Illinois Supreme Court Rule 191 and Judgment Affidavits

Before any substantive decisions can be rendered on any issue raised by the parties in a motion for summary judgment, the court will first examine and determine whether the motion presented is in compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 191(a). Because an affidavit in a summary judgment proceeding is a substitute for trial testimony taken in open court, the affidavit must meet the same foundational requisites as trial testimony.  Cole-Taylor Bank v. Corrigan, 595 N.E. 2d 177 (1992).  Similarly, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) provide that “[s]upporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein.”  Folio Impressions, Inc. v. Byer California, 937 F.2d 759, 764 (2d Cir. 1991). All too frequently, affidavits are hastily drafted and filed, making them subject to attack.  Illinois Courts have consistently ruled that summary judgment motions should be decided on the merits of the facts and law properly presented, not on unsupported affidavit testimony.