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Technology is a good thing, except when it’s not

April 21, 2012 by in General

Thirty days after the trial court dismissed the amended complaint, the plaintiff e-filed its motion to reconsider. The plaintiff filed a paper copy of the motion about 30 days after that, and the trial

court heard and denied it the same day. The plaintiff e-filed its notice of appeal 30 days after the order denying the reconsideration motion.

All of that seems to be fine, but the fatal flaw is suggested by the appellate court’s observation that under “Rules 301 and 303, plaintiff’s motion to reconsider and notice of appeal would be timely if the documents were eligible for e-filing.” Of course, they were not.

Under the e-filing rules of the 18th Judicial Circuit (DuPage County), the case did not qualify for e-filing. Thus, the appellate court held that the plaintiff’s e-filing of the motion for reconsideration was a nullity because it violated the local rules. At that point, the plaintiff was sunk. The deadline to file a notice of appeal passed on the same day that he filed the motion inasmuch as there was no properly-filed postjudgment motion that would have extended the time to appeal.

Furthermore, the circuit court’s rules expressly prohibit e-filing appellate documents and notices even in cases that are otherwise eligible for e-filing. So the notice of appeal was not only untimely, it was also a nullity because the plaintiff e-filed it in violation of the local rules. Due to the “plaintiff’s blatant disregard of supreme court rules and local rules governing e-filing,” the appellate court was without jurisdiction and it dismissed the appeal.

VC & M, Ltd. v. Andrews, 2012 IL App (2d) 110523.

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