The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a homeowner's association can enforce its own traffic rules using private security.
To stop people from speeding in the neighborhood, an Illinois property owner’s association established a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit throughout the neighborhood and created its own security department to enforce the rules within property limits.
The new security department used vehicles with amber oscillating lights and radar units. The association directed them to stop anyone speeding in the neighborhood. The security team was also instructed to issue fines to residents caught speeding. Nonresidents were given a warning and reminded that they were on private property.
The plaintiff in the case (Poris v. Lake Holiday Property Owners Association) was issued a $50 fined after being clocked driving 34 miles per hour. He was a resident of the neighborhood.
He sued the association, the Board of Directors, and the Chief of Security, saying that the practices were illegal.
After a judge tossed the first case out of court, he appealed. An appellate court found that the association’s practices were illegal. The defendants appealed to the state's Supreme Court.
The Illinois Supreme Court did not agree that the association’s security operation was illegally exercising police powers.
From JD Supra Law News:
The Supreme Court reversed each of the Appellate Court's holdings in plaintiff's favor. Writing for the Court, Justice Robert R. Thomas held that the Appellate Court had gone astray at the outset by analyzing the officer's actions as those of a private citizen. Officers only stopped and detained vehicles on private property for violation of Association rules - not the Vehicle Code - and only issued citations to members. Given the long-established rule that Illinois courts don't interfere with private associations' enforcement of their internal rules absent mistake, fraud, collusion or arbitrariness, the Appellate Court was wrong to interfere with the internal affairs of the Association, according to the Court.
photo by Andrew Choy/flickr