Mark Miller was committed to the Department of Human Services as a sexually violent person, but his commitment was reversed on appeal because of ineffective representation by his former trial attorney, W. Keith Davis. For this, Miler sued Davis pro se for legal malpractice, filing his complaint on October 25, 2013. Davis was not served until almost three years later on October 14, 2016, well after the two-year statute of limitations had lapsed. Davis moved to dismiss with prejudice pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 103(b) for failure to exercise reasonable diligence in service. The trial court granted Davis’ motion.
On appeal, the dismissal was affirmed. The appellate court explained that Miller’s status as a pro se litigant did not exempt him from compliance with the same rules of procedure as a litigant represented by counsel. Moreover, it noted that “there was a lengthy period of time, over two years, where Miller did nothing to move his case forward.” Id. at ¶ 23. Although the record indicated Davis knew of Miller’s complaint soon after it was filed, the appellate court held that “the presence of actual knowledge and the absence of prejudice do not require this court to find reasonable diligence” as they do not “outweigh the other factors.” Id. at ¶ 24.
(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)