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Solo In Chicago

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Monday, October 13, 2008

You Must Be an Expert on This Issue!

If you're any degree of a "trial" lawyer or practice in any area where you're in court a lot, you must be an expert on service of process/personal jurisdiction/subject matter jurisdiction issues.

These matters impact every case that you file or defend and can potentially undermine all your great lawyering if not done right, up front. Here's another recent case on the subject where a special process server wasn't properly appointed before serving a defendant and guess what, there's not going to be a sheriff's sale in that foreclosure case because the Judgment was void!

There are few swords sharper in one's arsenal than section 5/2-301 of the IL Code of Civil Procedure. If you're not looking at service issues in any post-decree or post-judgment matters coming into your office you're doing a disservice to your clients. The classic cases we're using this on in the domestic relations field are old child support collection matters. It doesn't matter if the petitioning party thinks he/she's owed $500k, if there wasn't proper service up front you can wipe that arrearage out. The place to really look for these 301 Motion to Vacate cases are parentage cases where the case was brought initially by the State's Attorney. I still listen to these cases today when I'm sitting over at 32 W. Randolph and the State will be suggesting to the court that we see there's a utility bill in someone's name so can we just serve by certified mail, ect., ect. Well, those are the cases that get blown up 18 years later.

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