Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ALA Honors Recently Installed Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court Lloyd A. Karmeier

By Charlie Ingrassia
Associate, Adler Murphy & McQuillen LLP


On February 23, 2017, the ALA gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago for a special luncheon honoring Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, who assumed the position late last year.

ALA President Joanne R. Driscoll began the luncheon by welcoming ALA members and guests, which included Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, as well as numerous Illinois Appellate Court justices and Circuit Court judges. Thereafter, Chief Justice Karmeier shared his vision for the state’s High Court. Drawing a large laugh from the audience, the Chief Justice remarked that his top priority is to create a “Hail to the Chief” twitter account. Turning to a more serious note, Chief Justice Karmeier noted that the Illinois Supreme Court changes the position of Chief Justice every three years, which it does with “little fanfare.” His role as the state’s top jurist is to oversee the operation of the Illinois courts, including budgetary matters.

Chief Justice Karmeier outlined a number of court initiatives. These included a commitment to promptly and fairly deciding cases; bolstering the Illinois Supreme Court’s commission on professionalism to improve ethical standards; continuing the Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice program in order to help pro se litigants navigate the legal system; pursuing criminal justice reform, including alternatives to cash bond to address situations in which people are held because they cannot afford nominal bail; and the transition to a statewide e-filing system.

Finally, Chief Justice Karmeier discussed his desire to remedy negative campaigning that has become commonplace in judicial elections. He explained that such campaigning is not limited to a certain political ideology or interest group. Sharing his own experience, the Chief Justice recounted a $2.6 million dollar negative advertising campaign against him, most of which was spent during the last two weeks before election day. Chief Justice Karmeier stressed that the judiciary’s integrity has “taken a beating” from negative campaigns and expressed his belief that lawyers have a duty to help ensure that debates regarding judicial candidates are factually based.

The ALA thanks Chief Justice Karmeier for his insightful and engaging comments.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Never Put Off ‘Till Tomorrow: The Seventh Circuit Reminds Us of a Little Known Rule 54(b) Trap

By Jonathan B. Amarilio
Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP


Trial and appellate practitioners are often reminded that the failure of a losing party to immediately appeal once a federal district court enters a Rule 54(b) order can be fatal. The entry of a partial final judgment and order in those circumstances starts the appeal clock running. It is a “use it or lose it” scenario. Less well known is a rule in the Seventh Circuit requiring parties to timely request a Rule 54(b) order from the district court where a partial final judgment has been entered.

In Kingv. Newbold, 845 F.3d 866, the Seventh Circuit recently reminded us of this rule. In this case, Raymond King, an Illinois prisoner, sued a number of defendants claiming the medical treatment he received in prison was an Eighth Amendment violation. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which was granted in part, and later one defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, which was also granted in part. The combined effect of the orders was to narrow the claims such that only two doctors remained in the suit. More than 30 days after the order granting judgment on the pleadings was entered, and more than a year after partial summary judgment was granted, King moved for entry of a Rule 54(b) judgment. The district court granted the motion and the matter went up on appeal.

Examining its own jurisdiction to consider the matter, the Seventh Circuit stated that “[l]ong ago we added a timeliness requirement as a hedge against dilatory Rule 54(b) motions,” further explaining that “as a general rule it is an abuse of discretion for a district judge to grant a motion for a Rule 54(b) order when the motion is filed more than thirty days after the entry of the adjudication to which it relates.” The court explained that there may be cases of “extreme hardship where dilatoriness is not occasioned by neglect or carelessness in which application of this general rule might be abrogated in the interest of justice,” but it said those instances are “extremely rare,” and found those circumstances lacking here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

An Appellate Cautionary Tale: The Appellate Court Dismisses an Appeal for the Fourth Time in the Same Case in Oruta v. B.E.W.

By Louis J. Manetti
Attorney, Codilis and Associates, PC
 
An appeal’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction is usually unremarkable. But in Oruta v. B.E.W., 2016 IL App (1st) 152735, the First District Appellate Court’s dismissal marked the fourth time—in the same case—that it ejected the plaintiff from the Appellate Court because it lacked jurisdiction.
 
The court-characterized “bizarre” litigation began when Larry Oruta filed a lawsuit against several defendants to enforce a workers’ compensation judgment “that never existed.” Oruta v. B.E.W., 2016 IL App (1st) 152735, ¶ 5. Then, Oruta filed a garnishment against a bank, and the trial court issued an $80,000 turnover order in Oruta’s favor. Id. But when the court learned that no judgment actually existed, it vacated the turnover order and commanded Oruta to give back any money he may have received. Id. Oruta filed the first appeal, seeking review of the order vacating the turnover order. Id. However, the Appellate Court noted that Oruta filed the appeal before the final order in the underlying case had been entered, so the first appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Id. ¶ 6.
 
Back in the circuit court, Oruta failed to comply with the court’s mandate that he return any ill-gotten turnover funds. Id. ¶ 9. Eventually, the court found him in civil contempt, and months later it reaffirmed in an order that he would be in civil contempt until he returned the money. Id. Three weeks later, however, the court ordered Oruta’s immediate release from custody. Id. This caused Oruta to file the second appeal, in which he sought review of the order reaffirming the civil contempt and the order mandating his release from custody. Id. ¶ 10. But the Appellate Court found that the appeal from the continued contempt order was untimely because it was not filed within 30 days, and that the incarceration was terminated by the time Oruta appealed, so the second appeal was dismissed. Id.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Special Event: "2017: Reflections on the Past – Hopes for the Future” featuring Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier

By Josh Wolff
Research Attorney, Illinois Appellate Court, First District


On February 23, the ALA will host a special event titled “2017:  Reflections on the Past – Hopes for the Future,” featuring Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Karmeier will share his experiences from being on the state’s high court for the past 12 years. He will discuss the challenges facing the court and what he hopes to achieve during his tenure as Chief Justice.

The event will be held on Thursday, February 23, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Union League Club, 65 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago.

Attendees will receive MCLE credit.

For more information about any of the events and to register, please click here.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

ALA Honors the Justices of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District

By Evan Siegel
Assistant Attorney General, Illinois Attorney General's Office

The ALA honored the Justices of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, at its bi-annual reception, held at the Allegro Hotel in Chicago, on the evening of Thursday, January 26. The Association recognized the late Justice Laura Liu and Justice Margaret Stanton McBride for their outstanding contributions to the appellate bar. Justice David Ellis paid tribute to his friend and colleague Justice Liu, and Justice Maureen E. Connors celebrated Justice McBride, her friend and mentor. Justice Liu's husband, attorney Michael J. Kasper, and their daughter, Sophie, were welcomed guests. The Association contributed in Justice Liu's honor to a scholarship fund in the Justice's name at the St. Therese’s Chinese Catholic School in Chinatown. On behalf of Justice McBride, the ALA donated to the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, a charity located on the Near West Side. Photographs of the event can be accessed here (password is "ala"), courtesy of Jasmin Shah Photography. For reprints, please contact Jasmin here.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Amendment to Rule 23

By John M. Fitzgerald (left), Partner, Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC 
Garrett L. Boehm, Jr., Shareholder, Johnson & Bell, Ltd.

Supreme Court Rule 23 is a topic of frequent discussion among Illinois lawyers.  A large number of Illinois Appellate Court decisions are issued not as published opinions, but as unpublished written orders (frequently known as “Rule 23 orders”), which are “not precedential and may not be cited by any party except to support contentions of double jeopardy, res judicata, collateral estoppel or law of the case.”  See Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 23(e)(1).  Many Illinois lawyers may not be aware that multiple bar associations have proposed a significant change to Rule 23, or that the Illinois Supreme Court has rendered a decision on that proposal.

On January 10, 2014, the presidents of the Appellate Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association wrote a joint letter to then-Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court to propose an amendment to Rule 23 that would permit Rule 23 orders to be cited as persuasive authority if they were filed on or after January 1, 2011.  The Supreme Court deferred adoption of the proposal at that time but invited the Associations to undertake a comprehensive review and “consider whether there is continued value to distinguishing between published and nonpublished dispositions since they are all available electronically and no longer bound in paper form.”

The bar associations accepted this invitation and formed a Special Committee on Supreme Court Rule 23, chaired by former ALA Presidents J. Timothy Eaton and Michael T. Reagan and consisting of representatives of the ALA, CBA, ISBA and the Executive Committee of the Illinois Judges Association.  The ALA was represented by John M. Fitzgerald and Garrett L. Boehm, Jr., its Rules Committee co-chairs.  In August 2016, the Special Committee submitted a revised proposed amendment to Rule 23 that would permit the citation of Rule 23 orders issued after the amendment would take effect as persuasive authority.

After seeking input from the Illinois Appellate Court justices, the Supreme Court voted during its November 2016 Term to make no changes to Supreme Court Rule 23 at this time.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Don't Miss Out on the ALA's February Events

By Josh Wolff
Research Attorney, Illinois Appellate Court, First District


On February 9 and 16, the ALA will host its annual Illinois Supreme Court 2016 Civil Cases Year in Review, featuring a panel discussion about the most significant civil cases decided by the Illinois Supreme Court this past year.

There will be two events: one in Chicago (February 9) and one in Wheaton (February 16). Both events will feature Illinois Appellate Court Justice Ann B. Jorgensen of the Second District, and past ALA presidents J. Timothy Eaton and Michael T. Reagan.

The Chicago event will be held on Thursday, February 9, from noon to 1:45 p.m., at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, 2 North LaSalle Street, 17th Floor.

The Wheaton event will be held on Thursday, February 16, from noon to 1:45 p.m., at the Attorney Resource Center, 505 North County Farm Road, 3rd Floor.

Attendees at both events should bring their own lunches and will receive 1.5 hours of MCLE credit.

For more information about any of the events and to register, please click here.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.