for allegedly violating condo rules that prohibit “obnoxious or offensive activity within the association.”

Boucher said the fine was retaliation for expressing his opinions about management practices. The trial court sided with the condo association, but the Appellate Court of Illinois on June 14 agreed with Boucher.

Boucher is a restaurateur who once owned Smokin’ Woody’s, a barbecue restaurant in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago.

In her petition asking the Supreme Court to reconsider the appellate ruling, Diane Silverberg, a principal of Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, said Boucher’s constitutional rights to free speech were not violated, as he claimed, because there was no “state action,” or activity by the government that violated his civil rights.

Boucher’s attorney, Norman Lerum, said the “state action” requirement is not an issue, as the Illinois Condominium Property Act prohibits condo boards from adopting or enforcing any rule that impairs rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, such as exercise of religion, freedom of speech, or right to peaceably assemble.

The petition for appeal was denied on Wednesday.

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