Over the past couple of weeks over at the California Supreme Court Review, we’ve been analyzing the California Supreme Court’s experience with certified questions. So today, we turn our attention to the same issue: how often does the Illinois Supreme Court decide certified questions?
The Court’s certified question docket is governed by Supreme Court Rule 20, which provides that the Court may accept certified questions from the United States Supreme Court or the Seventh Circuit (but from no other court).
The short answer is: not often. The Court decided one certified case in 1997, one each in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2011 and 2012, and one in 2016. Seven of the Court’s certified questions originated from the Northern District of Illinois, and one originated from the Central District. Three of the court’s certified question cases arose from tort law, two arose from government and administrative law, and one each arose from tax and employment law.
In Table 513, we report the percentage of certified question appeals which the defense won in each subject area. What the data shows is that the defense has fared quite well. Defendants have won three quarters of the tort law cases, and the only plaintiff’s win was by an insurer which would have traditionally been the defendant. Defendants won none of the government law cases, but all of the tax law and employment law cases.
Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our analysis of the Court’s certified question cases.