Questions raised about Daley's health

July 23, 2014

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2012.

The health of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley could be keeping him from testifying in a lawsuit over a contract from when he was in office.

Daley was subpoenaed by attorneys for a restaurant in Millenium Park to testify in their lawsuit against the City of Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration sued the restaurant in 2011 over its original contract.

Through court filings, Daley’s lawyers argued he wasn’t healthy enough to take the stand, and he didn’t want his medical situation made public. The former mayor suffered symptoms similar to a stroke earlier this year, but last month, Cook County Commissioner John Daley told reporters at an unrelated press event that his brother was in “excellent health” and was “enjoying life.”

Judge Moshe Jacobius ruled Wednesday that Daley’s medical records could be kept private, but that any other hearings regarding whether or not Daley could testify would be open, though his medical information would always be omitted. Jacobius said as a former mayor, Daley affords no greater rights than an average citizen, but no lesser rights either, and thus his medical history can remain out of the public viewing. Jacobius ruled that only those involved in the case would be allowed to attend a hearing Wednesday where the medical records were revealed.

But after that group met behind closed doors, the Park Grill lawyers were convinced they should withdraw their subpoena of Daley.

“We saw the medical information which I cannot disclose, and it was such that it was the right thing to do to withdraw the subpoena,” said Stephen Novack, one of the Park Grill attorneys. “I can’t say anything at all about what was in there - you heard what the judge said.”

The judge said the case would continue without Daley, unless his situation changes. Attorneys are now able to use a discovery deposition the former mayor gave last summer, though that document has been called into criticism for the lack of answers the mayor gave to general questions.

Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @laurenchooljian