Does Court Have Jusrisdiction If the Appellant Failed to Name a Certain Party In the Notice of Appeal ?

In Moenning v. Commonwealth Edison, 134 Ill. App. 3d 468, 481 N.E.2d 36, 89 Ill. Dec. 684 (1985), the appellant sought to appeal a decision of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to the circuit court. The appellant, however, failed to name the ICC as a party in its notice of appeal. The circuit court found that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. On appeal, the Moenning court was asked to consider whether the failure to name the ICC in the caption of the notice of appeal was a jurisdictional defect. The court noted that the relevant statute, section 68 of the Public Utilities Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 111 2/3, par. 72), set forth the requirements to perfect an appeal to the circuit court; it did not, however, address the specific issue of what parties were required to be named in the caption. The Moenning court found that "in the absence of any specific directive in section 68, the appellant could reasonably infer that the ICC did not need to be named in the caption because decisions on orders by the ICC do not come under the Administrative Review Act." Moenning, 134 Ill. App. 3d at 470-71. In vacating the circuit court's dismissal order, the court further stated as follows: "There is no reason, and no support in rule, statute, or caselaw, why we should read a jurisdictional requirement like captioning into the statute. To do so would promote form over substance and defeat an otherwise valid notice of appeal. In fact, to read such a requirement into the statute would be contrary to the explicit language, of section 68, which confers jurisdiction on the circuit court provided that certain steps are taken, which they were in this case. The purpose of section 68 is to insure that the parties receive timely notice; this was done here, and there is no showing that the ICC was prejudiced in any way." Moenning, 134 Ill. App. 3d at 471-72. The court also considered the ICC's argument that it was a necessary party to the action. It stated that, even assuming arguendo that the ICC was a necessary party, the trial court erred in dismissing the appeal because the failure to join an indispensable party does not deprive a court of its jurisdiction over parties that are properly before it. Moenning, 134 Ill. App. 3d at 472.