Attorneys Should Not Minimize the Importance of Compliance With Supreme Court Rule 12

The Illinois Appellate Court recently issued a sober reminder of the consequences of ignoring technical compliance with the service requirements dictated by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 12. In In Re Marriage of Sheth, 2015 IL App (1st) 132611 (February 13, 2015), the First District found that it had no jurisdiction over an appeal due to the lack of notarization on a proof of service submitted by a non-attorney resulting in a failure to comply with Rule 12(b)(3). The defendant’s “Certificate of Service” was “certified” but not notarized and therefore it did not constitute an “affidavit” under Rule 12(b)(3). This simple omission prevented the litigant from taking advantage of Rule 373’s mailing rule allowing the date that the clerk’s office received notice of appeal to serve as the date of filing. This put the date of filing more than 30 days after the denial of the defendant’s motion to reconsider, thus his notice of appeal was untimely and the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to consider his appeal. The Sheth case should prompt attorneys to revisit compliance practices in their offices making sure that a Rule 12 “Proof of Service” filed as matter of routine is properly certified only by attorneys and when an attorney is unavailable that the signature of a non-attorney is properly notarized so that it is considered an affidavit under Illinois law.

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