Can a Petition Be Dismissed As Untimely If It Is Presented After the Hours Set by the Rule on the Day of the Deadline ?

In McReynolds v. Hartley, 251 Ill. App. 3d 1038, 1041, 623 N.E.2d 913, 191 Ill. Dec. 323 (1993), the petitioners' attorney arrived at the clerk's office at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the deadline, and a deputy clerk told the petitioners' attorney that state law prevented her from accepting documents for filing after 4:30 p.m. The petition was accepted for filing the next day, and the trial court dismissed the petition as untimely. McReynolds, 251 Ill. App. 3d at 1040. The appellate court in McReynolds distinguished In re Estate of Davison, 102 Ill. App. 3d 644, 645, 430 N.E.2d 222, 58 Ill. Dec. 280 (1981), which the plaintiff has also cited here and which held that the delivery of a document may constitute filing because the person filing has no control over the clerk receiving the documents and that the clerk's subsequent ministerial tasks, i.e., file-stamping the document, evidence the filing of a document but are not essential to its perfection. The McReynolds court held that the In re Estate of Davison rule of law implicitly required a finding that the deputy clerk should have performed the ministerial task of filing the petition. McReynolds, 251 Ill. App. 3d at 1041. Because the petition in McReynolds had been presented after the hours properly set by rule, the appellate court could not say that the deputy clerk should have accepted the petition for filing or that she acted improperly in refusing to do so. McReynolds, 251 Ill. App. 3d at 1042. Thus, the court in McReynolds held that the trial court had properly dismissed the petition as untimely because the petitioners did not timely file their petition by presenting it to a deputy clerk prior to 4:30 p.m. on the day of the deadline. McReynolds, 251 Ill. App. 3d at 1042.