The Illinois Supreme Court’s basic procedural holding in this case is that the mailbox rule applies to documents commencing an action for judicial review of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s denial of benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
But perhaps the more interesting appellate procedure aspect of the case is the tone of the supreme court’s majority opinion, which includes the following projectiles directed at the appellate court workers’ compensation panel:
– “The question for this court is whether a proceeding for review is commenced when the request for summons is placed in the mail or when it is file-stamped by the circuit court. Unlike the appellate court, we do not believe that this question can be answered merely by consulting a dictionary.”
– “[U]nlike the appellate court, we are not at a loss to understand how a legal process can be begun or started when a party places the necessary documents in the mail. Indeed, that is the very essence of the mailbox rule.”
– “The appellate court majority was also concerned that the filing deadline here was supplied by a statute and not a supreme court rule. In Harrisburgh-Raleigh Airport Authority, this court was construing one of its own rules, and the appellate court stated that it was aware of no authority that would allow a court to construe a statute as containing a mailbox rule. . . . That authority is readily available.”
Perhaps the appellate panel should have thought twice before putting this particular decision in the mail.
Gruszeczka v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2013 IL 114212.