Attorney Mistakes, Client Losses: New Visions after Vision Point
Jeffrey A. Parness
Northern Illinois University - College of Law
Illinois Bar Journal, Vol. 95, p. 664, 2007
In Vision Point of Sale, Inc. v. Haas, 875 N.E.2d 1065 (Ill. 2007), the Illinois Supreme Court answered in the negative the following certified question: "In determining whether 'good cause' exists under Supreme Court Rule 183 for the grant of an extension of time to remedy an unintentional noncompliance with a procedural requirement, may the court take into consideration facts and circumstances of record that go beyond the reason for noncompliance?" The question arose in a case involving noncompliance with a deadline for responses to requests to admit. In answering no, while the court suggested that good cause for noncompliance may encompass some, but not all, attorney acts of mistake, inadvertence or neglect, unfortunately it was otherwise murky on what attorney conduct satisfies good cause. It said such a "determination is fact-dependent" and "rests within the sound discretion" of the trial court.
The following guidelines are suggested for such "good cause" inquiries: (1) favor extensions requested before, not after, the relevant time period has expired; (2) avoid punishing clients for attorney mistakes; (3) do not employ local rules that impose significant burdens on the parties and go beyond statewide norms.
Keywords: civil procedure, Rule 183, attorney mistakes, vision point
Date posted: February 21, 2008
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