Illinois Plaintiff’s attorneys are all too familiar with settled defendants “dragging their feet” on issuing payment on a settled case. In many cases, once the parties reach a settlement, the real fight begins. Through a series of motions, numerous phone calls, and demand letters, plaintiff’s attorneys eventually receive the settlement check from the defendant, sometimes months after the agreement is made. Earlier this year, Illinois Senator Kwame Raoul proposed an amendment to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure called Senate Bill 1912 (“SB 1912”) that could dramatically change this process of enforcement by stopping unnecessary delay.

The amendment proposes that the defendant must pay the settlement within a statutory period or the Court may enter judgment against the defendants, plus interest and costs.

The way this works is, defendants issue plaintiffs a release within 14 days of the settlement. In cases which require a court order for settlements, plaintiff should obtain the court order and timely disclose it to defendants. Once defendants possess the executed release or court order, the defendants have 21 days to send the settlement check. Failure to send payment within 21 days results in interest accruing from the day the executed release was tendered to the defendants.

As of May 30, 2013, SB 1912 passed through both Houses in the Illinois Senate and has one more hurdle, as it must be signed by Governor Quinn. If SB 1912 is signed into law, it is poised to make a dramatic change in the way lawsuits are settled.

Something else to think about—will Defendants be less likely to settle if SB 1912 passes, given these strict deadlines? If you are interested in SB 1912 and its progress, you can check its progress at the Illinois General Assembly.

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