Opinions like Technology Solutions Co. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., No. 1-02-0368 (3/31/05), which are issued from time to time by all appellate courts, are fun to read as long as you're not the target:
Defense counsel has filed two motions to strike plaintiff's briefs, or portions thereof, that we have taken with the case. For the reasons discussed below, these motions are denied. However, our denial in no way condones counsels' flagrant and extensive abuses here. The magnitude of such violations would easily warrant this court striking all of the briefs and dismissing the appeals in their entirety. LaGrange Memorial Hospital v. St. Paul Insurance Co., 317 Ill. App. 3d 863, 876, 740 N.E.2d 21 (2000).
Defendant filed a motion to strike plaintiff's statement of facts as violative of Supreme Court Rule 341(a) (188 Ill. 2d R. 341(a)). Defendant maintains that plaintiff's statement of facts contains legal discussion and argument, it includes facts not relevant to plaintiff's appeal, which are also conclusory, argumentative, and false, and those facts included that are relevant to its appeal are "riddled with improper argument," are conclusory, are conjecture, and are unsupported by the record. Defendant argues that the Illinois Appellate Court has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of Rule 341 and, because plaintiff has blatantly violated this rule, we should strike plaintiff's statement of facts in its entirety.
We agree with defendant that portions of plaintiff's statement of facts contain improper argument. However, while defendant is seeking to use Rule 341 as a weapon against plaintiff, it, too, has blatantly violated that rule. Its statement of facts is also "riddled with improper argument" as well as misstatements of fact. Thus, both plaintiff and defendant's statement of facts violate Rule 341.
Additionally, in defendant's brief, counsel makes substantive arguments in its footnotes (see discussion below) and plaintiff's counsel then responds to these. Plaintiff's counsel, too, makes substantive arguments in its footnotes and defendant's counsel thereafter continues this conduct in defendant's reply brief. Substantive arguments may not be made in footnotes and responses made thereto are likewise improper. Lundy v. Farmers Group, Inc., 322 Ill. App. 3d 214, 218, 750 N.E.2d 314 (2001). In addition, defense counsel makes numerous misstatements of the facts and of the evidence in defendant's brief.
Don't let it happen to you: know the rules!