Saturday, July 19, 2014

Appellate Court Cautions That Parties Cannot Supplement Record on Appeal by Attaching Documents to Briefs or Including Them in Appendix

By Charlie Ingrassia
Law Clerk to Hon. Susan F. Hutchinson, Illinois Appellate Court, Second District

Scepurek v. Board of Trustees of the Northbrook Firefighters' Pension Fund, 2014 IL App (1st) 131066, involved a judicial review of a pension fund's finding that a firefighter was not entitled to a duty disability pension. While the substantive aspect of the case focused on the Administrative Review Law (735 ILCS 5/3-101 (West 2008)), the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, began its opinion by providing a helpful reminder that parties cannot supplement the record on appeal by attaching documents to a brief or including them in an appendix.

In Scepurek, the pension board, on April 10, 2012, denied the firefighter's request for a duty disability pension. Thereafter, the firefighter sought judicial review of that administrative finding. On March 8, 2013, the trial court affirmed the pension board's finding, with the written order providing that the trial court affirmed "for the reasons stated on the record."

On appeal, the firefighter did not include a transcript or a summary of the trial court's stated reasons as part of the appellate record. The pension board attached a copy of the trial court's remarks as an appendix to its response brief. However, the reviewing court cautioned that parties cannot supplement the record in such a manner and noted that neither party followed court rules.

Nonetheless, the reviewing court cited Illinois Supreme Court Rule 329 (eff. Jan. 1, 2006), which allows parties to "supplement the record on appeal to include omissions, correct errors, and settle controversies as to whether the record accurately reflects what occurred in the trial court." The court concluded that, although the firefighter had already filed his opening brief when the pension board attached the transcript of the March 8, 2013 hearing to its responsive brief's appendix, the firefighter did not suffer unfair prejudice because he was represented at the hearing. Thus, the reviewing court amended the record on appeal pursuant to Rule 329 to include that transcript.

Recommended Citation: Charlie Ingrassia, Appellate Court Cautions That Parties Cannot Supplement Record on Appeal by Attaching Documents to Briefs or Including Them in Appendix,  (July 19, 2014), The Brief

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.