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06/30/95 RAYMOND LIPPERT v. STATE ILLINOIS PROPERTY

June 30, 1995

RAYMOND LIPPERT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD, BENNETT BRADLEY, AS CHAIRMAN OF THE PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD, THE COUNTY OF ADAMS, IN AND FOR THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE ADAMS COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3, ADAMS COUNTY, ILLINOIS; AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 337, COUNTIES OF HANCOCK, ADAMS AND SCHUYLER, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Adams County. No. 84MR20. Honorable Robert L. Welch Judge Presiding.

Justices: Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J. Honorable James A. Knecht, P.j. Honorable Frederick S. Green, J. Justice Steigmann delivered the opinion of the court: Knecht, P.j., and Green, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steigmann

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court:

In November 1981, plaintiff, Raymond Lippert, filed objections to the 1981 property tax assessment of real estate he owned in Adams County, Illinois. The Adams County Board of Review (County Board) rejected plaintiff's objections, and in February 1984, on administrative review, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (Tax Board) affirmed the County Board's decision.

In July 1987, the circuit court reversed the Tax Board's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. In July 1991, the Tax Board again affirmed the original assessment of plaintiff's property. On plaintiff's motion, this decision was filed in the circuit court in November 1993, and two weeks later, plaintiff filed his objections to the remand decision. Defendants moved to dismiss the objections on the ground that they were not timely filed. In March 1994, the circuit court dismissed plaintiff's objections. Plaintiff appeals. We reverse and remand.

I. BACKGROUND

In February 1984, the Tax Board upheld the decision of the County Board on the valuation of plaintiff's real estate for the 1981 tax year. Plaintiff then filed a complaint for administrative review of the Tax Board's decision and named as defendants the Tax Board, its chairman, Adams County, and the County Board. In April 1984, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and the original complaint was dismissed with leave to file an amended complaint. In May 1984, plaintiff's amended complaint was filed, adding the Boards of Education of Community Unit School District No. 3 of Adams County and District No. 337 of Adams, Hancock, and Schuyler Counties as defendants.

In March 1987, the circuit court conducted a hearing, and in July 1987, it reversed the Tax Board's decision and remanded the case with instructions. In August 1987, defendants filed a motion for reconsideration. Following denial of that motion in September 1987, an appeal was taken in October 1987, but was dismissed in January 1988 on the Tax Board's motion on the basis that the circuit court's ruling was not a final order. Lippert v. State of Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (Jan. 28, 1988, 4th Dist. Gen. No. 4-87-0707) (order of dismissal).

In July 1991, the Tax Board issued its decision after remand, ruling that the County Board's determination was correct. A copy of that decision was mailed to each of the parties in July 1991, but it was not filed in the circuit court until plaintiff sought, and was granted leave, to do so in November 1993.

Two weeks later, plaintiff filed his objections to the Tax Board's decision on remand. On February 8, 1994, defendants Adams County, the County Board, and the school districts filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's objections to the Tax Board's remand decision, arguing that (1) plaintiff's objections were untimely under the Administrative Review Law (Law) (735 ILCS 5/3-101 et seq. (West 1992)); (2) the objections should be barred by the doctrine of laches; and (3) the Tax Board did not have jurisdiction to accept plaintiff's original appeal of his farm assessment for 1981 as an individual taxpayer pursuant to Attorney General Opinion 82-038 (1982 Ill. Att'y Gen. Op. 118, No. 82-038).

In March 1994, the circuit court dismissed plaintiff's objections, ruling that it did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to rule on them because plaintiff failed to take any action within 35 days of the Tax Board's issuance of its decision on remand. The court stated that plaintiff should have filed a motion, objections, or a new complaint within 35 days of the issuance of the decision by the Board if he wished to seek review.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Action Required by Plaintiff ...


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