First District Illinois Appellate Finds Bare Motion To Vacate Sufficient To Toll Time To Appeal

Plaintiff Affordable Housing Preservation Foundation got a permanent injunction against Smith Wiiams in connection with business transactions he took in Affordable’s name. Within 30 days, Wiiams moved to vacate the injunction. But Wiiams’ motion did not detail why the injunction was infirm. The trial court ruled on the motion about seven months later. Wiiams’ notice of appeal was met with a motion to dismiss. Affordable Housing asserted that the bare motion to vacate was not sufficient to toll the time to appeal. Coming more than 30 days after the judgment was entered, Affordable argued, the appeal was not timely, thus depriving the appellate court of jurisdiction.

The appellate court disagreed and denied the motion to dismiss. Because the judgment was rendered by the judge, not a jury, the bare motion to vacate was sufficient to toll the time to appeal. “… [W]e conclude that, despite the fact that defendant’s motion did not contain the specific grounds relied upon for its request for relief, it nonetheless met the requirements of section 2-1203 [of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure] and was a valid postjudgment motion.”

The opinion describes the difference between motions against the judgment brought in jury and non-jury cases, and attempts to clear up precedent that made the distinction ambiguous.

Get the whole opinion, Affordable Housing Preservation Foundation v. Wiiams, No. 1-05-3744 (7/13/07), by clicking here.