Filing Notice of Appeal In Appellate Court Does Not Confer Appellate Jurisdiction

Gerald Swinkle was denied a job with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. He filed a claim against the liquor commission in the Illinois Civil Service Commission. He charged that the liquor commission’s hiring practice violated a veteran’s preference provision in the Illinois Administrative Code. The Civil Service Commission ruled that Swinkle did not prove his case, and that Swinkle was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. The trial court affirmed the Civil Service Commission.

Swinkle still wanted an evidentiary hearing, so he appealed to the Fourth District Illinois Appellate Court. He filed a notice of appeal within the required 30 days. But he filed the notice in the appellate court, not the trial court as required by the Illinois Supreme Court rules. By the time Swinkle’s notice of appeal was filed with the trial court, it was 44 days late.

The appellate ruled that filing in the wrong court doomed Swinkle’s appeal. The court did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal because Swinkle did not file a notice of appeal in the trial court, a requirement to establish appellate jurisdiction.

The language of Rule 303(a)(1) unambiguously required petitioner [Swinkle] to file a notice of appeal in the circuit court no later than 30 days following the entry of the circuit court’s final judgment. Petitioner did not do so.

An appellate court’s power attached only upon compliance with the supreme court rules governing appeals … and we are without the authority to excuse petitioner’s failure to comply with the filing requirements of Rule 303 … Because compliance with Rule 303 is mandatory and jurisdictional, we dismiss petitioner’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Read the whole case, Swinkle v Illinois Civil Service Commission, 4-08-0314 (1/15/09), by clicking here.

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