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Washington, DC asked in Personal Injury and Civil Litigation for Illinois

Q: What are considered disrespectful attorney acts in context of failing to answer a complaint timely?

Illinois appeals cases for default judgements based on untimely answers have generally cut slack to the untimely Defendant it appears. However it does add a caveat that the attorney cannot be disrespectful in doing so.

Is not the fact that the attorney failed in a case to file answer until 16 days AFTER the court ordered date to answer being disrespectful especially when not filing a motion to extend time and offering no excuse especially of Force Majeure or extraordinary circumstances beyond his control etc, also noting that the attorney failed to email the Plaintiff copy an additional 5 days later on the cusp of the set hearing?

This is an attorney with a substantial law firm with staff.

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: I'm not really certain as to what you are asking. If you are the client and a default judgment was entered against you, the only aspect of the attorney's conduct that would ever be examined is whether the attorney was able to vacate the default judgment. So long as that is accomplished, his/her client is unharmed. No harm, no foul.

Unfortunately, failure to timely file an answer is so routine in Illinois that many law firms have boilerplate language in their appearance that seeks to "vacate any technical default." Often, defense attorneys will contact Plaintiff's counsel to request additional time to answer. No Court is going to enter a default unless Plaintiff's counsel files a Motion for Default. Lawyers can and should extend the professional courtesy of agreeing to additional time to answer. Again, so long as the attorneys agree, the Court will take no action.

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