Showing posts from April, 2018

Another Cautionary Tale for Power of Attorney Agents and Self-dealing

The Illinois Appellate Court 4th District case of Collins v. Noltensmeier provides an example of why power attorney agents need to tread very carefully when giving gifts to themselves.  After the principal (Billy) passed away, the case arose as a dispute between Billy's brother and niece (plaintiffs) and his long-term girlfriend/partner Patricia who also acted as his caretaker. Billy signed a will and power of attorney for property (using the statutory short form) about a week before he passed away, naming Patricia as his POA agent, executor and sole beneficiary in his will.

After Billy died and Defendant filed his will with the court, plaintiffs filed a will contest and a separate case against defendant for breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful conversion of Billy's IRA.  Apparently Patricia acting as POA agent for Billy had changed the beneficiary of his IRA, to herself. In court, Patricia defended herself by citing the wording of the Illinois statutory POA form, which inc…

Lawyers' Worst E-Filing Nightmare

In Peraino v. Winnebago County, after summary judgment was awarded to the defendant, the plaintiff's attorney waiting until the last few minutes before the deadline to file a motion to reconsider.  That deadline landed on 1/3/17.  The attorney apparently attempted to upload the motion at 11:55 pm that day, but ran into issues getting the file to upload, such that it was not processed and date-stamped until 12:03 am on 1/4/17.

On appeal, plaintiff's attorney relied on a local rule regarding e-filing technical problems.  There was a discussion about whether a user error was a technical problem within the scope of the local rule (the trial court ruled it was not).

Ultimately though the appellate court noted the problem here was a new e-filing spin on a longstanding legal principle.  The 30 day deadline after final judgment lapsed, meaning the court no longer had jurisdiction over the case, and therefore could not provide the relief sought.  Similarly, the plaintiff's attem…