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More than $1.3 million was embezzled from General Automation, Inc. General’s payroll deposit checks were made payable to its bank, American National Bank and Trust. General’s accountant got the checks before they were deposited with the bank, and deposited them in his personal account.

General Automation settled its claims against the accounting firms with which its embezzler-accountant was associated. General then assigned its claims against American National Bank to Continental Casualty Company, which was the insurer of one of the accounting firms. As assignee, Continental sued American National Bank for breach of contract and violation of the Illinois Fiduciary Obligations Act.

American National asked for and received summary judgment from the trial court. Continental appealed.

Leo Stoller sued Pure Fishing Incorporated for trademark infringement. Eventually, the federal district court defaulted Stoller and awarded Pure Fishing costs and fees on one of its counterclaims. When Stoller appealed, Pure Fishing moved to require him to post an appeal bond. The trial court granted Pure Fishing’s motion. But instead of filing a bond, Stoller filed another appeal.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals took the second appeal to be a motion to suspend enforcement of the order requiring an appeal bond, then denied the motion. The appellate court also dismissed the first appeal for failure to prosecute “because Stoller failed to pay the bond or file an appellate brief.”

Stoller’s next move was a Rule 60(b) (Relief from Judgments) motion in the trial court. His arguments, though, “rehashed the merits of his underlying lawsuit and complained about various orders that had been entered against him in that lawsuit.” After that motion was denied, Stoller appealed again.

Somebody told me that once, referring to appeals. I had raised what I thought and hoped would be an easy question of appellate jurisdiction, and got a long lecture with lots of “but ifs.” And with typical lawyer weaseliness, the conclusion was “perhaps.”

Welcome to We’ll rassle with the issues that Illinois appellate practitioners care about – standards of review, mootness, waiver, the new rules, the old rules, the brief-writing process, and the biggest bug-a-boo of them all, appellate jurisdiction.

We’ll focus on what the Illinois courts and the 7th Circuit are doing, or not doing. (Did you see what the 7th Circuit said recently about “the carelessness of a number of the lawyers practicing before the court of this circuit with regard to the required contents of jurisdictional statement in diversity cases”? Take a peek at Smoot v. Mazda Motors of America.

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