THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS ex rel. LISA MADIGAN etc., Appellant,
ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION, et al., Appellees
Reversed and remanded.
Although the Rules of the Illinois Supreme Court generally provide a 30-day period for seeking direct review of an administrative decision in the appellate court, where the Public Utilities Act specifically provides a 35-day period for seeking such review of a decision or order entered under the Act bye the Illinois Commerce Commission, that provision is controlling.
Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield (Michael A. Scodro, Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitors General, Carl J. Elitz, Assistant Attorney General, of Chicago, of counsel), for the People.
James E. Weging, Special Assistant Attorney General, of Chicago, for Appellee Illinois Commerce Commission.
JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] At issue in this appeal is whether the appellate court erred when it dismissed the State's petition for direct review of an order by the Illinois Commerce Commission on the grounds that the State's notice of appeal was untimely and therefore insufficient to invoke the appellate court's jurisdiction. 2013 IL App. (1st) 122981-U. Although the State complied with the 35-day filing period specified by section 10-201(a) of the Public Utilities Act (220 ILCS 5/10-201(a) (West 2010)), the appellate court believed separation of powers considerations required that controlling effect be given instead to Supreme Court Rule 335(i) (Ill. S.Ct. R. 335(i) (eff. Feb. 1, 1994)), which incorporates by reference Supreme Court Rule 303 (Ill. S.Ct. R. 303 (eff. June 4, 2008)). Under Rule 303(a) (Ill. S.Ct. R. 303(a) (eff. June 4, 2008)), the deadline for filing a notice of appeal is only 30 days, a deadline the State did not meet. The State petitioned for leave to appeal (Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. July 1, 2013)). The Illinois Commerce Commission filed a separate petition to appeal as a matter of right (Ill. S.Ct. R. 317 (eff. July 1, 2006)) or, in the alternative for leave to appeal (Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. July 1, 2013)). We allowed both parties' petitions and consolidated the cases. We now reverse and remand to the appellate court for further proceedings.
[¶3] In 2009, the Illinois American Water Company (IAWC) petitioned the Illinois Commerce Commission (Commission) pursuant to the Public Utilities Act (220 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq. (West 2010)) for approval of its annual reconciliation of purchased water and purchased sewage treatment surcharges. See 83 Ill. Adm. Code 655.50 (2001); 220 ILCS 5/9-220.2 (West 2010). The State sought and was granted leave to intervene in the proceeding. By order dated July 31, 2012, the Commission approved the reconciliation subject to certain modifications. The State asked for rehearing. The Commission denied that request in an order entered by the Commission on September 11, 2012.
[¶4] Under section 10-201(a) of the Public Utilities Act (220 ILCS 5/10-201(a) (West 2010)), the State had 35 days from denial of rehearing to appeal the Commission's decision to the appellate court. That placed the deadline for filing the notice of appeal at October 16. According to the record, the notice of appeal was duly filed on that date.
[¶5] After the notice of appeal was filed, the case proceeded normally. The record was filed, a briefing schedule was set, and briefs were filed. Once the briefs were in, the appellate court determined that ...