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Robert Chemers and Scott Howie Secure Appellate Dismissal

Pretzel & Stouffer partners, Robert Chemers and Scott Howie, succeeded in having an adversary’s appeal dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction in the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District.

In a declaratory judgment action, the circuit court entered judgment for the firm’s client, an insurer, holding that it had no duty to defend its insured in an underlying case. As the judgment did not resolve the litigation, the circuit court made a finding that the judgment was final and appealable under Rule 304. The insured did not appeal within 30 days, waiting until the rest of the litigation was resolved.

Robert and Scott moved to dismiss the appeal as untimely, arguing that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction. The insured responded that because the Rule 304(a) finding did not mirror the language of the rule it was ineffective, and that the judgment was not a final one that could have been made appealable even if the finding had mirrored that language. The appellate court granted the motion, agreeing that because the Rule 304(a) finding did not have to “parrot” the rule and the judgment was appropriate for such a finding, the insured could only have appealed within 30 days of the judgment for there to be jurisdiction.

September 2019