Williams v. State of IL, No. 13-2652 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Williams filed his complaint listing more than 100 defendants, including the state, its Attorney General, and Illinois State University, claiming that university police arrested him without probable cause and that other defendants pursued baseless criminal charges. After 13 months, the magistrate ordered Williams to explain why the defendants had not been served, warning that he was considering recommending dismissal for lack of prosecution. Williams responded that he had been stymied by the university’s refusal to supply names and home addresses of employees and that he had sent university counsel a request for waiver of service. Two more months passed. The magistrate recommended dismissal. When Williams requested summonses, 16 months had elapsed without service on any defendant. The district court dismissed, explaining that Williams had the burden of identifying the names and addresses and that Williams could have served the governmental defendants, but did not. Williams sought to reinstate the case, but the 28-day deadline had passed. On appeal, Williams argued that he had three extra days to ask for reconsideration because he received the dismissal by mail, FED. R. CIV. P. 6(d). The Seventh Circuit rejected the argument, reasoning that the rule enlarges the filing time only when the period for acting runs from service of a notice, not when the time begins after entry of judgment.