Yes! In their inimitable wisdom, or perhaps after a week-long bender, the Illinois Supreme Court summarily decided that all civil lawsuits must be electronically filed. Their theory, they said, was to increase court access particularly for those folks who couldn’t afford an attorney.
Perhaps if, like a gift, it was the thought that counts, you’d have to give those justices credit for their foresight. But when you take the e-filing execution into account, it quickly becomes a case of the cure being far worse than the disease.
So, with my complete sexual harassment document FOIA denial civil complaint in hand, I availed myself of the online Odyssey System only to be thoroughly confused.
The first problem is the multiple-choice dialog boxes scroll so poorly that you can’t read all of the possibilities. But even if you could, the answers are concocted in the kind of legal terms that most pro se litigants wouldn’t begin to understand.
I did correctly guess the complaint category and subcategory, but I still had attorney Jeff Meyer on the phone to ensure I didn’t go too far astray as there was yet more legalese in the offing! I did try to sue myself at one point, which would’ve been a fascinating proposition, but I eventually managed to name the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office as the “respondent.”
But then Jeff had me upload what we thought was the wrong file, and with no way of retracing our electronic steps, I had to start the process all over again.
This time, upon attempting to upload the right file, the system said it wouldn’t accept any complaint over 15 megabytes. Enforcing brevity on lawyers? How the hell did they ever get away with that one? So, I resorted to a system chat with Shawn who told me the only option was to restart the process a third time with a smaller complaint file.
So, with a dutifully compressed the PDF file in hand, the third e-file attempt was, indeed, the charm. Here’s the stamped copy of that lawsuit:
But let me tell ya, all those bumps in the road weren’t nearly as bad as having to fork over $377.61 just for the privilege of suing the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Hey! Illinois Supreme Court! If you really want to give court access a boost, how about doing away with the kind of absurd entry fees that price justice well beyond what so many Illinoisians can afford? Granted, the KCSAO will have to pay those fees when I beat them – again – but I still have to front that cash to get the ball rolling.
Entities like the KCSAO know those fees can be cost prohibitive and they tend to take advantage of that reality.
On the good side, a mere two hours after completing the e-filing, the Kane County Circuit Clerk’s Office accepted the complaint and responded with that officially stamped copy. Now, we’ll see if Civil Division head Joe Lulves will waive service so I don’t have to shell out yet more money on a process server.
Once service has been established, it’s up to the KCSAO to respond to the lawsuit. As I previously indicated, I’ll keep you posted!