By Josh Wolff
Research Attorney, Illinois Appellate Court, First District
In Finko v. City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings and Department of Revenue, 2016 IL
App (1st) 152888,
the petitioner, Andrew Finko, had received two parking tickets, one on July 10,
2014, and another 18 days later. Finko contested the tickets by mail. An
administrative law judge (ALJ) found that the parking violations had occurred and
issued separate orders for each ticket. The City of Chicago Department
of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) adopted
the ALJ’s decisions.
subsequently filed a pro se complaint
in the circuit court for administrative review, listing both ticket numbers and
attaching copies of the two DOAH’s orders as exhibits. Two months after Finko
filed his complaint, the circuit court issued an order which referenced only
the first of his tickets. In response, the City of Chicago filed a complete
record of the proceedings to support its position on only the first ticket,
including a copy of the ticket and photographs of the street
and street signs from the day the ticket was issued. The City did not file such
a record for the second ticket.
weeks later, Finko filed a motion to consolidate and to compel the City to file
the record of proceedings for the second ticket. The city responded, arguing
that, although Finko was contesting both tickets, he filed only one complaint
for administrative review instead of two, which contravened administrative law.
The circuit court denied Finko’s motion, in part, because he did not file a
complaint specific to the second ticket. The court eventually ruled on Finko’s
first ticket, finding that he did not commit a parking violation and reversing the
subsequently appealed the court’s denial of his motion to consolidate and its
refusal to consider his challenge to the DOAH’s decision on his second ticket.
appellate court observed that the issue was governed by section 3-103 of the
Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/3-103 (West 2014)), which stated
that “[e]very action to review a final administrative decision shall be
commenced by the filing of a complaint” within 35 days of the decision. The
court further found that, based on the plain language of this section, a party
must file a complaint for review of “a final administrative decision,” and nothing
in the section allowed for the filing of a single complaint for review of
multiple final administrative decisions. Section 3-103 thus required Finko to
file a complaint for administrative review for each of his tickets, and because
he did not, the circuit court had no jurisdiction to review his challenge to
his second ticket.
appellate court also rejected Finko’s contention that substantial compliance
with section 3-103 was sufficient. The appellate court accordingly affirmed the
circuit court’s judgment.
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