Motion for Leave to Amend in Illinois Circuit Court–At A Glance

Use this “At A Glance Guide” to learn the statewide rules of civil procedure (Illinois Compiled Statutes and Illinois Supreme Court Rules) applicable to bringing a motion for leave to amend in Illinois Circuit Court.  For more detailed information, including local rules, on bringing a motion for leave to amend in a specific Illinois Circuit Court, please see the SmartRules Illinois Circuit Court Motion for Leave to Amend Guide for the court where your action is pending.

Timing:

Upon just and reasonable terms and for good cause shown the court will entertain a motion for leave to amend the pleadings at any time prior to the entry of judgment in the action. 735 ILCS 5/2-616(a).

Misnomer of a party is not a ground for dismissal but the name of any party may be corrected at any time, before or after judgment, on motion, upon any terms and proof that the court requires. 735 ILCS 5/2-401(b).

Before or after the entry of a summary judgment, the court shall permit pleadings to be amended upon just and reasonable terms. 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(g).

A pleading may be amended at any time before or after the entry of judgment in the action in order to conform the pleadings to the proof in the action, on terms “as to costs and continuance that are just.” 735 ILCS 5/2-616(c).

To preserve a claim that would otherwise be statutorily or contractually time-barred at the time of amendment, relation back to the date of filing of the original pleading is permitted in the following circumstances:

If it is evident from both the amended and original pleadings that a new cause of action, cross claim or defense asserted in an amended pleading grew out of the same transaction or occurrence set up in the original pleading, but the original pleading was defective in failing to allege a necessary condition precedent to the recovery or defense, the amended claim shall relate back to the date of original pleading for statute of limitations purposes only, provided the condition precedent has in fact been satisfied. 735 ILCS 5/2-616(b).

A party who might have been timely brought into the action at the time of original pleading may be joined to the action by amendment if he or she received notice of the pendency of the action during the original time allowed for filing and service, and knew or should have known that but for a mistake regarding the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against him or her. The party requesting the amendment must additionally establish that the claim against the new party arises out of the same transaction or occurrence set forth in the original pleadings. 735 ILCS 5/2-616(d).

Additional requirements apply for relation back in a cause of action against a beneficiary of a land trust. 735 ILCS 5/2-616(e).

Motion for Leave to Amend Rules:

On good cause shown and terms that are just, amendments to the pleadings will be permitted to introduce any party who ought to have been joined to the action, change the cause of action or defense or add new causes of action or defenses. Amendments are also more generally permitted “in any matter, either of form or of substance” which enables the moving party to sustain the claim or defense for which the pleading was intended to be brought. 735 ILCS 5/2-616(a).

A pleading may be amended at any time, before or after judgment, to conform the pleadings to the proofs, upon terms as to costs and continuance that may be just. 735 ILCS 5/2-616(c).

If the court determines, on motions directed to the pleadings, or on motion for summary judgment or upon trial, that the plaintiff has pleaded or established facts which entitle the plaintiff to relief, but the plaintiff has sought the wrong remedy, the court “shall permit the pleadings to be amended, on just and reasonable terms.” In considering whether a proposed amendment is just and reasonable the court will consider:

(1) the right of the defendant to assert additional defenses;

(2) the right of the defendant to demand a trial by jury;

(3) the right of the defendant to plead a counterclaim or third party complaint; and

(4) whether to order the plaintiff to take additional steps which were not required under the pleadings as previously filed.

735 ILCS 5/2-617.

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