(The Center Square) – Attorneys for Gov. J.B. Pritzker have until June 23 to answer a charge brought by parents of high school sports students shut out of competitive play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.
Last month, Grochocki and attorneys for Pritzker argued virtually in front of Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow. Pritzker attorneys had a motion to dismiss on the table.
“Based on what is contained in the pleadings and exhibits, the facts as pled do show a possibility of recovery,” Grischow wrote in an order issued Wednesday. “As such, the 2-615 motion to dismiss is denied,” the judge ordered. “Defendant is to file an answer within 21 days, on or before, June 23, 2021.”
“The plaintiffs are very pleased with Judge Grischow’s decision to deny the defendant, Governor Pritzker’s motion to dismiss and that she believes the facts, as pled, show a possibility of recovery,” Grochocki said in a statement. “Yet despite the judge’s ruling, the defendant wants this order vacated. It is curious that, as we have seen time and time again, the defendant wants to relitigate matters the Court has previously ruled on.”
Messages seeking comment from the Illinois Attorney General’s office which is representing the governor in the case were not immediately returned.
Last month during oral arguments attorneys for Pritzker said college and pro sports have the resources to compete safely and Grochocki 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.”
Grochocki is hopeful the case will ultimately prevail.
“We are very hopeful that the Court will also rule favorably on the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as it would be a victory for the constitutional rights and liberties of children across Illinois,” Grochocki said.
The Sangamon County Circuit Court case is 21-MR-295.