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03/23/95 BARBARA A. MCGAUGHY v. ILLINOIS HUMAN

March 23, 1995

BARBARA A. MCGAUGHY, APPELLEE,
v.
THE ILLINOIS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL. (THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE, APPELLANT). -- BETTY L. BARNES, APPELLANT, V. THE ILLINOIS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL, APPELLEES.



The Honorable Justice Miller delivered the opinion of the court:

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller

JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court:

Barbara McGaughy and Betty Barnes filed separate charges with the Department of Human Rights alleging unlawful discrimination by their respective employers. In each case, the Department of Human Rights dismissed the charge for lack of substantial evidence. The Illinois Human Rights Commission affirmed both dismissals. In accordance with section 8-111(A)(1) of the Illinois Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5/8-111(A)(1) (West 1992)) and Supreme Court Rule 335 (134 Ill. 2d R. 335), McGaughy and Barnes then filed separate petitions for review in the appellate court. Neither McGaughy nor Barnes, however, fully complied with the provision in Rule 335(a) that requires a petitioner to name the agency and all other parties of record as respondents in a petition for review. In McGaughy's case, the appellate court held that it had jurisdiction over the appeal notwithstanding the petitioner's failure to join all necessary parties, and the court remanded the matter to the Commission for further proceedings. (243 Ill. App. 3d 751.) In Barnes' case, however, the appellate court dismissed the appeal because Barnes failed to name the appropriate respondents in her petition for review. We granted the employer's petition for leave to appeal in McGaughy's case and Barnes' petition for leave to appeal in her case (145 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)) and have consolidated the two cases for review.

The procedural history of each case may be summarized briefly. In cause No. 75571, Barbara McGaughy filed a charge with the Department of Human Rights pursuant to section 7-102(A)(1) of the Illinois Human Rights Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 68, par. 7-102(A)(1)), alleging that the Department of State Police had discriminated against her on the basis of race, in violation of section 2-102(A) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 68, par. 2-102(A)). After conducting an investigation and a fact-finding conference, the Department of Human Rights dismissed the charge for lack of substantial evidence. McGaughy then filed a request for review with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. On May 4, 1992, the Commission affirmed the Department's dismissal. On June 29, 1992, the Commission denied McGaughy's application for rehearing.

On August 3, 1992, McGaughy filed a petition for review in the appellate court pursuant to section 8-111(A)(1) of the Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5/8-111(A)(1) (West 1992)) and Supreme Court Rule 335 (134 Ill. 2d R. 335). McGaughy, however, failed to name the Department of Human Rights in the petition for review, joining only the Commission and the Department of State Police as respondents.

On appeal, the Commission and the Department of State Police argued that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction over the case because McGaughy had failed to name the Department of Human Rights as a respondent in her petition for review within 35 days of the Commission's final order. The appellate court held that McGaughy's failure to name the Department as a respondent did not deprive it of jurisdiction. (243 Ill. App. 3d at 755.) The court believed that statutes authorizing appeals from adverse agency decisions should be liberallyconstrued to avoid forfeiture when possible. (243 Ill. App. 3d at 755.) In addition, the court concluded that dismissal of the appeal for McGaughy's failure to name the Department of Human Rights as a respondent would be inequitable, noting that the Commission itself had failed to so identity the Department in its order. (243 Ill. App. 3d at 755.) On the merits, the appellate court concluded that the Commission had abused its discretion when it affirmed the Department's finding that McGaughy's charge was not supported by substantial evidence. (243 Ill. App. 3d at 758-59. ) The court therefore vacated the Commission's order and remanded the matter to the Commission for further proceedings. (243 Ill. App. 3d at 759.) We allowed the petition for leave to appeal filed by McGaughy's employer, the Department of State Police (145 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)).

In cause No. 75917, Betty Barnes filed a charge with the Department of Human Rights pursuant to section 7-102(A)(1) of the Human Rights Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 68, par. 7-102(A)(1)), alleging that Central Illinois Light Company (CILCO) had discriminated against her on the basis of age, in violation of section 2-102(A) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 68, par. 2-102(A)). Following an investigation and a fact-finding conference, the Department dismissed the charge for lack of substantial evidence. Barnes filed a request for review with the Illinois Human Rights Commission, which remanded the cause to the Department for further investigation. On remand, the Department once more found a lack of substantial evidence, and the Department dismissed the charge on December 3, 1992. Barnes again filed a request for review with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. On March 22, 1993, the Commission entered an order affirming the Department's dismissal of the charge for lack of substantial evidence.

On April 22, 1993, Barnes filed a petition for review in the appellate court pursuant to section 8-111(A)(1) of the Human Rights Act and Supreme Court Rule 335. The caption of her petition for review read only, "In the Matter of the Request for Review by: Betty L. Barnes," and failed to name the Commission, the Department, or CILCO as respondents.

While the appeal was pending, both the Commission and CILCO moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Barnes' failure to join all necessary respondents in her petition for review deprived the appellate court of jurisdiction over the matter. After considering those motions and Barnes' responses, the appellate court dismissed the appeal because Barnes had failed "to name the appropriate party respondents according to statute." We granted Barnes' petition for leave to appeal (145 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)) and consolidated her case with McGaughy's for review.

We must now determine the consequences of a petitioner's failure to comply with the joinder requirement of Rule 335(a) when seeking direct appellate review of an administrative order. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that Barnes' and McGaughy's respective failures to comply with Rule 335(a) were fatal defects, requiring dismissal of their appeals.

Article VI, section 6, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 provides in part, "The Appellate Court shall have such powers of direct review of administrative action as provided by law." (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 6.) A similar provision relating to circuit courts appears in article VI, section 9, of the Illinois Constitution. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 9 ("Circuit Courts shall have such power to review administrative action as provided by law").) In the same way that a circuit court exercises special jurisdiction conferred on it by statute when it reviews an administrative order ( Fredman Brothers Furniture Co. v. Department of Revenue (1985), 109 Ill. 2d 202, 210), so too does the appellate court exercise special statutory jurisdiction when reviewing an administrative order pursuant to a statutory directive. When a court is in the exercise of special statutory jurisdiction, the language of the act conferring the jurisdiction limits the court's power. Fredman Brothers, 109 Ill. 2d at 211.

At the time of the instant appeals, the statutory source of the appellate court's power to hear the present cases was section 8-111(A)(1) of the Human Rights Act, which provided:

"Any complainant or respondent may apply for and obtain judicial review of a final order of the Commission entered under this Act by filing a petition for review in the Appellate Court within 35 days after entry of the order of the Commission, in accordance ...


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