Even More Filing Problems

I know that I have been bagging on the Cook County Clerk’s office lately. See this, for example. It’s not that I want to pick on them. However, the reality is that they are the ones that I have problems with.

For example, after I was unable to find a complaint or answer in the file that I looked at yesterday, I had another court appearance, this time on a motion in the municipal division. For the record, I hate appearing in muni in Cook County. This division handles civil cases in which the amount in controversy is less than $30,000. There are lots of these cases filed in Cook County. Consequently, these are high volume courtrooms.

To understand the story I am about to relate, you must understand a little how Cook County operates their muni call. In an ideal world, this is how the call is supposed to work.

  1. The Plaintiff files a lawsuit and sets a return date.
  2. The Sheriff obtains service on the Defendant.
  3. The Defendant files an appearance on or before the return date.
  4. If the Defendant files an appearance, the matter is set for status at a date in the future.
  5. If the Defendant files an appearance with a jury demand, the case is set for status in the jury call courtroom.
  6. If the Defendant does not file an appearance, an order of default is entered and the case is set for the entry of a default judgment in the future.

Leaving the fantasy world and returning to reality, this is what actually happened in my case when I filed it.

  1. I file a complaint and set a return date.
  2. The Defendant timely files an appearance and a jury demand.
  3. The case is transferred to the jury call courtroom for a day in the future.
  4. AND an order of default is entered against the Defendant because, despite the fact that the Defendant filed a timely appearance, that information was not entered in to whatever system sends out the default notices. The case is thus set for a prove up date in the future in the original courtroom.
  5. We appear in the jury call courtroom, however, the case is not on that call any more because the order of default had been entered.
  6. Because no order was entered in the jury call courtroom, our case is dismissed for want of prosecution.
  7. Thereafter, the judge in the original courtroom straightens everything out, vacates the default, vacates the DWP, and transfers the matter to the jury call courtroom.

This case has quite a history so far. Once in the jury call courtroom, the case is automatically set for arbitration. That date happened to conflict with my schedule. Thus I was appearing to continue the arbitration date. When I stepped up, the clerk informed the judge that a DWP had been entered in my case. The judge asked me what I knew about that. Rather than explaining everything above, I just told the judge that the prior judge had vacated the DWP and that had all been taken care of months ago.

The clerk swore that it had never been vacated. I guess that the order I have vacating the DWP means nothing because some other clerk did not properly code or key in the previous order. Anyway, as I was stepping away from the bench, the judge suggested to me that I “clear up the matter of the DWP with the Clerk’s Office.”

My only question. Just how am I supposed to do that? The whole problem with the DWP in this case started because the Clerk’s Office screwed everything up. If an order from a judge vacating the DWP is not sufficient for the Clerk’s records, I am not quite sure what I am supposed to do to convince the clerk that the DWP was vacated.

2 thoughts on “Even More Filing Problems

  1. Classic Cook County. Why not notice a motion to be heard in room 601 of the Daley Center (the Municipal Division Clerk’s office)?

  2. Because it’s not worth the time and effort, especially given that I already have the relief I need.

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