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Last Man Standing

01 Dec 2002

An individual and a citizens' group (the Better Government Association) had no standing to sue "on behalf of and for the benefit of the State of Illinois" against former Governor George Ryan, his campaign organization, and present and former employees of the Secretary of State. The suit sought to impose constructive trusts on funds and benefits alleged to have been allegedly received by the defendants. The plaintiffs relied on a statute which purports to confer standing on citizens in instances in which the State has been defrauded and the Attorney General (here, James Ryan) refuses to sue, 735 ILCS 5/20-104(b) (West 1998).

The Supreme Court held that only the Attorney General is empowered to represent the State in litigation when it is the real party in interest, and the statute is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to confer standing on private citizens to sue in such cases. Lyons v. Ryan, Dkt. No. 92503, 2002 Ill. LEXIS 625 (Sept. 19, 2002).

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