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Another day, another lawsuit

Thursday, May 13, 2021

* Center Square

A Sangamon County judge has taken arguments under advisement in a legal challenge over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 orders impacting high school sports.

Attorney Laura Grochocki represents the mother of Trevor Till, an 18-year-old who committed suicide in October, among other clients. She filed a lawsuit against the governor over his COVID-19 prohibitions that kept competition for certain high school sports from happening for most of last year.

The case is an equal rights challenge claiming the governor overstepped his authority when he blocked high school sports while allowing college and professional sports to continue. […]

Arguing for summary judgement, Grochocki told the court Wednesday afternoon during a Zoom conference call that the governor is violating equal protection laws by imposing state regulations on high school sports while not leveling any on college or professional sports.

“The issue is the discrimination of different classes of athletes based on age and the wealth of the organization that is sponsoring them. Wealthy athletes, powerful college and pro sports leagues that are worth a lot of money and probably have a lot of political clout, were given the opportunity to determine for themselves what was safe and what was not,” Grochocki said. “This is a fundamental violation of equal protection that is unreasonable, irrational, arbitrary and imposed without a legitimate state interest.” […]

While the initial lawsuit was filed in December when high school sports like football and basketball were not allowed to compete per the governor’s orders, those sports have resumed, but Grochocki said the student athletes still have to wear masks while college and professional teams don’t. […]

The governor’s attorney said college and pro sports have the resources to compete safely and Grochoski hasn’t proven the equal protection violation.

“It is not an equal protection violation if the government adopts a reasonable regulation that applies to some people within a category, but not all people within a category,” said attorney Darren Kinkead, who was representing Pritzker in the virtual courtroom. “It’s not an equal protection violation if the government chooses to address some of the problem, but not all of the problem.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 6:41 am:

    === While the initial lawsuit was filed in December when high school sports like football and basketball were not allowed to compete per the governor’s orders, those sports have resumed, but Grochocki said the student athletes still have to wear masks while college and professional teams don’t. […]===

    1) They’re over 18
    2) Power 5 conferences have spent millions on testing, protocols, safety that high schools are not or monetarily can’t.
    3) The arts like band and theatre were also stopped. Why not include them.


  2. - Monday Morning Quarterback - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 7:46 am:

    The courts generally defer to state and local officials. I don’t expect this lawsuit to go anywhere. But, the 17 year old freshman college football player makes an interesting test case.


  3. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 8:55 am:

    I don’t practice law but assume equal protection laws only apply in situations where apples are being compared to other apples. The young man’s suicide is tragic but suing the governor won’t bring him back.


  4. - BTO2 - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:06 am:

    I can’t imagine what the family is going through. I pray they can find peace and healing.

    On other hand, my son is 3 sport high school athlete. He wasn’t thrilled with restrictions but understood it was for the greater good.

    As parents, we were happy the Governor handled things the way he did.


  5. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:36 am:

    Her arguement is that high school kids should get to do something because collegiate and professional atheletes, i.e. adults, are?

    Someone is actually paying for this “representation”?


  6. - Moe Berg - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    The attorney for the plaintiff is also an election conspiracist. No scruples, just grift.

    Rich wrote about her on Jan. 29 , 2021 and her Remember America Action “foundation’s” goofy claims about Dominion in Illinois.


  7. - @misterjayem - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:57 am:

    Some loses are so grave that they can never be remedied in a courtroom.

    Some attorneys recognize such cases and try to direct them to other professionals who can help the potential client heal.

    Other attorneys see nothing but billable hours.

    – MrJM


  8. - duck duck goose - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:51 am:

    At first glance, this seems ill suited to an equal-protection claim. Generally, unless the disparate treatment is based on a suspect class (race, ethnicity, national origin, etc.), all the government has to do is show that there is some rational basis for its decision. Being a high-school athlete is not a suspect class. Perhaps they argued age as a class, but age has not generally been recognized as a suspect class, and the governor’s orders were not based on age (a 17 or 18 year old could play college sports but not high-school sports).
    It seems that, in order to win, the plaintiff will have to show that there was no rational reason for the distinction between college and high school sports. That’s a pretty hard case to make, particularly since there are already lots of different rules between high-school and college sports.


  9. - Jocko - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    Something tells Laura Grochocki would have sued Governor Pritzker (and others) in a heartbeat if a family’s high school child took ill for NOT having shut down sports.


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