Illinois Has Two Different Rules to Obtain Dismissal of a Civil Suit

Illinois has two rules that can be used to dismiss cases which allows for more flexibility in defending some actions then in federal court where there is only one means to seek dismissal of an action.

A Section 2-615 motion to dismiss and a Section 2-619 motion to dismiss under Illinois law are two distinct legal tools, each serving specific purposes.

A Section 2-615 motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint by challenging whether the complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted. This motion is concerned with defects appearing on the face of the complaint and does not rely on matters outside the complaint. It admits all well-pleaded facts and attacks the legal sufficiency of the complaint [5], [7], [12]. The court, in ruling on a 2-615 motion, considers only the allegations in the pleadings.

On the other hand, a Section 2-619 motion to dismiss acknowledges the legal sufficiency of the complaint but asserts that there are certain external defects or defenses that defeat the claims. It admits the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff’s claim but asserts ‘affirmative matter’ outside of the pleading that defeats the claim. This motion is sometimes referred to as a ‘Yes, but’ motion because it essentially says, ‘Yes, the complaint was legally sufficient, but an affirmative matter exists that defeats the claim’.

The two types of motions can be combined under Section 2-619.1, but it is important to maintain procedural distinctions between them. Each part of a combined motion should be limited to and specify that it is made under one of Sections 2-615, 2-619, or 2-1005, and should clearly show the points or grounds relied upon under the Section upon which it is based.

In dealing with these motions, the court interprets all pleadings and supporting documents in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Furthermore, dismissals pursuant to sections 2-615, 2-619, and 2-619.1 are reviewed de novo.

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