Saturday, August 2, 2014

Appellate Court Reiterates That Order Staying Trial Court Proceedings is Injunctive and Appealable Pursuant to Rule 307

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

In Cholipski v. Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., 2014 IL App (1st) 132842, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, reiterated that Supreme Court Rule 307(a)(1) confers jurisdiction on a reviewing court over interlocutory orders that stay trial court proceedings. 

In Cholipski, the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, filed a complaint against an engineering company, an electrical contractor, and others alleging that the husband suffered an injury while on a construction site that resulted from the defendants' negligence. More than three years after the plaintiffs brought suit, the defendants sought leave to bring a third-party complaint against the husband's pain management physician. The defendants sought contribution, alleging that the doctor mistreated the husband, which caused him to become permanently disabled. 

The trial court initially denied the defendants' request for leave, and the defendants moved to reconsider. While that motion was pending, the trial court set a trial date on the underlying negligence action. Thereafter, the trial court granted the defendants' motion to reconsider and permitted them to file a third-party contribution complaint. However, the trial court granted the plaintiffs' request for severance and a separate trial, and stayed the defendants' contribution complaint until resolution of the plaintiffs' negligence action. The defendants appealed the portion of the trial court's order staying their contribution complaint, and the reviewing court issued an order staying the plaintiffs' negligence trial.  

Before addressing the merits, the reviewing court initially rejected the plaintiffs' jurisdictional challenge to the defendants' interlocutory appeal. The court began its analysis by noting that Rule 307(a) provides:
"An appeal may be taken to the Appellate Court from an interlocutory order of court: (1) granting, modifying, refusing, dissolving, or refusing to dissolve or modify an injunction." Ill. S. Ct. R. 307(a)(1) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).
The reviewing court opined that, while Rule 307(a) does not specifically use the word "stay," the supreme court has held that the rule provides jurisdiction for appellate courts to review stays of arbitration and administrative orders. Relying on such precedent, "the appellate court has repeatedly held that Rule 307 permits the interlocutory appeal of a stay of court proceedings" because a stay is injunctive in nature, and therefore, fits squarely within Rule 307(a).

After concluding that Rule 307(a) conferred jurisdiction, the reviewing court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it stayed the defendants' contribution complaint. The court also vacated its prior order staying the plaintiffs' negligence trial.  

Recommended Citation: Charlie Ingrassia, Appellate Court Reiterates That Order Staying Trial Court Proceedings is Injunctive and Appealable Pursuant to Rule 307, (August 2, 2014), The Brief

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