Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County. No. 01CH565. Honorable Leo J. Zappa, Jr., Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann
Section 2-1203(a) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1203(a) (West 2002)) governs postjudgment motions in non-jury cases. Supreme Court Rule 303(a)(1) (155 Ill. 2d R. 303(a)(1)) governs appeals from final judgments in civil cases and provides that if a party timely files a posttrial motion directed against the judgment, the notice of appeal may be filed within 30 days of the entry of the order disposing of that postjudgment motion, rather than within 30 days of the court's initial entry of judgment. The issue this case presents is whether the postjudgment motion filed by plaintiff, R&G, Inc., met the requirements of section 2-1203(a) and Rule 303(a)(1) so as to permit the filing of the notice of appeal more than 30 days after the trial court's initial entry of judgment. Because we conclude that the motion did not meet those requirements, we must dismiss this appeal.
R&G is a company engaged in the excavation and water and sewer distribution business. Defendant, Midwest Region Foundation for Fair Contracting, Inc. (Midwest Region), is a nonprofit corporation that monitors work sites for compliance with relevant federal and state labor laws.
In December 2001, R&G filed a complaint against Midwest Region, alleging, in pertinent part, that (1) Midwest Region monitored R&G's work sites using certain methods, such as video recording, still photography, and audio recording; (2) Midwest Region monitored R&G's work sites to gather certain information regarding the activities, affiliations, and transactions of R&G, its agents, and its employees; and (3) Midwest Region was acting as an unlicensed private detective under the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, and Locksmith Act of 1993 (Act) (225 ILCS 446/1 through 299 (West 2000)). R&G requested that the trial court enjoin Midwest Region from monitoring R&G's work sites.
In July 2003, R&G filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, which the trial court later granted. R&G's August 2003 amended complaint more closely tracked the language of the Act and further alleged that Midwest Region engaged in the business of private investigation for fees or other valuable consideration.
In September 2003, Midwest Region filed a motion to dismiss R&G's amended complaint, pursuant to section 2-619(a)(9) of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2002)). Midwest Region argued that the Act, as construed and applied by R&G, (1) is unconstitutionally overbroad, (2) is void for vagueness, (3) improperly frustrates federal congressional intent, and (4) improperly usurps the role of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
Following a hearing, on September 25, 2003, the trial court entered a docket order, which stated, in its entirety, as follows:
"[Midwest Region's] [s]econd [m]otion to dismiss argued and granted. Court treats motion as [a motion for j]udgment on the [p]leadings. Said ruling is final and appealable. CLERK DIRECTED to send a copy of this docket entry to [the parties' attorneys]."
On October 10, 2003, R&G filed a document entitled, "Motion for Clarification." The body of that document read, in its entirety, as follows:
"NOW COMES [R&G], by and through its attorneys, GATES, WISE, & SCHLOSSER, P.C., and for its [m]otion for [c]clarification, states as follows:
1. This [c]court's docket entry of September 25, 2003, granted [Midwest Region's] [s]econd [m]otion to [d]ismiss. The [c]court's docket entry stated that the [c]court was treating the ...