Articles Posted in Illinois Civil Procedure

A contract was entered into between Beckett Media LLC and OnRamp Technologies to allow Beckett to use OnRamp’s applications and websites for “inventory management and sales solution.” According to the contract, “in the event of any litigation of any controversy or dispute arising out of or related to this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

On Oct. 1, 2010, Beckett filed a lawsuit against OnRamp claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Consumer Fraud of Deceptive Business Practices Act.

During the trial, the parties voluntarily dismissed the claims about violation of the two deceptive practices act. Beckett filed an amended complaint for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and replevin, seeking the return of its server as well as money damages incurred by OnRamp’s refusal to return the server.

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On July 15, 2008, Friehiwet Tahir was standing on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Argyle L station platform.  As the train approached the station, Friehiwet extended her right arm into the train’s right-of-way. The train struck her elbow. She lost her balance and fell onto the track’s dock where she died.

On July 5, 2011, Meram Tahir, Friehiwet’s sister, filed a lawsuit against CTA alleging wrongful death. Tahir claimed the CTA had been negligent in choosing not to notice Friehiwet, in failing to stop the train, in failing to keep the train under control, in failing to warn Friehiwet by blowing the train horn and warning of the train’s approach. The lawsuit also claimed that the CTA chose not to apply the brakes and failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid the deadly incident

Tahir also alleged negligence in design and maintenance of the platform and public address system. In addition, Tahir charged that the CTA operated the train with “worn and defective equipment . . .at an excessive and dangerous speed.”

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A house fire severely injured two individuals, Estella Wofford and Leo Seay. The fire was caused by longstanding electrical problems. The claims made by Wofford and Seay were hampered because the landlord’s insurance company, its investigators and the contractor it hired to remove the fire debris destroyed important evidence, including electrical wires, a fuse box and outlets.

Wofford and Seay filed a lawsuit against the landlord for negligence within two years. However, their spoliation claim was filed more than two years, but less than five years, after the fire and their injuries.

Based on the case of Schusse v. Pace, 334 Ill.App.3d 960 (2002), Wofford and Seay requested that the court apply the five-year deadline that is provided by Section 13-205 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. But the presiding judge decided the case following Babich v. River Oaks Toyota, 377 Ill.App.3d 427 (2007) and dismissed the spoliation claim because it was not filed within the two-year deadline set by Section 13-202 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

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James Langholf was a truck driver for Howe Freightways Inc. On Sept. 13, 2011, he pulled his truck onto the shoulder of Interstate 80 in Iowa after his tractor-trailer broke down.

Jesse Inman worked for Hanifen Co. Inc. headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, as a heavy-duty tow truck driver. He responded to Langholf’s call, parking his freight line wrecker directly in front of Langholf’s tractor-trailer.

Another Hanifen employee, Daniel Walsh, also responded to the call and parked his tow truck just behind Langholf’s. At that point, Herbert Terrell, a trucker for Hiner Equipment, LLC sideswiped Walsh’s tow truck and then crashed into Langholf’s tractor-trailer.

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On March 22, 2013, James McGinley, a delivery driver at the House of Blues in Chicago, was using a freight elevator to deliver heavy boxes of liquor to that location. However, when he was using the elevator, a descending door struck him and injured him.

He filed a lawsuit against Sysco Corp., pleading that upon his information and belief, a Sysco employee had been delivering goods to the same location earlier that day and had left his key in the elevator, which in turn was the cause of the door descending onto McGinley and injuring him.

McGinley alleged that Sysco was negligent and was also negligent as a common carrier. Sysco argued that it neither owned the premises nor controlled the elevator and thus had no duty of reasonable care to McGinley.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has found no abuse of discretion where the factors were not delineated in an order when a Cook County judge dismissed a case because of forum non conveniens.

In this case, on Oct. 24, 2013, in Belvidere, Ill., there was a crash involving a car driven by Kenneth Kazort and a garbage truck driven by an operator from Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste LLC. The garbage truck driver was John Padgett. Padgett was alleged to have backed into a driveway in order to turn around and move on to the next resident. When the garbage truck pulled out, Kazort, who was out of view, was blocked by “numerous large trees, a recreational vehicle, vegetation and other foliage.”

As the garbage truck pulled out into the street, Kazort’s car and the truck crashed into each other, killing Kazort. Malinda Ruch was appointed administrator of the Kazort estate and filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County claiming negligence on the part of Padgett and on his employer Advanced Disposal.

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The Illinois Supreme Court has affirmed a decision of a trial judge who denied a motion for substitution of judge that is usually a matter of right under 735 ILCS 5/2-1001(a)(2)(ii). In this case, the special administrator of the Estate of Bowman, Connie Bowman, filed a medical negligence case against Dr. Michael V. Ottney. There were pretrial rulings on substantive issues involving discovery disclosures. Bowman at that point voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit with the right to refile within one year without prejudice. The underlying lawsuit was brought by the plaintiff Connie Bowman who was the special administrator of the estate of Char Bowman who sought damages against the defendant Ottney.

The refiled lawsuit was then assigned to the very same judge who presided over the earlier proceedings. Again, Bowman moved for substitution of judge as a matter of right. The circuit court judge denied the motion but certified a question to the Illinois Appellate Court, which concluded that the court had discretion to deny a motion for substitution filed by a plaintiff where the court had ruled on matters of substance in the plaintiff’s previously filed but now dismissed lawsuit.

The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. In doing so, the Supreme Court said Bowman could have moved for substitution of judge as a matter of right during the proceedings on her 2009 complaint, the first lawsuit. She could have done this even after the judge ruled on matters of substance. Bowman could have moved for cause under Section 2-1001(a)(3) in either the 2009 or the 2013 litigation.

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Mark Harreld brought a personal-injury lawsuit against Lou Butler and DVBC Inc., but on Sept. 16, 2013 a Kane County Circuit Court judge granted the city of Elgin‘s motion to dismiss DVBC’s third-party contribution complaint against the city.

That order did not include the special language, “There is no just reason for delaying the enforcement or appeal of this order” that would have made the order immediately appealable under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a).

Even still, DVBC filed a notice of appeal on Oct. 10, 2013 and eventually noticed its appeal was premature because of the lack of the appeals language in the Sept. 16, 2013 order. However, DVBC used the wrong court procedure for correcting the misstep.

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On April 6, 2012, nine graduates from DePaul University College of Law filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all others who were similarly situated against DePaul. They were making claim that the university and particularly its law school violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and committed common-law fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

The law school graduates claimed that DePaul published “employment and salary statistics that deceptively overstated the percentages of recent graduates who had obtained full-time legal employment with salaries in excess of $70,000.”

The law school graduates said they relied on DePaul’s statistics by entering law school and borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to pay their tuition and taking out loans to pay such tuition. The plaintiffs wanted DePaul to pay a percentage of the tuition they paid as well as the lifetime income they would have earned based on DePaul’s statistics.

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The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the mailbox rule applies when filing a notice of appeal. That means that if an appellant seeks an appeal to a higher court, the notice of appeal time is satisfied as long as the notice is mailed to the Clerk of the Circuit Court before the 30-day deadline expires. That is the case no matter when the notice of appeal is actually received and stamped as filed. The appellate court has also decided that the same principles of the mailbox rule apply to filing initial complaints or seeking post-judgment relief under §2-1401 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

The question for the Illinois Supreme Court was whether the mailbox rule applied to Mark Gruszeczka’s request for judicial review of a ruling by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Gruszeczka alleged that he was injured while working for Alliance Contractors. He claimed  he was entitled to benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. An arbitrator ruled against him, and there was no dispute that the mailbox rule applied when he asked the commission to review that decision.

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