Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB3913
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Full Text of SB3913  102nd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 1/21/2022, by Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins


735 ILCS 5/9-121
735 ILCS 5/9-121.5
735 ILCS 5/9-122
815 ILCS 505/2Z.5

    Amends the Eviction Article of the Code of Civil Procedure. Provides that a sealed court file shall be made available to a State or local government employee or contractor responsible for processing court-based rental assistance. Requires prospective counsel to request a sealed court file in a specified form. Allows a scholarly, public policy, court reform agency, educational, journalistic, or governmental body to access all sealed files by filing a motion with the judge presiding over evictions in that judicial district or county. Changes operative and repeal dates to August 1, 2024 (currently August 1, 2022). Makes conforming changes in the Article and the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Effective immediately.

LRB102 23420 LNS 32589 b





SB3913LRB102 23420 LNS 32589 b

1    AN ACT concerning civil law.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Code of Civil Procedure is amended by
5changing Sections 9-121, 9-121.5, and 9-122 as follows:
6    (735 ILCS 5/9-121)
7    Sec. 9-121. Sealing of court file.
8    (a) Definition. As used in this Section, "court file"
9means the court file created when an eviction action is filed
10with the court.
11    (b) Discretionary sealing of court file. The court may
12order that a court file in an eviction action be placed under
13seal if the court finds that the plaintiff's action is
14sufficiently without a basis in fact or law, which may include
15a lack of jurisdiction, that placing the court file under seal
16is clearly in the interests of justice, and that those
17interests are not outweighed by the public's interest in
18knowing about the record.
19    (c) Mandatory sealing of court file. The court file
20relating to an eviction action brought against a tenant under
21Section 9-207.5 of this Code or as set forth in subdivision
22(h)(6) of Section 15-1701 of this Code shall be placed under



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1    (d) This Section is operative on and after August 1, 2024
3(Source: P.A. 102-5, eff. 5-17-21.)
4    (735 ILCS 5/9-121.5)
5    (Section scheduled to be repealed on August 1, 2022)
6    Sec. 9-121.5. Sealing of court file.
7    (a) As used in this Section, "court file" means the court
8file created when an eviction action is filed with the court.
9    (b) The court shall order the sealing of any court file in
10a residential eviction action if:
11        (1) the interests of justice in sealing the court file
12    outweigh the public interest in maintaining a public
13    record;
14        (2) the parties to the eviction action agree to seal
15    the court file;
16        (3) there was no material violation of the terms of
17    the tenancy by the tenant; or
18        (4) the case was dismissed with or without prejudice.
19    (c) The court file relating to an eviction action brought
20against a tenant under Section 9-207.5 of this Code or as set
21forth in subdivision (h)(6) of Section 15-1701 of this Code
22shall be placed under seal.
23    (d) A sealed court file shall be made available only to the
24litigants in the case, their counsel or prospective counsel,
25and public employees responsible for processing the



SB3913- 3 -LRB102 23420 LNS 32589 b

1residential eviction action, and State or local government
2employees or contractors responsible for processing
3court-based rental assistance. Prospective counsel shall make
4a request for the court file in substantially the form
5provided below:
6    "The Eviction Article of the Code of Civil Procedure
7    allows a party to an eviction case, and the party's
8    counsel and prospective counsel, to access the party's
9    impounded or sealed eviction court file. The undersigned
10    (and employees of the undersigned's law office, if
11    applicable) may present this certificate to the clerk of
12    the court to review the above-captioned sealed eviction
13    file. To protect the party's right to confidentiality,
14    this certificate shall not be filed or served on other
15    parties."
16    Upon presentation of the form to the office of the clerk of
17the court, the clerk shall make the file available to the
18prospective counsel.
19    (e) A scholarly, public policy, court reform agency,
20educational, journalistic, or governmental body may access all
21sealed files by filing a motion with the judge presiding over
22evictions in that judicial district or county. The presiding
23judge shall grant the motion and enter an order upon a showing
24of scholarly, educational, public policy, court reform,



SB3913- 4 -LRB102 23420 LNS 32589 b

1journalistic, or governmental credential and purpose. Upon
2motion and order of the court, a sealed court file may be made
3available for scholarly, educational, journalistic, or
4governmental purposes only, balancing the interests of the
5parties and the public in nondisclosure with the interests of
6the requesting party. Identifying information of the parties
7shall remain sealed, unless the court determines that release
8of the information is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the
9request and the interests of justice so dictate. Nothing in
10this subsection shall permit the release of a sealed court
11file or the information contained therein for a commercial
12purpose. The public policy agency may include a legal aid
13provider; however, the file shall be used only for its public
14policy purposes.
15    (f) Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), any
16person who disseminates a court file sealed under this
17Section, or the information contained therein, for commercial
18purposes shall be liable for a civil penalty of $2,000, or
19twice the actual and consequential damages sustained,
20whichever is greater, as well as the costs of the action,
21including reasonable attorney's fees.
22    (g) The Attorney General may enforce a violation of this
23Section as an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and
24Deceptive Business Practices Act. All remedies, penalties, and
25authority granted to the Attorney General by the Consumer
26Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act shall be available



SB3913- 5 -LRB102 23420 LNS 32589 b

1to him or her for the enforcement of this Section.
2    (h) Nothing in this Section prohibits a landlord from
3receiving a reference from a previous landlord of a
4prospective tenant. Nothing in this Section prohibits a
5landlord from providing a reference for a previous or current
6tenant to a prospective landlord of that tenant.
7    (i) This Section is repealed on August 1, 2024 2022.
8(Source: P.A. 102-5, eff. 5-17-21.)
9    (735 ILCS 5/9-122)
10    Sec. 9-122. COVID-19 emergency sealing of court file.
11    (a) As used in this Section, "COVID-19 emergency and
12economic recovery period" means the period beginning on March
139, 2020, when the Governor issued the first disaster
14proclamation for the State to address the circumstances
15related to COVID-19, and ending on August 1, 2024 March 31,
17    (b) The court file shall be sealed upon the commencement
18of any residential eviction action during the COVID-19
19emergency and economic recovery period. If a residential
20eviction action filed during the COVID-19 emergency and
21economic recovery period is pending on the effective date of
22this Act and is not sealed, the court shall order the sealing
23of the court file. In accordance with Section 9-121.5, no
24sealed court file, sealed under this Section, shall be



SB3913- 6 -LRB102 23420 LNS 32589 b

1    (c) If the court enters a judgment in favor of the
2landlord, the court may also enter an order to unseal the court
3file under this Section. A court shall order the court file to
4be unsealed if:
5        (1) the action is not based in whole or in part on the
6    nonpayment of rent during the COVID-19 emergency and
7    economic recovery period; and
8        (2) The requirements of subsection (b) or (c) of
9    Section 9-121.5 have not been met.
10    (d) Subsections (d) through (h) of Section 9-121.5 shall
11also be applicable and incorporated into this Section.
12(Source: P.A. 102-5, eff. 5-17-21.)
13    Section 10. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
14Practices Act is amended by changing Section 2Z.5 as follows:
15    (815 ILCS 505/2Z.5)
16    (Section scheduled to be repealed on August 1, 2022)
17    Sec. 2Z.5. Dissemination of a sealed court file.
18    (a) A private entity or person who violates Section
199-121.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure commits an unlawful
20practice within the meaning of this Act.
21    (b) This Section is repealed on August 1, 2024 2022.
22(Source: P.A. 102-5, eff. 5-17-21; 102-687, eff. 12-17-21.)
23    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
24becoming law.