Our Cases


Odelson & Sterk has served clients from Chicago to Springfield to Washington, D.C. and beyond.  Our firm has served as counsel on election law matters to Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, Congressman Jessie Jackson, Jr., Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley, Jane Byrne, and Harold Washington.  The firm has similarly served dozens of congressional candidates and incumbents, judges of the Supreme, Appellate and Circuit courts; state legislators, municipal, county, township, and school candidates, and political party committees.


In addition to Odelson & Sterk’s wide experience and diverse clientele, our firm continues to forge new law at both the state and federal levels.  These are just some of Odelson & Sterk’s cases:



 Norman v. Reed, 112 S.Ct. 698 (1992)

Successful ballot access case appealed from Cook County Electoral Board to the Circuit Court, to the Illinois Supreme Court, to the United States Supreme Court involving the use of a political party's name and signature requirements for individual districts within a county. A landmark case concerning ballot access in which Mr. Odelson served as a Special State’s Attorney of Cook County, whose legal decision for the Board was ultimately upheld by the United States Supreme Court.


Bush v. Gore, 121 S. Ct. 525 (2000)

Mr. Odelson was retained by the Bush campaign to participate in an election challenge regarding an equal protection claim involving the measures used for the manual recount of the presidential election votes in Florida in 2000; briefs were filed and the case was argued before canvassing boards in West Palm Beach and Broward Counties, ultimately being decided by the Florida Supreme Court and then the United States Supreme Court.



Genius v. County of Cook, 2011 IL 110239 (2011)

Representing the Forest Preserve of Cook County, successfully litigated in the Supreme Court that the Employee Appeals Board possessed jurisdiction to discharge  a  police  sergeant  who  was  indicted  by  the  grand  jury  on  criminal charges involving the unauthorized purchase of police badges.


Girot v. Keith, 212 Ill.2d 372 (2004)

Candidate for city mayor sought judicial review, on due process grounds, of decision   by   city’s   electoral   board   that   sustained   objector’s   challenge   to sufficiency of candidate’s nominating petitions.


Hossfeld v. Illinois State Bd. of Elections, 238 Ill.2d 418 (2010)

Landmark election law case which successfully upheld the validity of the candidate’s petitions involving party-switching restrictions rendering the candidate eligible to be placed on the ballot.


Launius v. Board of Fire and Police Com’rs of City of Des Plaines, 151 Ill.2d 419 (1992)

Landmark decision upholding the Board's decision to dismiss a police officer for abandoning his post during an emergency situation after being denied permission to leave; Supreme Court reversed Appellate Court.


Maksym v. Board of Election Com’rs of City of Chicago, 242 Ill.2d 303 (2011)

Landmark residency case involving Rahm Emanuel wherein the Appellate Court reversed the Electoral Board and Circuit Court, and the Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Court, upholding residency.


Pechous v. Slawko; Dumke v. Anderson, 64 Ill.2d 576 (1976)

Consolidated cases involving questions that related primarily to the scope of power of legislative bodies in home rule municipalities, and adopting certain ordinances wherein the legislative body of the municipality party would appoint certain municipal officers.


Pullen v. Mulligan, 138 Ill.2d 21 (1990)

Landmark election law case establishing precedent on numerous election ballot issues including the definition of “chads” which would later be used in Bush v. Gore, 121 S. Ct. 525 (2000).


Scadron v. City of Des Plaines, 153 Ill.2d 164 (1992)

Represented City in defense against a challenge to the City's billboard regulation scheme alleging that it violated the Illinois Highway Advertising Control Act and the U.S. Constitution's free speech, due process, and equal protection provisions.


United Citizens of Chicago and Illinois v. Coalition to Let the People Decide in 1989, 125 Ill.2d 332 (1988)

Submitted an amicus curiae brief involving the Municipal Code and Election Code requiring an interim election to fill the vacancy in office of Mayor of Chicago.



Akbar v. City of Calumet City, et al., 632 Fed.Appx. 868 (2015)

Court affirmed District Court’s granting of motion for summary judgment in favor of City and Defendant Officers finding that the shooting of plaintiff’s decedent was justified as an act of self-defense and defense of others after decedent physically attacked the officers.


Brown v. County of Cook, 661 F.3d 333 (2011)

Represented Cook County as a Special State’s Attorneys in a lawsuit alleging a sergeant in the county sheriff’s office was denied promotion to lieutenant due to his political affiliation and failure to contribute to the sheriff’s campaign in violation of his free speech rights. The court held the sergeant failed to establish that political affiliation was the motivating factor in his being passed over for promotion, and no violation of his First Amendment rights.


Chathas v. Local 134 Internal Brotherhood of Elec. Workers, 233 F.3d 508 (2000)

Successfully defended electrical union in a complex labor litigation dispute.


El-Bey v. Village of South Holland, et al., 513 Fed.Appx. 603 (2013)

Defended the Village of Riverdale against claims of illegal search and seizure, false arrest, excessive force, and due process violations.


Embry v. City of Calumet City, Ill., 701 F.3d 231 (2012)

Successful defense of §1983 retaliation claim alleging demotion due to support for a political candidate.


MainStreet Organization of Realtors v. Calumet City, Ill., 505 F.3d 742 (2007)

Due process challenge to the City's point-of sale ordinance which required homes to be in compliance with building and zoning codes prior to sale. The City prevailed in its position.


Mann v. Calumet City, Ill., 588 F.3d 949 (2009)

Successful constitutional defense of an ordinance preventing an owner from selling property until an inspector has determined the property is in compliance with municipal building ordinances.


Moy v. Cowen, 958 F.2d 168 (1992)

Candidate who filed petitions for placement on the primary ballot for seat on DuPage County Board filed civil rights suit seeking injunction directing county board of election commissioners to place candidate’s name on ballot despite candidate’s failure to paginate petition. The Court allowed ballot access.


Mucha v. Village of Oak Brook, 650 F.3d 1053 (2011)

Successfully represented the Village of Oak Brook against a false arrest claim by a police sergeant who was arrested for unlawfully requesting criminal background checks.



Board of Trustees of the Riverdale Police Pension Fund v. Village of Riverdale, 2014 IL App (1st) 130416

Landmark case wherein the Village Police Pension Fund brought declaratory judgment action against the Village, alleging the Village breached statutory funding obligations. Appellate Court granted the Village’s motion for summary judgment on major issue in case.


Carr v. Fire and Police Commission of the Village of Willow Springs, 2012 IL App (1st) 111409-U

 Successful defense of administrative review complaint alleging Fire and Police Commission improperly suspended Plaintiff for misplacing police equipment against departmental rules.


Cook County Republican Party ex rel. Skoien v. State Bd. of Elections et al., 396 Ill.App.3d 509 (2009)

Successful  defense  of  allegations  of  violations  of  the  Election  Code  which prohibit the appropriation of public funds for political or campaign purposes, and requires local political committee to file reports of campaign contributions.


Courtney v. County Officers Electoral Bd., 314 Ill.App.3d 870 (2000)

The  Appellate  Court  held  that  the  candidate  substantially  complied  with  the petition filing requirements though the statement of candidacy was filed three days after the nominating petitions were filed, and was allowed to be placed on the election ballot.


Cullerton v. Du Page County Officers Electoral Bd., 384 Ill.App.3d 989 (2008)

Landmark election case removing state Senate candidate from the ballot after he failed the statutory party-switching requirement by voting in the most recent opposing party primary.


Daly v. Pollution Control Bd., 264 Ill.App.3d 968 (1994)

Opponents of pollution control facility sought review, under the Environmental Protection Act, of Pollution Control Board’s decision allowing construction of facility. Appellate Court found that the public hearing conducted by village board of trustees was fundamentally fair.


Dunham v. Naperville Township Officers Electoral Bd., 265 Ill.App.3d 719 (1994)

Petitioner sought judicial review of decision by township electoral board that objector was not required to plead and prove standing to contest political candidate’s nominating petitions as part of prima facie case.


Duran v. Oak Lawn Community High School District No. 229, 2012 IL App (1st) 110633-U

 Court upheld a jury trial verdict in favor of School District 229, finding that a pre-existing heart condition, not the actions of School District personnel, caused the death of a high school student and the School District used ordinary care under the circumstances.  Court also determined the jury instructions given were proper.


Fuller v. Kusper, 141 Ill.App.3d 1074 (1986)

Signature requirements for nomination petition of candidate for sheriff of Cook County did not violate his equal protection, due process, or First Amendment rights.


Graham v. Reid, 334 Ill.App.3d 1017 (2002)

Landmark   election   case   representing   an   unsuccessful   state   Representative candidate in a challenge involving a tie vote with voting irregularities and missing ballots, resulting in candidate winning the case and being elected Representative in the General Assembly.


Haymore v. Orr, 385 Ill.App.3d 915 (2008)

Landmark election case defending a challenge to compel the certification of a binding referendum question after the village clerk used her apparent conformity authority to withdraw certification because the petition was facially deficient.


Huskey v. Municipal Officers Electoral Bd. for Village of Oak Lawn, 156 Ill.App.3d 201 (1987)

Landmark election case wherein it was held that improprieties in connection with petition circulation process warranted invalidation of entire signature sheets rather than just individual signatures.  This case stands as one of the three “pattern of fraud” election cases regularly cited.


Jakstas v. Koske, 352 Ill.App.3d 861 (2004)

Successful challenge to sufficiency of public question referendum involving the issuance of bonds wherein the binding requirement of petitions was upheld.


Jenkins v. McIlvain, 338 Ill.App.3d 113 (2003)

Defended a challenge to compel the certification of candidates after the city clerk, pursuant to her apparent conformity authority, denied certification because the candidates’ statements of economic interests were not filed in the same calendar year as their nominating petitions, as required by the Election Code.


Moller v. Civil Service Com’n of City of Blue Island, 326 Ill.App.3d 660 (2001)

Landmark “rule of three” case wherein police officer sought review of decision by civil service commission and police chief after police officer was passed over for promotion to corporal.  The Appellate Court held that: (1) officer had no protected property right to promotion to corporal, and (2) commission and police chief did not violate statute or municipal rules relating to officer promotions when they passed over police officer for promotion.


Nelson v. Qualkinbush, 389 Ill.App.3d 79 (2009)

Landmark election case where the city’s electoral board's decision to sustain objections to candidates' nomination papers for failure to give statutory notice was upheld.


People ex rel. Grogan v. Lisinski, 113 Ill.App.3d 276 (1983)

Appellate Court held that finding of guilty did not constitute “conviction” of incumbent as such term is used in State Constitution and statutes relating to ouster.


Powell-Watts v. City of Calumet City, 2016 IL App (1st) 151973-U

Wrongful death suit brought against City and officers alleging officers acted willfully and wantonly when using deadly force against an armed individual. Appellate Court upheld Circuit Court’s granting of defendants’ motion for summary judgment, agreeing with arguments that deadly force was used in self-defense of the officers and in defense of others.


Qualkinbush v. Skubisz, 357 Ill.App.3d 594 (2005)

Perhaps the last of the election recount cases involving punch card voting.  Represented an unsuccessful mayoral candidate in a landmark election case overturning the election results after the election, and seating the unsuccessful mayor in office after votes were subtracted from the successful candidate for fraudulent conduct involving absentee ballots.


Rudd v. Lake County Electoral Bd., 2016 IL App (2d) 160649

Lake County Coroner candidate thrown off the ballot after it was determined he was ineligible due to “party switching” for the same position during the election cycle; decision upheld by Appellate Court.


Sutton v. Cook County Officers Electoral Bd., 2012 IL App (1st) 122528

Successfully defended the county electoral board's decision to overrule the voter's objections to party committee's nomination and candidacy for office of State Senator.


Talmage v. City of Berwyn, 2016 IL App (1st) 142748-U

City successfully defended against multi-million dollar wrongful death suit brought alleging improper maintenance and failure to install proper warning barriers at train station property wherein decedent was killed by a drunk driver who crashed into the ticket building.   Appellate Court affirmed the City’s motion for summary judgment.



Black v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board et al., 750 F. Supp. 901 (1990)

Successfully defended the constitutionality of signature requirements in each district of Cook County and the complete slate requirement, insofar as it does not require a complete slate of judicial candidates.


Brown v. County of Cook, 549 F.Supp.2d 1026 (2008)

Successfully defended the Cook County Sheriff against a former police officer who filed a class action, claiming violations of the RICO Act for activities involving political campaigns.


Cruz v. Village of Lyons, et al., No 15 CV 978

Achieved mid-trial dismissal as a sanction against plaintiff after he threatened an officer outside of the courtroom.


De La Torre v. City of Northlake, 2006 WL 2176369 (2006)

Defense against Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights claims involving an alleged unlawful arrest.  City found not liable.


Entertainment, Inc. v. City of Northlake, 2004 WL 1243972 (2004)

City was successful in defending a §1983 claim arising out of its annexation of property and subjecting the property to the City’s zoning and liquor license ordinances.


Garagher v. Marzullo, 571 F.Supp.2d 879 (2008)

Bartender brought civil rights action against city, police officers, and officials. The court held that Public Safety Director did not cause bartender to be restrained or struck by officer.


Garrison v. Calumet City, Illinois, 450 F.Supp.2d 869 (2006)

Motion for summary judgment granted in favor of City against allegations that plaintiff was not reappointed to his position due to his political affiliations.


Hefley v. Village of Calumet Park, 2006 WL 1343322 (2006)

Defended a Title VII claim of reverse discrimination involving a white police officer's termination after failing to pass the police department's annual firearm qualification test with case being dismissed.


Knox v. Luke, 2012 WL 4361446 (2012)

Disposed of 42 USC §1983 lawsuit against police officer by successfully moving to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.


Muhammad v. Village of South Holland, 2013 WL 1788448 (2013)

Successful defense against claims of false arrest and imprisonment, excessive force, civil conspiracy, and Fourteenth Amendment discrimination.


Nagle v. Village of Calumet Park, 2006 WL 3797726 (2006)

Title VII race discrimination claim; age discrimination claim; §1983 retaliation claim from Village police officer that were successfully defended.


Owens v. Powell, 2009 WL 347001 (2009)

Suit against City of Calumet City alleging excessive force by police; won by City.


Papaleo v. Dart, et al., 09 CV 2218 (2013)

 Appointed as a Special State’s Attorney to defend former Superintendent of Cook County jail against claims of deliberate indifference to plaintiff’s medical needs while in jail.  Successfully defeated plaintiff’s allegations.


Pappas v. City of Calumet City, et al., 2013 WL 6254292 (2013)

 Won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of City and officers.  Plaintiff claimed Defendants improperly charged her for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.  The court disagreed and dismissed her claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution.


Rasic v. City of Northlake, 2009 WL 3150428 (2009)

Defended City and prevailed against a claim by a former police officer alleging interference of his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.


Smiley v. Calumet City, Ill., 2009 WL 1381034 (2009)

Represented the City against a Fourteenth Amendment substantive & procedural due process challenge to the City's point-of-sale ordinance, with the City prevailing.


Spruill v. City of Calumet City, Ill., 2007 WL 1594470 (2007)

Claims of retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act successfully defended.


Weigand v. Village of Tinley Park, 114 F.Supp.2d 734 (2000)

Challenged the constitutionality of an ordinance prohibiting children from playing in the street; won judgment for plaintiff and against the Village.


Wicks v. City of Calumet City, et al., 2015 WL 1598102 (2015)

 Won a motion for summary judgment which dismissed claims of unreasonable search and seizure, violation of due process rights, unequal protection of the laws, abuse of process, Monell claim, Fifth Amendment violations and claim for injunctive relief relating to the Inspectional Services Department’s citations for building code violations of a property owned by plaintiff which was in serious disrepair and disorder.


Wilhelm v. City of Calumet City, Ill., 409 F.Supp.2d 991 (2006)

Successful defense against First Amendment claims alleging Plaintiff was not appointed to job because of her speech or political belief, and that her position was abolished because of her protected speech.


Young v. County of Cook, 2007 WL 1704287 (2007)

Successfully represented the county as a Special State’s Attorney against allegations of conspiracy to violate plaintiff’s First Amendment rights and a First Amendment retaliation claim.