Post-Judgment Motion For Sanctions Tolls Time To Appeal

A class action against the manufacturer of a defective bicycle lock was settled. But certain class members, who had their own class action cases in other states, were unhappy with the settlement. They attempted to intervene to prevent the settlement. Their intervention motion was denied.

The trial court entered a final judgment pursuant to the settlement. Class counsel then timely moved for sanctions against the class members who tried to upset the settlement. That motion was withdrawn, and the angry class members filed their notice of appeal within 30 days of the withdrawal, but well more than 30 days after the final judgment.

The class representative who had settled the case moved to dismiss the appeal. He argued: (1) the sanctions motion, made after the final judgment was entered, did not toll the time to file the appeal; (2) the notice of appeal was late because it was filed more than 30 days after the final judgment was entered. He concluded there was no appellate jurisdiction.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court disagreed and denied the motion to dismiss. The reasoning was thin, relying on precedent that involved a notice of appeal that was filed before a timely sanctions motion. In that instance, the notice of appeal was ruled to be premature because the later-filed sanctions motion deprived the appellate court of jurisdiction. Thus, in this case, the First District concluded: “. . . [A]pellants’ notice of appeal, filed within 30 days of class counsel’s withdrawal of the motion for sanctions, was timely filed and vests this court with jurisdiction.”

The whole case, Rosen v. Ingersoll-Rand, No. 1-05-3587 (3/30/07), is available by clicking here.