By Kimberly Glasford
Law Clerk to Hon. Terrence J. Lavin, Illinois Appellate Court, First District
In Wing v. Chicago Transit Authority, 2016
IL App (1st) 153517, the appellate court once again found that a litigant’s failure
to comply with procedural rules in the circuit and appellate courts foreclosed
meaningful review of her claims.
plaintiff, who was represented by counsel in the circuit court, filed a pro se appeal from the judgment entered
against her following a jury trial. In short, she asserted that unfair
procedural irregularities occurred below. The defendant responded, however,
that it would be improper for the appellate court to review the merits of the
plaintiff’s claims due to her own failure to follow procedural rules. The
appellate court agreed.
First, the appellate
court found that the plaintiff failed to file a posttrial motion and,
consequently, failed to preserve the issues raised in this civil appeal
pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 366(b)(2) (eff. Feb. 1, 1994).
appellate court found it could not review the merits of the appeal because the plaintiff
failed to file a report of proceedings, directing the plaintiff to the
oft-cited rule set forth in Foutch v.
O’Bryant, 99 Ill. 2d 389, 391-92 (1984). See also Ill. S. Ct. R. 321 (eff.
Feb. 1, 1994); Ill. S. Ct. R. 323 (eff. Dec. 13, 2005). The court further noted
that while the plaintiff attached documents to her appellate brief, those
documents were not included in the record on appeal.
the appellate court found the plaintiff’s opening brief failed to comply with
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 341(h) (eff. Feb. 6, 2013). Specifically, the brief
omitted the requisite statement of the issues, statement of jurisdiction and
statement of facts. Additionally, the plaintiff’s argument section did not
properly set forth cohesive arguments with citations to authority. Due to these
deficiencies, the appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment.
Hyman and Justice Mason each filed a special concurrence. Justice Hyman essentially
added that the plaintiff’s concerns may have reflected her misunderstanding of
the trial process and, thus, could be alleviated by explaining that process. In
contrast, Justice Mason observed that the appellate court routinely refused to
consider matters outside the record and found that the plaintiff’s concerns
should not be addressed in this appeal.
the pro se nature of the plaintiff’s
claims in Wing places some doubt on
whether a posttrial motion would have had any merit, the case nonetheless
reminds trial attorneys intending to pursue an appeal that they must file such
a motion, including all potential contentions. Moreover, Wing provides a short checklist of procedural challenges for
appellees attempting to secure an affirmance.
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.