Rehearing denied April 30, 2018
from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, No. 13-L-169; the
Hon. J. Edward Prochaska, Judge, presiding.
Randal Baudin, of Crystal Lake, for appellant.
P. Bruscato, State's Attorney, of Rockford (John P.
Giliberti, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), for
JUSTICE SPENCE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Jorgensen and Schostok concurred in the
judgment and opinion..
1 Plaintiff, Robert Peraino, attempted to electronically file
a motion to reconsider shortly before midnight on the day it
was due, but he failed to timely upload the motion, and it
was file-stamped at 12:03 a.m. the next day. Plaintiff then
sought to have the motion to reconsider deemed filed on the
due date based on a local court rule, but the trial court
denied his request. Plaintiff appeals from this ruling.
However, we conclude that the trial court lacked jurisdiction
to make such a ruling and that we also lack jurisdiction to
consider the merits of this appeal. We therefore vacate the
trial court's ruling and dismiss plaintiff's motion
seeking to backdate the motion to reconsider. See People
v. Bailey, 2014 IL 115459, ¶¶ 28-29.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 On June 12, 2013, plaintiff filed a complaint against
defendant, the County of Winnebago (County), and others who
were later voluntarily dismissed. He alleged that he was
injured in a motorcycle crash caused by a defective roadway.
4 The County moved for summary judgment, and the trial court
granted the motion on December 2, 2016. A motion to
reconsider would have been due on January 3, 2017, because
the thirtieth day after the order was a Sunday and the
following day was a court holiday. See 735 ILCS 5/2-1203(a)
(West 2016); 5 ILCS 70/1.11 (West 2016).
5 Plaintiff electronically filed a motion to reconsider that
was file-stamped on January 4, 2017.
6 On January 5, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to
file his motion to reconsider nunc pro tunc to
January 3, 2017. He alleged that, due to an illness and
deadlines for other cases, his attorney was not able to
complete the motion to reconsider until 11:55 p.m. on January
3, 2017. He alleged that, during the e-filing process, the
I2File website would not upload the motion, and the motion
was not considered accepted or filed by the system until
12:03 a.m. on January 4, 2017. Plaintiff cited local court
rule 22.01, and specifically rule 22.01(N), titled
"SYSTEM OR USER ERRORS, " which provides, inter
alia, that "[i]f the electronic filing is not filed
with the Clerk because of *** technical problems experienced
by the filer, *** the Court may upon good cause shown enter
an order permitting the document to be subsequently filed
effective as of the date filing was first attempted."
17th Judicial Cir. Ct. R. 22.01(N) (July 25, 2016). Plaintiff
also cited Illinois Supreme Court Rule 183 (eff. Feb. 16,
2011). Plaintiff attached to the motion the affidavit of a
paralegal at his attorney's office, who described her
attempt to upload the motion beginning at about 11:58 p.m.
7 The County filed a response in opposition, arguing against
the merits of plaintiff's motion for leave.
8 The trial court denied plaintiff's motion on April 20,
2017. It stated as follows. The motion to reconsider did not
get filed before 12 a.m. on January 4, 2017, due to user
error by plaintiff through his attorney. The attorney's
assistant might have had some difficulty understanding what
she needed to do in terms of uploading documents, but there
were no technical defects in the software or electronic
filing system. Local court rule 22.01(N)(2) did not define
"technical problems." However, the local rules
about e-filing were modeled on the Supreme Court of Illinois
Electronic Filing User Manual (Manual) (see Ill. S.Ct., M.R.
18368 (eff. Feb. 3, 2014)). The Manual included the term
"technical failure, " which excluded a failure of
the user's equipment. The trial court did not think that
"technical problems" included a user problem
because that definition would be overly broad and would open
up a Pandora's box of similar motions. "[U]nder the
facts of this case, there ...