Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 88 L 25088
Honorable Alexander J. White, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE LAMPKIN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Presiding Justice Gordon specially concurred, with opinion.
1 This appeal involves the revival of judgments and section
2-1602(h) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS
5/2-1602(h) (West 2014)), which allows enforcement
proceedings to continue to conclusion if a judgment becomes
dormant during the pendency of an enforcement proceeding
2 This appeal arose from a personal injury litigation that
resulted in a judgment in 1993 in favor of plaintiff John
Golden and against defendant Sean Puccinelli. Eventually,
Golden obtained a wage deduction judgment against
Puccinelli's employer. In 2014, Puccinelli moved the
circuit court to terminate the wage deduction proceedings and
declare the 1993 judgment lapsed because more than 20 years
had passed since it was entered. The circuit court denied the
motion, holding that section 2-1602(h) applied to allow the
judgment to be enforced and this application of section
2-1602(h) did not violate equal protection.
3 On appeal, Puccinelli contends the 2013 amendment that
enacted section 2-1602(h) could not apply retroactively to
revive the 1993 judgment in this case because the judgment
had lapsed before the effective date of the statutory
amendment. Alternatively, Puccinelli argues that if section
2-1602(h) applied in wage deduction proceedings to extend the
enforcement of judgments more than 20 years old, then the
amended statute violates equal protection and is
unconstitutional because it discriminates arbitrarily between
different types of judgment debtors.
4 For the reasons that follow, we find that the circuit court
erred in denying Puccinelli's motion to terminate wage
deduction proceedings and declare the over-20-year-old
judgment entered against him lapsed. We hold that section
2-1602(h) of the Code does not extend the 20-year limitation
on the revival of judgments. Accordingly, we reverse the
judgment of the circuit court.
5 I. BACKGROUND
6 On April 2, 1993, the circuit court entered a judgment in
favor of Golden and against Puccinelli for $162, 746. Between
1994 and 1999, Golden filed a series of wage deduction
affidavits and summonses in an attempt to collect the
judgment. On August 24, 1999, the circuit court entered a
wage deduction order against Puccinelli's employer.
7 On January 16, 2005, Golden filed a petition to revive the
judgment, and the circuit court entered an order reviving the
judgment on August 25, 2005. There were no subsequent
petitions for revival. Wages have been, and continue to be,
deducted. To date, the judgment has not been completely
8 On November 10, 2014, Puccinelli moved the court to
terminate the wage deduction proceedings and declare the
judgment lapsed. He contended the judgment could not be
enforced because more than 7 years had elapsed from the time
the judgment was rendered and more than 20 years had elapsed
since the judgment was entered.
9 In response, Golden argued that the wage deductions should
continue until the judgment was paid because an August 2013
amendment that added subsection (h) to section 2-1602 of the
Code (Pub. Act 98-557 (eff. Jan. 1, 2014) (adding 735 ILCS
5/2-1602(h)) extended the 20-year time limitation in cases
like his, where the judgment became dormant during the
pendency of enforcement proceedings and the enforcement was
done under court supervision, included a wage deduction
order, and was against Puccinelli's employer.
10 Puccinelli responded that the section 2-1602(h) amendment
could not apply retroactively and would violate equal
protection by treating judgment debtors undergoing wage
deduction proceedings differently from other judgment
11 On February 27, 2015, the circuit court denied
Puccinelli's motion, ruling that section 2-1602(h)
applied to allow the judgment to be enforced until the
judgment was satisfied and this application of the statute
did not violate equal protection. Puccinelli timely appealed.
12 II. ANALYSIS
13 Although the parties' arguments address only the
retroactive application of the judgment revival statute and
equal protection, the relevant issue here is whether section
2-1602(h) of the Code permits wage deduction proceedings to
continue until the underlying judgment is satisfied,
regardless of whether the 20-year time limitation for
judgment revival has lapsed. If so, the court then would
address whether the amendment adding subsection 2-1602(h)
applies retroactively and whether the amendment and its
retroactive application violate equal protection guaranties.
The circuit court's ruling and the parties' arguments
on appeal are based on their presumption that section
2-1602(h) creates an exception to the 20-year time limitation
for judgment revival if the judgment becomes dormant during a
pending, court supervised enforcement proceeding against
wages. This presumption, however, lacks merit, and we find
that the circuit court and the parties have misconstrued
14 We review an issue of statutory interpretation, which is a
question of law, de novo. People v.
Messenger, 2015 IL App (3d) 130581, ¶ 12. In
interpreting a statute, our goal must be "to determine
and effectuate the intent of the legislature."
People v. Amigon, 239 Ill.2d 71, 84 (2010). Our
supreme court has stated that the "most reliable
means" of doing so "is to apply the plain and
ordinary meaning of the statutory language."
Id. at 84-85.
15 When the plain language of the statute is clear and
unambiguous, the legislative intent that is discernible from
this language must prevail and no resort to other tools of
statutory construction is necessary. Paris v. Feder,
179 Ill.2d 173, 177 (1997). We must rely on the plain and
ordinary meaning of the words chosen by the legislature and
give the language of the statute its effect as written,
without reading into it exceptions, limitations, or
conditions that the legislature did not express. Land v.
Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 202 Ill.2d
414, 426 (2002). Sections of the same statute "should be
construed with every other part or section of the statute to
produce a harmonious whole." Id. at 422.
"Words and phrases should not be construed in isolation,
but interpreted in light of other relevant portions of the
statute so that, ...