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Case Law Update: Pre-Trial Procedure in Voluntary Dismissal

Eskridge v. Cook County, No. 08-2980 (8/17/09) found that the district court did not err in denying plaintiffs’ Rule 60(b) motion to reconsider prior order denying plaintiff’s request seeking relief from prior voluntary dismissal order that had been obtained on plaintiffs’ motion even though plaintiffs argued that they did not intend for voluntary dismissal to result in precluding them from subsequently proceeding against defendant in state court. Record showed that plaintiffs were precluded from proceeding in state court where plaintiffs’ lawsuit against defendant had been voluntarily dismissed for second time, and Dist. Ct. could properly find that plaintiffs were not entitled to relief under Rule 60(b)(1) since instant procedural error did not qualify as either inadvertent mistake or excusable neglect where plaintiffs were instrumental in procuring voluntary dismissal. Moreover, reinstatement of lawsuit under Rule 60(b) would only shift burden of plaintiffs’ error to Dist. Ct. and defendant. This seventh circuit case will greatly impact all Illinois cases.