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Illinois Supreme Court Rule 9(c)(4) was amended to allow a good cause exemption to e-filing for self-represented litigants (SRL). The rule change is effective immediately for proceedings in the supreme court and appellate courts. For proceedings in the circuit courts, the amended rule is effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

The amended rule defines the good cause exemption, which must be shown by certification and filed with the court before or with an initial pleading, that exempts SRLs from the e-filing requirement. It also specifies the procedures that must be followed to properly obtain the exemption.

The rule change comes less than three weeks before electronic filing in civil cases will be mandatory across Illinois, and reflects the Illinois Supreme Court's commitment to ensuring access to justice for everyone, including vulnerable SRLs.

Under the amended rule, good cause exists where a self-represented litigant is not able to e-file documents for the following reasons:

  • No computer or Internet access in the home and travel represents a hardship 
  • A disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, that prevents e-filing
  • A language barrier or low literacy (difficulty reading, writing, or speaking in English)
  • If the pleading is of a sensitive nature, such as a petition for an order of protection or civil no contact/stalking order

Judges retain discretion to determine whether good cause is shown, or if, under particular circumstances, good cause exists without the filing of a certificate.

Illinois has become a center of biometric privacy litigation. The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act is the only one in the nation that allows private parties to sue and has a fee-shifting provision allowing plaintiffs to recover attorney fees.

And biometric privacy lawsuits are in the news - there has been a spike in litigation against employers over fingerprints and other biometric data. Biometric data is a measurement or copy of a unique physical characteristic of an individual. It can be a fingerprint, retina or iris scan, voiceprints, hand scans, or facial geometry.

In March 2016, Google faced a class-action lawsuit alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (see "Class action suit alleges Google is violating Illinoisans' 'biometric' privacy," May 2016 LawPulse, at http://bit.ly/2zE4FRQ). As of November 11, 2017, the case is still in the discovery phase.

Most new lawsuits in Illinois are based on employers and retail businesses that allegedly fail to obtain written authorization before collecting fingerprint scans ("Spike in IL lawsuits vs employers over fingerprints, other biometric data may be just the beginning," Cook County Record, at http://bit.ly/2jqsTc0).

Find out more in the December Illinois Bar Journal.

Douglas A. Darch, a partner of Baker & McKenzie LLP's Labor & Employment Practice, discusses the withdrawal liability embedded in multi-employer pension plans, the threat withdrawal liability poses to financial well-being, and the steps you can take to mitigate risk.


Kerry Bryson of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in the criminal case People v. Casas.

People v. Casas

In 1996, Fernando Casas, Jr., posted bond in a drug case and was released from custody. He regularly appeared at scheduled court dates until June 1998. His bond was forfeited and a bench warrant was issued.  Casas was ultimately tried in absentia and a 20-year prison sentence was imposed.

In April 2014, a traffic stop revealed Casas’s outstanding warrant. Casas was taken into custody and began serving the 20-year sentence.  Then, in December 2014, Casas was indicted for violating his bail bond. Casas moved to dismiss on the basis that the general three-year statute of limitations had expired in 2001 and the state had not alleged any facts to toll or extend the limitations period. The state then filed an amended information alleging that the bond violation was a continuing offense and the limitations period did not begin to run until Casas’s April 2014 arrest.

The circuit court dismissed, relying on People v. Grogan, 197 Ill. App. 3d 18 (1st Dist. 1990), which held that violation of bail bond is not a continuing offense. The state appealed, and the appellate court agreed with the state's assertion that Grogan was wrongly decided and concluded that it should no longer be followed.


Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am a founding partner of a two-partner firm. We have been in business for three years. We have six associates and our practice focuses on health care law. My partner and I each have a 50 percent interest in the firm and our compensation is based on our ownership percentages. We split firm profits 50/50. Since starting the firm, I have been bringing in substantially more fees that my partner. This year I will bring in 65 percent of firm fees. I am getting frustrated and feel that our compensation system is unfair and needs to be changed. I would appreciate your thoughts.

By Susan L. Zielke

November marked the official launch of a statewide hotline and network of civil legal services providers for veterans, service members, national guard, reservists, and their spouses and dependents. The hotline, 855-IL-AFLAN (855-452-3526), provides legal information and advice, brief services including the preparation and review of legal documents, and referrals to network partners. The hotline is staffed by attorneys who handle issues of discharge upgrades, benefits appeals, and civil legal problems like housing, consumer, and family.

The statewide network is using uniform eligibility guidelines of 80 percent of the Chicago Area Median Income; for a household of one, that figure is $44,250. Besides the hotline, the network includes CARPLS, Center for Disability & Elder Law, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS), The John Marshall Law School, LAF, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, Loyola Law School, Prairie State Legal Services, and SIU Law School. This network provides coverage for qualified individuals throughout the state.

In Illinois, there are approximately 750,000 veterans, 20,000 active service members, and 13,000 members of the Illinois National Guard. There are over 20,000 dependents of service members deployed between 09/11/01 and 05/31/15 alone. The top civil legal needs include housing, family, and consumer issues, and specialized issues with VA benefits, appeals, and discharge upgrades.

In a veto session conducted under the shadow of sexual harassment allegations by female lobbyists and others, the Illinois General Assembly overrode Governor Rauner's vetoes of many bills. Among the new laws:

Illinois Student Loan Servicing Rights Act. Legislators overrode the veto of Senate Bill 1351, which was championed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Also known as the Illinois Student Loan Servicing Rights Act, the Act introduces licensing requirements for servicing student loans in Illinois.

It also establishes a "Student Loan Bill of Rights," which prohibits certain servicing practices, imposing various requirements upon student loan servicers. The Act allows the Attorney General to enforce violations under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Criminal justice reform. The General Assembly made more strides towards criminal justice reform during the veto session. In particular, HB 184 has been amended to reduce some burdens placed on parolees and to give courts more latitude in determining sentencing.

Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefit Act. The legislature overrode Governor Rauner's amendatory veto of SB 302, which amends the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefit Act. The bill expanded the Act's scope to include lapsed and terminated life insurance policies. It also requires insurers to compare policies, annuity contracts, and retained asset files to the full Death Master File to determine whether there are unclaimed benefits.

Find out more in the December Illinois Bar Journal.

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, electronic filing in civil cases will be mandatory across Illinois. As "E-Day" rapidly approaches, it is important to be prepared for the continued migration of the state's court system to an electronic filing based platform. Practice HQ's dedicated e-filing page hosts the resources every Illinois attorney needs to arm themselves with knowledge and ensure a smooth transition. With Practice HQ, you can...

Get a broad overview.

Use your free online CLE benefit to watch E-Filing in Illinois and read the June Illinois Bar Journal cover story, Countdown to Mandatory E-Filing, for an overview of Illinois' transition to a statewide electronic filing system, from how e-filing works, to what an electronic filing service provider (EFSP) does, to where to turn for support when using the eFileIL system.


Leading appellate attorneys review Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down on Thursday, Nov. 30. The cases are People v. ColePeople v. RelerfordPeople v. Hunter, People v. Brown, People v. Staake, In re Marriage of GoeselCorbett v. The County of Lake, Citibank, N.A. v. The Illinois Department of Revenue, Lawler v. The University of Chicago Medical Center, Ramsey Herndon LLC v. Whiteside, and In re Benny M.

People v. Cole

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to conflict-free counsel. Representation of multiple defendants by a single attorney does not represent a per se violation of the constitutional guarantee of the effective assistance of counsel. Within a law firm, multiple lawyers may not represent multiple clients if such representation would be a conflict for any lawyer who practiced alone, per Rule 1.10 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010. Such potential conflicts of interest are common for Public Defenders, which were held to not be a firm in People v. Robinson, 79 Ill.2d 147 (1979).

Stephanie L. Tang with Kogut & Wilson discusses the five things every family law attorney should know about the amended child support statute, which took effect on July 1.