No Appellate Jurisdiction Over Landlord Not Explicitly Identified On Notice Of Appeal

Andrea Coleman sued Christina Udoh and her husband, Nsikak Akpakpan, for violating the Chicago Residential Landlords and Tenants Ordinance. The case was arbitrated, and Coleman was awarded $20,600. The trial court barred Udoh and Akpakpan from rejecting the arbitration award, so they appealed.

Representing herself, Udoh filed her own notice of appeal. She did not write Akpakpan’s name on the notice. Nor did he file his own notice of appeal. Coleman claimed there was no appellate jurisdiction to hear Akpakpan’s appeal. The First District Illinois Appellate Court agreed. Here’s the appellate court’s explanation:

Where the notice of appeal clearly names only one party as appellant, the court considers the appeal to be taken only by the named party … In the absence of a separate notice of appeal filed by Mr. Mr. Akpakpan and the failure of the notice of appeal filed by Ms. Udoh to name him as an appellant and to include his signature or the signature and address of his attorney [required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(b)(4)], Mr. Akpakpan is not a party to this appeal. We will consider this appeal only as to Ms. Udoh, and the judgment against Mr. Akpakpan will not be affected by its outcome.

In the end, the judgment was affirmed, so the lack of jurisdiction over Akpakpan’s appeal did not matter. But in any event, the lesson is: Always identify by name the parties who are appealing. And if you’re filing your notice of appeal without a lawyer, make sure that all parties who are appealing sign the notice, or file their own. The whole case, Coleman v. Akpakpan, No. 1-09-2629 (6/30/10), is available by clicking here.

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