Bell v. City of Country Club Hills, No. 16-1245 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2012, the City of Country Club Hills City Council adopted an ordinance that provided to homeowners a 25 percent rebate of 2010 city property taxes paid in 2011, subject to the completion of an application by the homeowner and approval by the City Clerk. This was the city’s twelfth consecutive year of offering a rebate program. The application stated that the “FILING OF THIS APPLICATION DOES NOT GUARANTEE APPROVAL BY THE CITY OF COUNTRY CLUB HILLS.” The city prepared the rebate checks but never distributed them. In 2012, the Cook County treasurer overpaid the city by more than $6 million. The county successfully sued to collect the overpayment. Bell filed a purported class action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, arguing that refusal to issue the rebates amounted to an unconstitutional taking and asserting state law claims for conversion and unjust enrichment. The City Council then repealed the 2012 ordinance. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal, agreeing that Bell had no constitutionally protected property interest in the expectation of a rebate, and that she had adequate state court remedies for her claims under state law.