By: Carson Griffis*
In Heartland Bank & Trust v. Katz, 2020 IL App (1st) 182259, the Illinois Appellate Court reminded litigants that an order disposing of a petition for relief from judgment under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-1401, must be appealed within 30 days. In that case, the plaintiffs obtained a default judgment, and the defendants later filed section 2-1401 petitions to vacate that judgment. The circuit court granted the petitions and the case proceeded to final judgment, after which the plaintiff attempted to appeal the grant of the section 2-1401 petitions.
The appellate court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider that appeal, however, because the plaintiff did not file a timely notice of appeal. The court noted that, under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(b)(3), a judgment or order granting or denying a section 2-1401 petition may be immediately appealed by filing a notice of appeal within 30 days, and the failure to do so deprives the appellate court of jurisdiction over such an order. The appellate court emphasized that this conclusion was consistent with the nature of a section 2-1401 petition, which initiates new and separate proceedings attacking a final judgment rather continuing the same case. Because an order disposing of such a petition ends those new proceedings entirely, it follows that such an order is final and appealable.
*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.