Declaratory Judgment Before Exhausting Administrative Remedies Under Illinois Law
Ostvig, Deborah A.
Neuffer, Brian E.
MetadataShow full item record
Government agencies increasingly are pursing enforcement actions and litigation against companies they believe have violated laws and the agency’s regulations. News reports of multimillion-dollar settlements with government agencies are commonplace. Companies targeted by government agencies often feel powerless because the agency has its own administrative review procedure for challenging its enforcement actions, and that process is usually time consuming and futile. However, from our nation’s founding, the judicial branch has been the primary check on government agencies. This Article explores how the declaratory judgment procedure in Illinois may be used to test the validity of agency actions in the courts before exhausting administrative remedies. This Article first describes the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the related primary jurisdiction doctrine. It then overviews the Illinois declaratory judgment statute and summarizes cases illustrating exceptions to the exhaustion doctrine. The article concludes with strategic practice considerations for using the declaratory judgments to challenge improper agency actions.