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Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago
by Suzanne Le Mignot

To watch this entire piece click here

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman is dealing with confusion after after being injured in a car crash, out thousands of dollars and waiting for her day in court. Her lawyer said the problem appears to be with the Cook County filing system, and his client may not be the only one impacted.

When asked if she had to take out loans to make ends meet, Fredricka Williams said “absolutely.”

She and her husband Reggie were in a car accident. They filed a lawsuit in March of last year. They’re still paying for the car damaged in the wreck and had to buy a new one.

“I had, I guess, torn ligaments in the neck area,” said Williams.

She’s also been paying medical bills.

“It’s been quite taxing on my financial end,” she said.

Williams said she’s been waiting for a settlement that should total at least $20,000. In September of last year, a judge ordered her case moved from the 1st District downtown to the 5th district in Bridgeview, near where the accident happened.

When that electronic filing change happened, Williams’ lawyer said a court date was never generated. They’ve reached out five times to both districts since September.

Six months later, they’re still waiting for a court date.

“Sounds like somebody dropped the ball, heavily. And you have people such as myself who are waiting for the ball to be picked back up,” said Williams.

A lawyer at the firm representing Williams sent a letter to chief judges Timothy Evans and Kenneth Wright Jr. telling them about the problem they’ve encountered with transfer cases in the electronic filing system.

“It’s causing a delay that can be several months, could be a year in some cases,” said attorney Amir Akbar. “This is a fairly standard procedure for a Cook County judge to transfer a case to another district. There could be hundreds, if not thousands, of litigants trapped in limbo.”

The electronic filing system is operated by the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Dorothy Brown. Her office said human error was to blame and not e-filing. The transfer order for the case file wasn’t completed properly.

“I need to see expediency on this case. I need for them to come on and do the resolve of it,” said Williams.

The case is now assigned to the appropriate courtroom in the 5th District. And Clerk of Court management will be doing proper oversight of case transfer procedures on a daily basis.

Meantime, a spokesperson for Chief Judge Timothy Evans said Evans hosted two meetings last year to address issues raised by the new e-fling process.


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