Publications & News

WilmerHale Wins Victory in Illinois Supreme Court Case

December 19, 2008

On December 18, 2008, a team of WilmerHale lawyers won an important victory in Morr-Fitz v. Blagojevich when the firm achieved a favorable ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court on a standing issue after more than three years of appellate litigation against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and other state officials concerning Governor Blagojevich’s 2005 administrative rule requiring pharmacies and pharmacists to dispense “emergency contraception” regardless of their religious objections.

Recognizing that the defendants “have publicly stated that they will vigorously prosecute pharmacists with religious objections to drive them out of the profession,” the Illinois Supreme Court decided in favor of the firm’s clients, finding that they had standing to challenge Governor Blagojevich’s rule, and instructing the trial court to hear the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which has been pending since 2005.

The Court reasoned that the rule has “a concrete and coercive impact on plaintiffs,” and noted that “the simple failure by plaintiffs to make efforts to stock the contraceptive in question would subject plaintiffs to a range of penalties, including license revocation.

The case will now proceed at the trial court.

The WilmerHale team included Paul Daley, Harold Hestnes, Mark Rienzi, Heath Brooks and Anthony Deardurff.