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Illinois Supreme Court


It may come as a surprise to more than a few lawyers, but as of July 1, 2017, faxing documents is no longer a proper method for serving them. What's more, attorneys must include an email address at which they can be served with documents on their appearances and pleadings.

Why? Because the Illinois Supreme Court revised Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 to mandate email service of documents filed with the court. It also eliminates facsimile service entirely. The changes were announced June 22.

The effective date of the rule amendments coincides with the day the supreme and appellate court were required to switch to the new e-filing system (circuit courts make the switch on January 1). The supreme court has made its intention clear - modernizing Illinois' court system is a priority.

According to new Rule 11(c), documents must be served via email unless certain exceptions apply. Documents may be attached to the email, or the serving party can include a link in the body of the email that will allow the recipient to download documents from a reliable service provider. If an email is rejected or otherwise returned as undelivered, the emailing party is responsible for ensuring that the document is actually delivered.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 22, 2017. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • James M. Allen, Dixon

Mr. Allen, who was licensed in 1967, was disbarred on consent. He was arrested in December of 2015 after causing an automobile collision on his way home from a bar. The driver of the other vehicle sustained permanent injuries as a result of the collision. Mr. Allen subsequently pled guilty to one count of aggravated DUI and was sentenced to 24 months of probation. Mr. Allen was the subject of two prior disciplinary proceedings, once of which arose from another aggravated DUI conviction.

The Illinois Supreme Court will host a memorial service in honor of the late Justice John J. Stamos at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, September 20, at the Illinois Supreme Court at 20 E. Capitol Avenue in Springfield.

The opening and closing remarks will be delivered by Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. Tributes will be given by Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis; the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller, a former Supreme Court Justice; the Honorable Gino L. DiVito, a former Appellate Justice; Mr. James J. Stamos, Esquire, of Stamos & Trucco LLP, the son of Justice Stamos; and ISBA president, the Honorable Russell W. Hartigan, a former Cook County Circuit Judge.


The Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's Office will join the eFileIL community on Thursday, June 15. Filers for the state's highest court will need to access the eFileIL filing platform at efile.illinoiscourts.gov and become a registered user through one of the authorized service providers. Supreme Court filers will no longer be able to use the i2File platform as of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14.

On January 22, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court entered Order M.R. 18368 announcing mandatory e-filing for civil cases in the Illinois Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Courts. Consistent with the amendment to this order, entered on May 30, 2017, permissive e-filing may continue in people cases on the Supreme Court's general docket and all cases on the Court's miscellaneous record ("MR") docket. The Supreme Court Order requires e-filing through a single, centralized electronic filing manager (EFM), which will be integrated with each court's case management system. The supreme and appellate courts have a July 1, 2017, deadline to join eFileIL. The Second Appellate District became the first reviewing court to join on May 18.

The Supreme Court Clerk's Office has been e-filing since 2012 on a pilot basis that was expanded to all cases in 2013. In 2016, approximately 48 percent of pleadings filed on the Court's general docket were e-filed and approximately 75 percent of the pleadings on the MR dockets were e-filed.

Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced that Justice Thomas M. Harris has been assigned as an appellate court judge in the Fourth District. The assignment, which will fill the vacancy created following Just M. Carol Pope's retirement, takes effect on August 1, 2017, and will conclude on December 3, 2018, when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2018 general election.

Justice Harris was first appointed as a judge in 2007 and was elected as resident circuit judge of Logan County in 2008. He has served for the Fourth District Appellate Court since January 3, 2013. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Harris had served as a civil trial lawyer since 1988.

Justice Harris currently serves on the Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and previously served on the Special Supreme Court Committee to Study Courtroom and Judicial Security. He is a member of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Logan County Bar Association, and the Lincoln-Douglas Inn of Court. He has previously served as chair of the Allerton Conference, Civil Practice and Procedure Section, and Tort Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Justice Harris is a past member of the board of directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation and previously served on the editorial board of the Illinois Bar Journal and as the publication's editor-in-chief. He is a frequent speaker at professional seminars and guest lectures at the University of Illinois College of Law.


A State Historical Marker will be unveiled in Alton on Monday, June 19th to honor Scott Bibb, an African American who successfully fought in the Illinois Supreme Court for the desegregation of schools in what became known as the Alton School Cases in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Supreme Court Justices Anne M. Burke and Rita B. Garman will be attending the dedication ceremony. Also attending are John Lupton, Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, and members of the Historic Preservation Commission Advisory Committee; Justice Joy V. Cunningham, Hon. Neil Cohen, and Scott Szala, J.D.

With the assistance of Lewis and Clark Community College, the Illinois State Historical Society sponsored and erected the historical marker. The Society maintains markers statewide regarding subjects of historical significance to Illinois.

“In recent years, the Illinois Supreme Court through its Historic Preservation Commission has undertaken an effort to bring Illinois’ history to life," Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman said. "We have explored the life of Mary Todd Lincoln and the Mormon experience in Illinois. The program on the Alton School Cases has made people throughout the state aware of the courage and dedication of Alton’s Scott Bibb. I am honored to have been invited to the dedication ceremony and to have the opportunity to speak to the Alton community about one of its great heroes.”


The Illinois Supreme Court today announced amendments to the January 22, 2016 E-filing Order, with the goal of further facilitating the Illinois courts' statewide move to an electronic filing system. The amendments address court and vendor fees, incarcerated pro se litigants, migration of counties with stand-alone e-filing systems, a statewide remote access system, and criminal e-filing. (For more about mandatory e-filing, see the June Illinois Bar Journal.)

Court and Vendor Fees. Effective July 1, 2017, for the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court, and effective January 1, 2018, for the circuit courts, no court or e-filing vendor shall charge the filer a transaction or user fee to e-file. The supreme court’s Electronic Filing Standards and Principles (Standards) were created to govern stand-alone e-filing systems in those jurisdictions approved to e-file. The Standards prohibited courts from collecting a fee (beyond the statutory civil filing fees) but allowed for an e-filing vendor to charge a transaction or use fee to the e-filer.

Michael J. Tardy, director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced his retirement effective August 1, 2017, following a sterling 40-plus year career with the Judicial Branch. Tardy was named acting director in September 2011 and was officially appointed as director in January 2012.

"Throughout his long career, Mike has been an invaluable asset to the Supreme Court. An innovative administrator, a gifted leader, and a skillful diplomat, Mike has helped steer the Third Branch of Illinois government through some of its most difficult challenges. During a period of budgetary uncertainty, social change and rapid technological innovation, Mike has been instrumental in insuring that the judicial system remains available to all who need its protections," said Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. "He has overseen the implementation of statewide electronic filing and the introduction of new measures to improve pretrial release practices. He has helped place Illinois at the forefront of initiatives to improve access to justice, and his contributions have been critical to our implementation of new measures to insure that Illinois judges receive the best possible training and education."

Director Tardy served in both clinical and administrative positions within the Illinois judicial branch for the past 41 years. He initially worked for the Circuit Court of Cook County Social Service Department, a court agency charged with providing community-based supervision for adult misdemeanor and DUI offenders in Cook County. In his 13 years with the Cook County department, he started as a case worker and worked his way to district supervisor, managing three offices and a staff of 40.

DISBARRED

  • Francis Joseph Coyle, Jr., Rock Island

Mr. Coyle, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred. He intentionally misappropriated $100,000 in funds that he was supposed to be holding in escrow in connection with a real estate transaction. In addition, on two occasions, he falsely represented to the buyer’s attorney that he was still holding all of the funds in escrow.

  • Laird James Heal, Sterling, Massachusetts

Mr. Heal was licensed in Massachusetts in 1989 and in Illinois in 1991. The Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts disbarred him for misusing over $13,000 of funds held in escrow in connection with a bankruptcy case. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Richard Carl Moenning, Chicago

Mr. Moenning, who was licensed in 1962, was disbarred. While serving as both trustee and trust counsel to several trusts created by two elderly sisters, he paid himself over $360,000 in purported fees without performing sufficient services to justify the payment of the funds. He also took years to notify or pay some of the trust beneficiaries, failed to disburse any funds to one beneficiary as of the time of the disciplinary hearing, failed to timely notify some of the beneficiaries of their interests under the trusts, and never provided an accounting to any of the beneficiaries or to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. He was suspended on an interim basis on June 15, 2016.


Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Thursday, May 18. The cases are Better Government Ass'n v. Illinois High School Ass'n, In re Estate of Shelton, Ferris, Thompson & Zweig, Ltd v. Esposito, Chultem v. Ticor Title Insurance Co., and People v. Veach.

CIVIL

Better Government Ass'n v. Illinois High School Ass'n

By Joanne R. Driscoll, Forde Law Offices LLP

In the ongoing battle involving public records requests made of governmental agencies, the supreme court was asked to define the term “subsidiary bod[y]” as used in the definition of “public body” in the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/2(a) (West 2014)) and then to determine whether the Illinois High School Association (“IHSA”) is subject to the FOIA.  The IHSA governs and coordinates interscholastic athletic competitions for public and private secondary schools in Illinois.