Legal Memorandum: Court of Appeals may strike a party’s brief for failure to comply with Rules

Issue: Under Illinois law, on appeal, when should a court strike a party’s brief for failure to comply with the appropriate rules?

Area of Law: Litigation Practice & Procedure, Litigation Practice and Procedure
Keywords: ; Litigation Procedure; Failure to Comply; Strike; Brief; Sanction
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

A claimant’s brief must comply with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 341 (eff. Feb. 6, 2013). The purpose of the rules governing the contents of briefs is to require the parties before the appellate court to present orderly and clear arguments so that a court can properly identify and dispose of the issues raised. Hall v. Naper Gold Hospitality, LLC, 2012 IL App (2d) 111151, ¶ 7.

A court will not assume the role of an advocate, and our duties do not include searching the record for error or performing the legal research that the appellant should have performed. Obert v. Saville, 253 Ill. App. 3d 677, 682 (1993). A brief that lacks any substantial conformity to the pertinent supreme court rules may justifiably be stricken. Hall, 2012 IL App (2d) 111151, ¶ 7. Striking an appellate brief, in whole or in part, is a harsh sanction and is appropriate only when the violations hinder review. In re Detention of Powell, 217 Ill. 2d 123, 132 (2005).  See also, Elder v. Bryant, 324 Ill. App. 3d 526, 533 (2001) (mere contentions, without argument or citation to authority, do not merit consideration on appeal and are forfeited).

Ceska v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, No. 1-15-0173WC, 2016.IL.000262 (Feb. 5, 2016) (VersusLaw).

Date: March 1, 2016

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