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Yellow Cab Co. v. Jones

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 3, 1985.

YELLOW CAB COMPANY, APPELLANT,

v.

JAMES JONES, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. James C. Murray, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

An arbitrator for the Industrial Commission found that while the relationship of employee and employer existed between petitioner, James Jones, and respondent, Yellow Cab Company, petitioner suffered accidental injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment, and awarded him compensation for temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and medical payments. On review, the Industrial Commission reduced the amount awarded for permanent partial disability, and otherwise confirmed the award. On certiorari, the circuit court of Cook County found that the Commission's decision that there existed an employer-employee relationship between the parties was against the manifest weight of the evidence and reversed the decision of the Commission and set aside the award. Petitioner appealed to the appellate court, which reversed the decision of the circuit court and reinstated the decision of the Industrial Commission. (124 Ill. App.3d 644.) We allowed respondent's petition for leave to appeal (94 Ill.2d R. 315).

The rules of this court governing appeals involving review of Industrial Commission orders, in pertinent part, provide:

"Rule 22. Appellate Court Organization

(g) Industrial Commission Appeals. A five-judge panel of the Appellate Court will sit as the Industrial Commission division of each district of the Appellate Court. The Industrial Commission division will hear and decide all appeals involving proceedings to review orders of the Industrial Commission. The division will sit, periodically, as its judicial business requires, at any place in the State it chooses. Five judges must participate in the decisions of the Industrial Commission division, and the concurrence of three shall be necessary to a decision. If a judge designated to serve on this panel cannot participate, the alternate designated by the Supreme Court shall participate. Motions of course may be decided by one judge." 94 Ill.2d R. 22(g).

"Rule 315. Leave to Appeal From the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court

(a) * * * However, no petition for leave to appeal from a judgment of the five-judge panel of the Appellate Court designated to hear and decide cases involving review of Industrial Commission orders shall be filed, unless two or more judges of that panel join in a statement that the case in question involves a substantial question which warrants consideration by the Supreme Court." (94 Ill.2d R. 315(a).)

Here, although there was no statement joined by two or more judges of the panel that the case in question involves a substantial question which warrants consideration by this court, we allowed leave to appeal in order to consider respondent's attack on the validity of Rules 22(g) and 315(a).

Respondent contends that the "creation, organization and jurisdiction of [the Industrial Commission division] directly conflicts with article VI of the Illinois Constitution" and that the rules purporting to establish the division are void. It contends further that in proscribing petitions for leave to appeal from decisions of the Industrial Commission division unless two judges of that court state that the case involves a substantial question which warrants consideration by the Supreme Court, Rule 315(a) imposes upon petitioners for leave to appeal from decisions of the Industrial Commission division a burden which cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny. It argues that Rule 315(a), as amended, deprives those seeking this type of appeal of the unrestricted opportunity to petition this court for leave to appeal granted all other litigants. This, it asserts, results in a deprivation of equal protection and due process. Respondent argues further that the panel, as created, is not required to be selected from the judicial district in which it sits and is violative of article VI, section 5, which requires that an appellate division be within each judicial district and that the appellate judges be selected from each district. Finally, they argue that in a panel consisting of five judges from five districts, four of the judges "are deprived of the jurisdiction vested in them by the Constitution" and that "an opinion from this special court is void due to the constitutional requirement that each appellate division have at least three judges."

Article VI, section 1, of the Constitution of 1970 provides for a supreme court, an appellate court and circuit courts. Section 2 provides for the division of the State into five judicial districts "for the selection of Supreme and Appellate Court Judges." Article VI, section 6, provides for appeals as a matter of right, with exceptions not pertinent here, from the final judgment of a circuit court to the appellate court in the judicial district in which the circuit court is located. In each instance the clear and explicit provision is for one appellate court with its members to be selected from the five districts. The only limitation on jurisdiction is that the appeal be to the appellate court in the judicial district in which the circuit court is located. The Constitution does not provide for an appellate court of the judicial district.

The clear and explicit language of article VI, section 5, provides that the supreme court shall prescribe by rule the number of appellate divisions in each judicial district, that each division shall have at least three judges, and that assignments to divisions shall be made by the supreme court. Article VI contains no restriction or limitation concerning the district of selection of the members of a division, nor does it provide that all of the judges of each division within a judicial district be selected from that district. The only limitation on the number of judges in a division provides for a minimum of three and makes no reference to a maximum number.

The judicial article adopted in 1962, effective January 1, 1964, provided:

"General administrative authority over all courts in this State including the temporary assignment of any judge to a court other than that for which he was selected with the consent of the Chief Judge of the Circuit to which such assignment is made is vested in the Supreme Court and shall be exercised by the Chief Justice in accordance with its rules." Ill. Const. 1870, art. VI (1964), sec. 2.

"The Supreme Court shall have authority to assign additional judges to service in the Appellate Court from time to time as the business of the Court requires. * * * Assignments to divisions shall be made by the Supreme Court and a judge may be assigned to a division in a district other than the district in which such judge resides with the consent of a majority of the ...


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