Following the court rules may seem like a basic concept, but failing to follow them can have a devastating impact in a case. A recent case demonstrates how an attorney’s oversight almost resulted in the permanent dismissal of a case.
A woman sued the Greyhound bus company after she was injured on a Greyhound bus. The woman claimed the driver was driving too fast, and as a result, the driver hit two other cars and crashed into a tree. Greyhound made a motion to move the case to another county because the accident occurred in that county, and most of the defendants were domiciled there. The court granted the motion and agreed to have the case moved. The court also ordered the woman to pay the transfer fees for moving the case.
Greyhound sent a notice to the woman, asking to have the transfer fees paid, but the woman did not respond. The court required the transfer fees to be paid within 30 days, or the case could be dismissed. After the woman failed to pay the transfer fees within 30 days, Greyhound moved to dismiss the case. The court granted the motion, based on the woman’s failure to pay the fees.
The woman then filed a motion, arguing that the dismissal be reversed. Her attorney argued that it was his fault she did not pay the fees. He believed Greyhound was responsible for paying the fees because it requested the move and did not realize she was required to pay. He later found out the case had been dismissed. The woman argued the dismissal should be vacated because her attorney admitted it was his own mistake. Greyhound argued the attorney’s neglect was inexcusable because he was served with notice of the order to pay, and the dismissal should stay. The court agreed with the woman and vacated the dismissal. The court explained that it was the attorney’s fault, and it did not matter whether his mistake was excusable or not. As a result, the case was allowed to continue.
Dismissals and Their Effect
In Illinois, claims and parties are subject to the Illinois Court Rules. Parties must abide by the rules, or they may suffer adverse consequences, including sanctions and even dismissal, as in the case above. For example, under Rule 219, if a party fails to follow a court’s order, and the issue is material, a court may dismiss the case.
The dismissal of a case can have different effects. If a case is dismissed without prejudice, the party can file the case again. In contrast, if a case is dismissed with prejudice, generally the party cannot file the case again, and the claim is permanently barred. Because of the serious consequences, having an experienced and diligent attorney in your case is essential to your chances of success. Even if a dismissal is reversed or is without prejudice, a dismissal will result in unnecessary delay and expense.
Have You Been in an Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in any kind of auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Having an experienced attorney is essential in asserting your rights and seeking the compensation you deserve. The Chicago attorneys at Moll Law Group are here to help victims of accidents. We serve victims and their families in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.
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