In Case Of First Impression, First District Illinois Appellate Asserts Jurisdiction Over Appeal Filed 78 Days After Judgment

Rogers Auto Service was sued by a lender, Bell Leasing Brokerage, for wrongfully towing an automobile in which Bell had a perfected security interest. The trial court entered judgment for Bell. Rogers appealed, but Bell contested appellate jurisdiction because, Bell contended, the Notice of Appeal was late.

On the day the judgment was entered, Rogers filed a motion to reconsider. About three weeks later, the trial court granted Rogers additional time to file a supporting memorandum of law. Instead of filing the memo, Rogers moved to withdraw the reconsideration motion. That motion was granted, and Rogers appealed the next day, which was 78 days after the judgment was entered.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(a)(1) permits a Notice of Appeal to be filed “within 30 days after the entry of the order disposing of the last pending postjudgment motion.” Bell argued that the order allowing withdrawal of a reconsideration motion was not an order disposing of a pending postjudgment motion, so the time to appeal was not tolled.

The First District Illinois Appellate Court acknowledged there was no controlling precedent directly on point. Relying on Pokora v. Warehouse Direct, Inc., 322 Ill.App.3d 870 (2001), which presented a similar fact pattern but did not address the jurisdictional question, the appellate court here denied Bell’s motion to dismiss and stated only that it chose to address the merits of the appeal.

The whole case, Bell Leasing Brokerage v. Roger Auto Service, No. 1-05-2313 (3/30/07), is available by clicking here.