Towns Win Fight to Argue Airport Lawsuit in DuPage

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Byline: Robert McCoppin Daily Herald Staff Writer

Sports teams fight all season for the home-court advantage. DuPage County won that advantage Thursday in a single court hearing.

A DuPage judge ruled the county's legal battle to prevent expansion at O'Hare International Airport will be fought in a DuPage court, not in Cook County.

"This is a big one," said Joe Karaganis, an attorney representing the county. "We think it's important that the courts where the victims are located hear this case."

Lawyers are prohibited from impugning the integrity of the courts. Without criticizing Cook County courts, Karaganis said, "There is a perception that you're going to get an objective examination of the facts in DuPage County."

Anton Valukas, a former federal prosecutor who is defending Chicago in the case, denied the city was seeking any advantage in trying to move the case to Cook.

"It's not a matter of advantage," he said. "We thought Cook County was the proper forum."

Most of O'Hare lies in Cook, but the southwest corner extends into DuPage, where residents complain that it causes noise and air pollution.

Since either county would be a proper location for legal action, DuPage Circuit Court Judge Bonnie Wheaton ruled, those who file suit get to choose the court.

The county joined Wood Dale, Bensenville and Elmhurst in the lawsuit in October. …