This case was a permissive interlocutory appeal of questions of law certified by the trial court pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308.
The appellate court noted that none of the parties to the original complaint filed an appellate brief. Only the Illinois Department of Corrections, as third-party respondent-appellant, filed a brief.
The court first recited the general rule that, when no appellee brief is filed, the court should consider the merits of the appeal when the issues and the record are susceptible to “easy decision,” but that a court should otherwise decide the case in favor of the appellant if the appellant establishes a prima facie case for reversal.
That rule does not apply, however, to certified questions because when a case is in that posture, a ruling in favor of an appellant who establishes a prima facie case would entail “articulating a legal proposition that may or may not be correct” and “the failure to file an appellee’s brief does not establish or corroborate the answer to a certified question.” Thus, the appellate court must address a certified question on its merits regardless of its apparent simplicity.
Mahoney v. Gummerson, 2012 IL App (2d) 120391.