By Stephen Soltanzadeh
Associate, Ancel Glink
The First District of the Illinois Appellate Court recently held that it lacked jurisdiction over an appeal from a circuit court’s “supplemental opinion,” entered nearly a year after its initial decision, where the appellant did not timely file a notice of appeal from the initial order. The appellate court held that because the circuit court’s initial decision disposed of all claims between the parties, that decision was a final order; therefore, the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to enter a supplemental decision more than 30 days after the final order and, in turn, the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to review the supplemental opinion.
CitiBank N.A. v. The Illinois Department of Revenue, 2016 IL App (1st) 133650, involved a consolidated appeal concerning Department of Revenue denials of requests by plaintiffs CitiBank N.A. and Chrysler Financial Services America (Chrysler) for refunds of Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act (ROTA) taxes. Chrysler sought administrative review of the Department’s decision and, on March 14, 2014, the circuit court affirmed. Over eight months later, in November 2014, Chrysler filed a section 2-1401 petition (735 ILCS 5/2-1401) stating that it had not learned of the circuit court’s decision until October 2014 and arguing that the circuit court had overlooked a factual stipulation.
In December 2014, the circuit court granted Chrysler’s section 2-1401 petition, and in March 2015, it issued a supplemental opinion, which again affirmed the Department’s decision. The March 2015 supplemental opinion was identical to the March 2014 decision, except that it contained an additional discussion of Chrysler’s argument regarding the stipulation and included a statement that Chrysler’s time for filing a notice of appeal would begin to run upon entry of the supplemental opinion. Chrysler filed a notice of appeal within 30 days of the March 2015 supplemental opinion.
The appellate court held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because Chrysler failed to timely file a notice of appeal after the circuit court’s March 2014 order. The court explained that, because the March 2014 order disposed of all of Chrysler’s claims, it was final and left Chrysler with four choices: (1) file a posttrial motion within 30 days; (2) file a notice of appeal within 30 days; (3) accept the decision; or (4) file a section 2-1401 petition. Because Chrysler failed to timely file a notice of appeal from either the March 2014 final order or the December 2015 order granting the 2-1401 petition, it lost its opportunity to appeal.
The court further rejected Chrysler’s argument that it was appealing only the court’s March 2015 modified opinion, not the March 2014 or December 2015 decisions. The court held that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to modify its decision after 30 days of its entry, and that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to review an order that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to enter. The court also determined that the circuit court’s statement that Chrysler’s time to appeal would begin to run from entry of the March 2015 order had no effect because the circuit court may not extend the time for filing a notice of appeal. Finally, the court observed that all of the claims raised by Chrysler on appeal related to issues decided in the circuit court’s March 2014 order, which Chrysler could appeal only by timely filing a timely notice of appeal within 30 days of entry of the order. Accordingly, the court dismissed Chrysler’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction.