By: Carson Griffis*
A recent decision by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, clarifies that a timely post-judgment motion that has been stricken by the circuit court does not toll the time to file a notice of appeal even if the same post-judgment motion is refiled with a new notice of motion and ultimately ruled on. Rather, to toll the time to appeal, the order striking the post-judgment motion must be vacated and the court must rule on the original, timely motion.
In Joseph v. Evergreen Motors, Inc., 2019 IL App (1st) 180360, the circuit court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a motion to reconsider that decision, but the circuit court struck the motion to reconsider because the plaintiff did not provide the court with a courtesy copy of the motion. More than 30 days after the court had granted the summary judgment motion, the plaintiff refiled the same motion to reconsider with a new notice of motion. The circuit court denied the refiled motion to reconsider, and the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal within 30 days of that denial.
The appellate court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the plaintiff's appeal. It first noted that, under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(a)(1), a post-judgment motion filed within 30 days of a final judgment will toll the time for filing a notice of appeal until the circuit court disposes of that motion. But, the court explained, this rule did not apply because the circuit court had stricken the plaintiff's timely motion to reconsider. The plaintiff's refiled motion, even though it was accompanied by a new notice of motion, was untimely and thus did not toll the time to appeal under Rule 303(a)(1). The plaintiff should have asked the circuit court to vacate its order striking her motion to reconsider and rule on the merits of the original, timely motion. Until the order striking the motion had been vacated, the notice of motion had no effect because no timely motion to reconsider was pending.
*Carson Griffis is an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Appeals Division of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. No comments made in this post are made on behalf of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, nor do they reflect the views or opinions of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.