Appeal might be filed by MAI

By Sabryna Cornish

An appeal which would revive a $1 million lawsuit against NIU might be filed as soon as Friday.

The Management Association of Illinois will continue to pursue its case and probably will file an appeal as soon as Friday or Monday, said MAI President Charles Blanchard.

“I believe the judge simply chose to dodge the legal question,” he said.

Blanchard said the appeal being filed is an expedited appeal

which means it will “get a quick response from the appeals court.”

Blanchard said the appeal would keep the case in the Circuit Court, but thinks it will make no difference if the suit is moved to an Illinois Court of Claims.

“We want (the suit) to be where it was originally filed and where it legally belongs,” he said.

Blanchard said the suit still will go to court “one way or another.”

If the appeal is denied, however, MAI cannot sue in an Illinois Circuit Court and would be forced to file suit in the Court of Claims, which is located in Springfield, said Stephen Carlson, an attorney from Chicago-based Sidley & Austin which is representing NIU.

Carlson, however, remains optimistic about the appeal.

“We beat them in circuit court and we’ll beat them in the Illinois Appellate Court if they’re foolish enough to take (the suit) that far,” he said.

Carlson also maintains that none of the six accused in the suit along with NIU took anything that did not belong to them.

MAI originally filed suit against NIU on Feb. 4 charging that six of its former employees took clients, files and documents to use at NIU.

“MAI threw them (the six) out the door,” Carlson said. “They only left with personal possessions.”

Carlson also said the six offered to show people at MAI where all the files were located before they left, but MAI refused.

Circuit Court Judge Lester Foreman deferred action on the suit Feb. 6. NIU then filed a motion to have the case dismissed.

Foreman ruled in favor of NIU’s motion to dismiss the suit Wednesday.