News & Insights

Dykema Secures a Major Victory in the 7th Circuit for its Client, Alarm Detection Systems

Dykema strategically proves that a fire protection district cannot monopolize the industry and prevent fire alarm monitoring services from doing business

August 1, 2013

Chicago, ILThe 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 50-page opinion on Wednesday, July 31, in favor of Alarm Detection Systems and four other private alarm companies saying that an ordinance adopted by the Lisle Woodridge Fire Protection District violated the Illinois Fire Protection District Act, and applicable codes and standards, and was an illegal monopoly.

The case was ADT Security Services, Inc., Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. et al, v. Lisle Woodridge Fire Protection District et al, Nos. 12-2925 and 12-2981. (7th Cir. 2013). Bruce Goldsmith led a Dykema team that included David Bressler, Michelle Schindler, Kara Murphy, Cathy Perkowitz, Jill Wheaton, Rosa Tumialan, Jim Dougherty and Dan Zollner, which successfully represented Alarm Detection Systems and three other alarm companies on the matter.

The opinion affirmed a detailed 30 page modified permanent injunction previously entered by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur following an extensive evidentiary hearing.

This opinion is the second favorable opinion from the 7th Circuit in the case. In the first opinion, the court affirmed the granting of summary judgment in favor of Dykema’s clients, but remanded for further proceedings as to the modification of a permanent injunction consistent with the opinion. In affirming the modified permanent injunction, which enjoined the original ordinance as well as a second ordinance purporting to remedy the prior ordinance’s defects, the 7th Circuit was persuaded that certain factual assumptions it had made the first time around were in error.

“We are pleased by the 7th Circuit panel’s decision because it lets fire protection districts in Illinois know that they cannot monopolize fire alarm monitoring,” Goldsmith said. “That sort of monopolization would significantly displace private alarm companies and also be a disservice to the customers those companies serve. The ruling is also consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that bars governmental units from exercising monopoly powers without an express mandate from the State.”

“Dykema’s attorneys did a great job preventing one district’s efforts to shut down the private market in fire alarm monitoring services, with our team of lawyers working seamlessly to serve our clients’ interests,” said Michael Borders, Office Managing Member of Dykema’s Chicago office. “This victory follows a lengthy battle that included multiple appeals to the 7th Circuit and uniformly favorable rulings on the part of Dykema’s clients.”