ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of Feb. 21
ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers Civil litigation and settlements (Senate Bill 1912), Required liability coverage for drivers (Senate Bill 1898), Motion to dismiss or quash (Senate Bill 1500), Consumer Reciprocal Attorney’s Fees Act (Senate Bill 1901) and UM arbitration (Senate Bill 1636). More information on the bill is available below the video.
Civil litigation and settlements. Senate Bill 1912 (Raoul, D-Chicago) applies to any civil action involving a claim for money damages and makes three changes. (1) The settling defendant or defendants must tender a release to the plaintiff within 14 days of an agreement to the settlement. If the law requires court approval, the plaintiff must timely obtain court approval and tender to the defendant a copy of the order approving the settlement. (2) A settling defendant must pay all sums due to a settling plaintiff within 21 days of tender by the settling plaintiff of a duly executed release (and, if required by law, a copy of the order approving the settlement). If the settling defendant fails to pay, interest accrues on the amount of the settlement calculated from the date of the release at the rate specified in Section 2-1303 of the Code of Civil Procedure. (3) Plaintiff is entitled to judgment and interest without further notice against any settling defendant who has not timely paid under this Section.
Required liability coverage for drivers. Senate Bill 1898 (Biss, D-Skokie) increases the required minimum liability insurance policies for drivers as follows: bodily injury or death to any one person from $20,000 to $50,000; bodily injury or death to more than one person from $40,000 to $100,000; and injury or destruction of property of others from $15,000 to $40,000.
Motion to dismiss or quash. Senate Bill 1500 (Cunningham, D-Chicago) provides that the deadline for filing a motion to dismiss the entire proceeding or to quash service of process on the basis of an objection to the court's jurisdiction over the person, unless extended by the court for good cause shown, is 60 days after the earlier of: (1) the date that the moving party filed an appearance; or (2) the date that the moving party participated in a hearing without filing an appearance.
Consumer Reciprocal Attorney’s Fees Act. Senate Bill 1901 (Biss, D-Skokie) creates the Consumer Reciprocal Attorney's Fees Act. If a consumer contract allows for the recovery of attorney’s fees in an action brought to enforce the contract, the court may allow reasonable attorney’s fees to the defendant if the defendant prevails in the action. A “consumer contract” is defined as any contract in which the money, property, or service is primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. Applies to any action filed on or after the effective date of the Act if the amount claimed does not exceed the maximum amount of a judgment allowable for a small claim under the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Senate Bill 1901 doesn’t apply if the plaintiff does not request attorney’s fees in the complaint or if each party to the consumer contract was represented by counsel in the negotiation of the contract. Prohibits the Act from being construed to apply to or limit the rights of any party to attorney’s fees under any other contract or other provisions of Illinois law.
UM arbitration. Senate Bill 1636 (Mulroe, D-Chicago) makes arbitration binding in UM cases regardless of the amount that is awarded. Under current law, UM arbitration is not binding if an award is made more than $50,000 for one person’s injuries or $100,000 for two or more person’s injuries.