By John M. Fitzgerald
(left), Partner, Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC
Garrett L. Boehm, Jr.
, Shareholder, Johnson & Bell, Ltd.
The ALA remains active in proposing amendments to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Just this week, the ALA proposed several new amendments to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules that are intended to foster the efficient and speedy resolution of civil appeals. These amendments, which would change certain language in Illinois Supreme Court Rules 306, 308, 315 and 321, have been submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee for its consideration. The proposed amendments, which are discussed below, were authored by ALA Board member Don Sampen and were unanimously approved by the ALA Rules Committee.
I. Proposed Amendment to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306
The ALA proposes adding a new Rule 306(c)(8), which would provide as follows:
“After the petitioner has filed the petition and supporting record, and the time for filing any answer has expired, the Appellate Court shall consider and decide the petition within 30 days thereafter.”
The purpose of this amendment is to set forth a reasonable time within which the Illinois Appellate Court shall decide whether or not to accept a petition for leave to appeal from one of the types of orders described in Rule 306(a). Importantly, this amendment would not require the Illinois Appellate Court to render any decision on the merits of any such appeal within 30 days. It would set a timeframe only on the Illinois Appellate Court’s decision whether to grant a petition for leave to appeal. This amendment is intended to provide certainty and predictability as to when a petitioner or respondent should expect a decision to be made as to whether an interlocutory appeal will proceed.
II. Proposed Amendment to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308
The ALA proposes adding a new Rule 308(f), which would provide as follows:
“After the applicant has filed the application and supporting record, and the time for filing any answer has expired, the Appellate Court shall consider and decide the application within 30 days thereafter.”
Like the proposed amendment to Rule 306, this proposed amendment is intended to set forth a reasonable time within which the Illinois Appellate Court shall decide whether or not to accept a Rule 308 application for leave to appeal. This amendment would thereby provide certainty as to when such a decision will be made. This language, of course, would not require the Illinois Appellate Court to decide the merits of any Rule 308 appeal within any set timeframe.
III. Proposed Amendment to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 315
The ALA proposes amending Supreme Court Rule 315(f) to delete the phrase “within such 21-day period” from the end of the first sentence of that provision. As amended, the first sentence of Rule 315(f) would read:
“The respondent need not but may file an answer, with proof of service, within 21 days after the expiration of the time for the filing of the petition, or within such further time as the Supreme Court or a judge thereof may grant within such 21-day period.”
The rationale for this proposal is that, in many instances, 21 days may be too short a period of time in which to file a motion for an extension of the filing deadline and receive a ruling on that motion, especially if an extension is necessitated by an unforeseen occurrence.
IV. Proposed Amendment to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 321
The ALA proposes adding this underscored language to Supreme Court Rule 321:
“The common law record includes every document filed, including compact disks and other electronic filings, and judgment and order entered in the cause and any documentary exhibits offered and filed by any party.”
This amendment is intended simply to clarify that the common law record in a given case may include not only paper documents but also electronic filings. If a party was permitted to file a document in electronic format in the circuit court, that fact should not provide a basis for excluding it from the common law record.
The ALA remains active in proposing amendments to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules that are intended to promote fairness and efficiency in the appellate process. The ALA appreciates the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee’s consideration of these proposed amendments to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Any ALA members who have ideas for amending the Illinois Supreme Court Rules are encouraged to contact the co-chairs of the ALA Rules Committee, John Fitzgerald and Garrett Boehm.