Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Injured Minor’s Premises Liability Lawsuit Based on Failure to Meet Filing Deadline

There are many things to consider when determining whether to bring a lawsuit to recover compensation after a serious accident. In addition to having a strong legal claim, ensuring that you follow all of the applicable procedural rules and deadlines is essential. Without complying with certain filing deadlines, appeal requirements, or procedural aspects, you may lose your right to compensation, regardless of how strong the legal basis for your claim may be. As seasoned Chicago premises liability lawyers, we are deeply familiar with these rules and ensure that our clients’ interests are protected at every juncture.

A recent appellate opinion highlights not only the seriousness of these rules but courts’ tendency to enforce them strictly as well. The facts of the case are as follows. Two minors were waiting outside a library for a ride home after the library closed. The minors were standing on top of ventilation shafts, using the warm air from the grates to warm their hands due to the cold winter weather. One of the grates gave way while the boys were standing on top of them, sending one of the boys plunging 20 feet down onto the concrete below. The boy suffered a fractured scapula, three fractured ribs, and lung punctures. He required two weeks of hospitalization and a series of rehabilitative treatments.

The injured boy’s parents sued the city and the library, seeking damages for the injuries that their son sustained. The defendants both filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, stating that the court erred in granting the motions for summary judgment and requesting leave to file an amended complaint. The trial court denied both motions.

Although the plaintiffs intended to appeal the trial court’s denial of both motions, the plaintiffs did not file their notice of appeal until after the deadline. The plaintiffs also failed to file a motion for leave to file a late notice of appeal. According to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, the appellate court has the discretion to allow a party to file a late notice of appeal if the party seeking the appeal can show a reasonable excuse for their failure to abide by the original deadline. The motion for leave to file a late notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days from the expiration of the original deadline. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, arguing that the appellate court did not have appropriate jurisdiction as a result of the plaintiff’s procedural errors. The appellate court ultimately agreed with the defendants, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to appropriately file their notice of appeal. The appeal was dismissed.

If you have suffered serious injuries due to another person’s carelessness, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. For most accident victims, a negligence action is their first experience with the legal system, which can be just as stressful as dealing with the other inconveniences and painful consequences of the accident. At Therman Law Offices, our seasoned team of premises liability lawyers can guide you through every step of the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. To set up your free consultation, call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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