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Wednesday
Jun182014

Business Law: Reviving Judgments

"If handled correctly, a judgment, like an ordinary houseplant, can last a long time, up to 27 years after the date the judgment was entered.  But just as neglecting to periodically water a houseplant will eventually cause it to wither and die, neglecting to periodically revive a judgment will eventually cause it to become dormant and [be] extinguish[ed]." Burman v. Snyder (1st Dist., 2014).  Under Illinois law, judgments expire after seven years, unless they are revived by petition.  The petition must be filed in the 7th year after its entry, or in the 7th year after its last revival, or in the 20th year after its entry, or at any other time within 20 years after its entry if the judgment becomes dormant.

In this case, the plaintiff obtained a judgment in 1991 for about $91,000.  He revived the judgment by the filing of a petition in 1998.  He did not, however, obtain service on the defendant.  Instead, he waited more than 13 years to try again, more than 20 years after the date of the original judgment.  After he was eventually served, the defendant moved to dismiss the petition on the basis that service on him was untimely and the judgment had already expired.  The trial court agreed, as did the Appellate Court, stating that a judgment becomes dormant 7 years after its last revival.  Since the plaintiff failed to file a second petition in 2005 (7 years after the first revival in 1998), and failed to file anything further before the 20th anniversary of the judgment, the judgment expired automatically by operation of law.  Thus, the judgment was no longer enforceable.  

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