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Tom DeVore loses another court case, refuses to pay bounty, says he’s not filing lawsuits to win

Thursday, Dec 3, 2020

* From Jeff Wilhite at the Sangamon County Department of Public Health…

Rich,

If you’re interested, below are details from the recent public health related court hearing in Sangamon County.

A lawsuit filed by a Thayer bar against the Sangamon County Department of Public Health on November 25th was thrown out Wednesday afternoon. Represented by Attorney Thomas DeVore, Brewzrz Pub claimed that the Public Health Department violated Illinois law by suspending its food license on November 19, 2020 as a result of the bar’s failure to comply with Sangamon County’s Covid-19 mitigation restrictions prohibiting indoor dining and bar service. The bar asked the Court to order the County to reinstate its suspended food service license. The Motion to Dismiss filed by Sangamon County State’s Attorney, Dan Wright, characterized the arguments in the suit against the County as “devoid of merit” and amounted to “analytical snake oil in the midst of a deadly global pandemic which continues to surge in Sangamon County.” In dismissing the case, Sangamon County Judge Gail Noll found that the suit failed to state a valid claim under Illinois law and did not establish a likelihood of success on the merits.

Excerpts from the Motion to Dismiss​ from State’s Attorney Dan Wright

Plaintiff’s arguments are devoid of merit and amount to analytical “snake oil” in the midst of a deadly global pandemic which continues to surge in Sangamon County. The Court should reject Plaintiff’s erroneous arguments, deny the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and dismiss the Complaint with prejudice.

Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies under the plain language of Section 5.20.080 (Suspension of Permits) which requires a petition to the Sangamon County Board of Health to “request a hearing for abatement of the order” which suspended Plaintiff’s food permit. See Sangamon County Code, Section 5.20.080. Plaintiff did not file a petition to request a hearing before the Board of Health. Moreover, Plaintiff has failed to “make application for a reinspection for the purpose of reinstatement of the permit” under Section 5.20.090 (Reinstatement of Permits).

Section 2 of the Department of Public Health Act provides the procedures that the Department must adhere to when “a person or group of persons [is] to be quarantined or isolated” or it orders that “a place [must] be closed and made off limits to the public to prevent the probable spread of a dangerously contagious or infectious disease.” 20 ILCS 2305/2(b-c) (emphasis added). Specifically, Section 2 requires that:

… [N]o person or a group of persons may be ordered to be quarantined or isolated and no place may be ordered to be closed and made off limits to the public except with the consent of the person or owner of the place or upon the prior order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Id.

Contrary to the repeated, unsupported, and conclusory allegations of the Complaint, neither the November 10 Notice nor the November 19 license suspension purport to require Plaintiff’s business to be “closed and made off limits to the public” for any and all purposes as required to trigger the procedural and substantive requirements of 20 ILCS 2305/2. Plaintiff’s bald assertions that the actions of Defendants “made [Plaintiff’s premises] off limits to the public” are unsupported by any allegations of specific facts. Complaint, ¶¶ 8-9, 11, 16, 19-20, 23-24, 26-27, 29, 31, 34, 36. Plaintiff simply invites the Court to join it in making the misguided analytical leap that suspension of a food license pursuant to the Sangamon County Code somehow equates to a closure order under the Public Health Act.

The November 10 Notice merely notified food service license holders of conditions found to constitute a “substantial immediate hazard to the public health” under Section 5.20.080 of the Sangamon County Code, e.g. indoor dining. The November 10 Notice did not, in any manner, make the premises off limits to the public for any other food service purposes such as outdoor dining, carry-out, or curbside service. The November 19 Notice of Violation attached to the Complaint as Exhibit “B” which suspended Plaintiff’s food service license merely prohibits food service without a valid license (“Permit suspended at time of inspection and all food service operations are to be immediately discontinued.”). It did not order the physical closure of the premises and make them off limits to the public for any and all purposes as would a “closure order” under the Public Health Act. Any complete closure of the premises was voluntary as a matter of law and not compelled by actions of Defendants.

For example, Defendants do not have jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s local liquor license which is subject to the authority of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the Liquor Commissioner for the Village of Thayer. Put simply, unlike a closure order under the Public Health Act, Defendants’ suspension of Plaintiff’s food service license did not make the premises off limits to the public or prohibit any lawful use of the premises other than unlicensed food service.

While Defendants’ actions were not premised upon any gubernatorial executive order, the Appellate Court recently held that Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order No. 2020-61 did not implicate “section 2(c) [of the Public Health Act] because its measures were not tantamount to quarantine orders, isolation orders, or business-closure orders. Instead [the Governor’s Executive Order] prescribed guidelines that restaurants must follow to safely operate while a region’s [COVID-19] positivity rates exceed state guidelines.” Fox Fire Tavern, LLC v. Pritzker, 2020 IL App. (2d) 200623, ¶41 (emphasis added) (citing Cassell v. Snyders, 458 F. Supp. 3d 981, 1002 (N.D. Ill. 2020) (holding that restrictions on large gatherings do not amount to orders of quarantine, isolation, or business closure)).

In Cassell, the Court succinctly articulated the threshold issue in the current case, stating:

Plaintiffs invoke Illinois’s Department of Health Act, 20 Ill. Comp. Stat. 2305/2(a). Under that Act, the “State Department of Public Health [or local public health authority]… has supreme authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.” Id. § 2305/2(a). Before exercising its authority to “quarantine,” “isolate,” and make places “off limits [to] the public,” however, the Department must comply with certain procedural requirements. Id. § 2305/2(c). As Plaintiffs see it, the Act vests the Department with the exclusive authority to quarantine and isolate Illinoisans, making Governor Pritzker’s orders ultra vires. The problem for Plaintiffs is that the challenged Order does not impose restrictions that fall within the meaning of the Act.

Just as in FoxFire and Cassell, the Defendants’ actions in the current matter “were not tantamount to quarantine orders, isolation orders, or business-closure orders” and did “not impose restrictions that fall within the meaning of the Act.” Id. Plaintiff cannot escape the reality that no action by O’Neill or the Department made its premises entirely “off limits to the public” for any and all purposes as necessary to apply the requirements of Section 2 of the Public Health Act. The Complaint contains insufficient facts to permit the Court to reach any other conclusion. Indeed, Plaintiff cannot ethically allege any set of facts that would permit the Court to find Defendants’ actions imposed restrictions that fall within the meaning of Section 2 of the Public Health Act. Id. Accordingly, the Complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Section 2-615.

Plaintiff ignores the legal reality that review of acts of administrative discretion, such as the November 10 Notice and November 19 license suspension under Section 5.20.080, is highly deferential. Bigelow Group, Inc. v. Rickert, 377 Ill. App. 3d 165, 174 (2d Dist. 2007). “The ‘arbitrary or capricious’ standard must be applied in light of the limited purview prescribed the judiciary by the separation of powers doctrine—the judiciary must limit itself to infringing on official discretion only where that discretion can be shown to have violated the law.” Id. at 174. Put another way, “arbitrary and capricious” review is a “single inquiry into the legality of the official decision.” Id. It is “the most deferential standard of review—next to no review at all.”

The November 10 Notice was lawfully issued as a finding of the Board of Health through its authorized representative in response to a public health emergency. Defendants’ actions were undertaken in direct reliance upon the expert recommendations of the BOH Physicians Advisory Group and in compliance with pre-existing Sangamon County Code provisions governing food service establishments, i.e. Section 5.20.080. Accordingly, the Defendants’ actions were not - under any good faith interpretation - arbitrary, capricious, or ultra vires as erroneously alleged by Plaintiff.

DeVore said he’d appeal the ruling on Greg Bishop’s radio show today. He said he’d go all the way to the US Supreme Court if need be.

* Greg asked DeVore whether he’d paid the $1,000 bounty of footage of Pritzker celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family. As you know, I posted a photo of Pritzker and his wife on a Zoom chat during Thanksgiving dinner. DeVore’s response

Well one, I want to clarify that. The thousand dollars that I offered for footage from a journalist to take a picture of the governor should they see him out celebrating with friends and family. Friends and family being a generic term. I didn’t even know he had kids until I put that out. So he has kids, OK, I don’t care about that. But no, I didn’t pay it out because, again, you know I was looking for the governor. He’s using the word bounty, I didn’t use the word bounty. But no, I didn’t pay it out.

* DeVore was also asked about whether it was time to stop filing lawsuits since he’s losing so many of them

If they think that any of this is going on is about winning or losing lawsuits, the people that say that need to consider if they’re as intelligent as they think they are. This isn’t about winning lawsuits. If I want to win lawsuits, Greg, and that’s the goal and not to protect people, I’ll go into the federal court. It’d be a lot easier.

You can’t protect people by losing countless lawsuits. You can only give them false hope.

…Adding… From comments…

Also, just to point out, (1) Devore fought like crazy to keep Bailey’s case out of federal court when the AG tried to remove to federal court, and (2), his only “wins” have occurred in state court.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

44 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    His explanation that his goal of being an attorney is not to win cases actually explains his strategy rather well. By that metric, he’s excelling.


  2. - Back to the Mountains - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    Okay, I’ll ask the silly question–how does losing lawsuits protect people, exactly?


  3. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    The goal is to make money from as many suckers as possible.


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    I wonder if his clients know he’s not out to win their cases…


  5. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    The goal is to make money from as many people as possible.


  6. - Nobody Sent - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    Can’t he lose his law license for what he’s doing?


  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    Couple quick hits;

    === I didn’t even know he had kids until I put that out.===

    … and yet his ilk were the ones pushing about the governor’s daughter, falsely, and further, it’s wholly disingenuous to say he “didn’t know” while the bounty itself indicates the governor would be out with… whom?

    Weaseling out of paying the bounty? Classless folks out out a bounty, why would anyone expect a classless person to pay the bounty?

    === If I want to win lawsuits, Greg, and that’s the goal and not to protect people, I’ll go into the federal court. It’d be a lot easier.===

    The only thing missing is simply admitting the grift, and thank everyone for the checks… as he plans to lose.

    Further?

    If you hire an attorney that venue shops… to lose… that’s not they type of counsel you need.


  8. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    So he went to law school to insure he wouldn’t win cases? Seems a bit of waste of his money, he could have done this with a GED.


  9. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    He didn’t know Pritzke had kids??????

    DeVore, not only are you a welch, no surprise, but you’re a liar, again, no surprise.

    Lemme guess, you were the class snitch.


  10. - Old and In the Way - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:18 pm:

    I hear the Trump legal team is looking for help. Tom would fit right in.


  11. - illinifan - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:18 pm:

    Sounds like Devore got his training at Trump University


  12. - Back to the Mountains - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    Also, just to point out, (1) Devore fought like crazy to keep Bailey’s case out of federal court when the AG tried to remove to federal court, and (2), his only “wins” have occurred in state court.


  13. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    Might be time for intelligence and reason to make a comeback, don’t you think? I hope so…


  14. - DirtLawyer - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    Supreme Court Rule 137(a), anyone?


  15. - DEE - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    Easier to win in federal court? There his summary dismissals would probably be entered along with hefty sanctions.


  16. - Club J - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    So I wonder when DeVore is interviewing perspective clients he tells them I’m not here to win the case folks. So think about that before you sign that check.


  17. - walker - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    To summarize DeVore’s stated position: “I want to protect people” … but not by “winning lawsuits”??

    How then? By making the Governor look bad, on his clients’ dime? By setting himself up for something else?

    I’m not understanding DeVore’s argument. Sounds like the judges aren’t either.

    Guess we’re just not intelligent enough.


  18. - PublicServant - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    === The goal is to make money from as many suckers as possible. ===

    DeVore is now in competition with Trump.


  19. - Watcher of the Skies - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    Anyone have a running count on his losses? I’m curious if he has a worse record than Trump’s election lawsuits.


  20. - Paddyrollingstone - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    - Old and In the Way - I hear the Trump legal team is looking for help. Tom would fit right in.

    Well said. You beat me to the punch.

    Great name, btw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgH3vGeL_iY&ab_channel=1Bluesboy1


  21. - Montrose - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    He and Trump have the exact same legal strategy - file lawsuits to give the appearance of fighting back and legitimacy to further your own self interests.


  22. - the Patriot - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    Why would the Governor or the AG want him sanctioned. He is filing poorly thought out suits and creating favorable precedent.

    You need the facts and the law to win, but sometimes an incompetent opponent is just as good.


  23. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    DeVore seems to have much in common with Trump…mostly losing.


  24. - OneMan - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    == If they think that any of this is going on is about winning or losing lawsuits, the people that say that need to consider if they’re as intelligent as they think they are. This isn’t about winning lawsuits. If I want to win lawsuits, Greg, and that’s the goal and not to protect people, I’ll go into the federal court. It’d be a lot easier. ==

    I will give him this, I actually feel dumber for having read that sentence and having put in the time to try and understand it.

    Yeah, I might not be able to win any games here but it is because league bowling is the hardest bowling, if I wanted to win I would go bowl in the PBA against Dick Webber.


  25. - Chambanalyst - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    Kudos to you Rich for giving him the photo and your offer to donate and match the check for a good cause. Classy act for a classless situation.


  26. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    “no, I didn’t pay it out because, again, you know I was looking for the governor.”

    Who was the man in that photograph of yours, Rich?

    BJ Pritzker?

    – MrJM


  27. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    DeVore did issue a formal bounty…even though his deceptive reneging evasion claims otherwise.

    Who should trust a guy who won’t pay up…Suckers…that’s who.


  28. - Jocko - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    ==he’d go all the way to the US Supreme Court if need be.==

    With what? That’s like Nagy taking the Bears all the way to the Super Bowl…to watch.


  29. - Leigh John-Ella - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    Devore Law
    “I’m not in it to win it”

    Devore Law
    “When you don”t care if you win, I’m your guy”


  30. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    “If I want to win lawsuits, Greg, and that’s the goal and not to protect people, I’ll go into the federal court.”

    So he filed lawsuits without intending to win them? Who would want to hire this guy? Is he raking in donations at least, like Trump, whose record in election lawsuits is 1-41?


  31. - Jibba - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    I think he’s a far better lawyer than anyone of you give him credit for. Look how quick he weaseled out of paying that grand.


  32. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    “Devore Law — For the people who compete for the participation awards.”


  33. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 1:51 pm:

    Seems like this guy has a pretty tenuous grasp on the English language in general.


  34. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    “people that say that need to consider if they’re as intelligent as they think they are”

    He’s admitting here that he is operating on a premise he knows other people aren’t aware of, and he thinks this means he is the smart one.

    What Devore is doing is what over the last few years has become an increasing tactic of the republican party.

    Courts are being used to give legitimacy to insane claims. It doesn’t matter if the court rules against him because that isn’t the point. The point is to give a perception of validity simply by having court documents where these claims are written out. People see the court documents, and to his political audience the respectability of the courts gets transferred to the claims in the documents.

    Unfortunately, the long term impact of this is going to be a decline in the perception of the court system.

    It is critical for the officials in the court system to recognize what is being done here, and act accordingly with sanctions and disbarment. A failure to do so will irreversibly harm their profession.


  35. - JoanP - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    How does losing virtually all your cases on this issue translate to “protecting people”?

    And I knew he’d find a way to weasel out on his bounty.


  36. - Maximus - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    I bet he is still making money even when he loses the cases. Charging his clients some large up-front fee perhaps? I dont know how attorneys make most of their income or what is industry standard but I bet each failed lawsuit still earns him cash from somewhere.


  37. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    Since DeVore has been an abject failure in his current pursuits, perhaps a switch to ambulance chasing is in his future. Might be a better fit for his skill set.


  38. - From the far, far western suburbs - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    HELLO….ARDC…Is this not the very definition of attorney malpractice?


  39. - The Way I See It - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 4:37 pm:

    What was Bishops response to that bit of insanity?


  40. - Mama - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 4:41 pm:

    It appears DeVore wants to work for Trump.


  41. - Morty - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 4:47 pm:

    So… nuisance suits?

    Can’t he be sanctioned for that?


  42. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 5:22 pm:

    Yes, DeVore can be sanctioned, even lose his law license, but people have to start filing complaints with the ARDC so the ARDC get DeVore officially on their “radar”
    https://www.iardc.org/howtorequest.html


  43. - yinn - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 7:55 pm:

    Speaking to the comments calling for IARDC to investigate, I think it’s more likely to happen if the actual client(s) make the complaint(s).


  44. - Viscount - Thursday, Dec 3, 20 @ 9:20 pm:

    It sounds like he’s a good fit for Trump’s next attorney general.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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