Articles Posted in Illinois Supreme Court

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Spanish Court Condominium Association filed a complaint under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, 735 ILCS 5/9-101, against Carlson, a unit owners, who allegedly had failed to pay monthly assessments for six months. Carlson admitted that she had not paid her assessments, but denied that she owed those assessments, alleging that she incurred water damage to her unit because Spanish Court failed to properly maintain the roof directly above her unit. She asserted “Breach of Covenants” and “Set-Off” for failure to maintain the roof and that Spanish Court failed to repair or replace her toilet, which was rendered inoperable during the investigation of a water leak in an adjoining unit. The trial court granted Spanish Court’s motion to strike the affirmative defenses and entered an agreed order awarding possession of Carlson’s unit to Spanish Court, and a money judgment for unpaid assessments. The appellate court vacated and remanded for reinstatement of Carlson’s affirmative defenses relating to the roof. The appellate court analogized to a landlord/tenant situation, viewing the obligation to pay assessments, and the obligation to repair and maintain the common elements, as mutually exchanged promises. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, holding that the failure to repair is not germane to the forcible proceeding. View "Spanish Court Two Condo. Ass'n v. Carlson" on Justia Law

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McCluskey executed a promissory note for $330,186, on a Naperville property, with Wells Fargo as the mortgage holder. After service in foreclosure proceedings, McCluskey did not answer or plead. An order of default and judgment of foreclosure entered. After failed negotiations on a loan modification and a rescheduled sale date, Wells Fargo was the successful bidder on the property for a price of $235,985.69. Before Wells Fargo moved to confirm the sale, McCluskey moved to vacate the default judgment and set aside the sale under section 2-1301(e) of the Code of Civil Procedure, rather than the Foreclosure Law (15-1508(b)). The trial court denied her motion and confirmed the sale. The appellate court reversed, holding that the court could exercise discretion under civil procedure law, even after a judicial sale, if the movant could present a compelling excuse for lack of diligence and a meritorious defense. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. After a motion to confirm a judicial sale, foreclosure law governs and provides standards for exercise of discretion in dealing with a motion to vacate. At that point, it is not sufficient under the foreclosure statute to merely raise a meritorious defense to the complaint. In this case, the motion to vacate preceded the motion to confirm, so the trial court could have considered the motion to vacate under civil procedure law. Under these facts, however, the court did not err in denying the motion, even under that more liberal standard. McCluskey admitted her default, was properly served, and had notice of the default, the judgment of foreclosure, and the sale, then later raised pleading defenses for the first time. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., v. McCluskey" on Justia Law

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Unit owner Palm had a dispute with his condominium association, and sought access to records and financial information. Chicago, a home rule unit, has an ordinance that requires production within three business days. Production was resisted on the theory that the ordinance was beyond the city’s home rule authority because state statutes allow 30 days to respond to such requests, and, unlike the ordinance, limit the age of the requested documents to 10 years, and require that a proper purpose be stated. The trial court ordered production; the appellate and supreme courts affirmed, finding the ordinance a valid exercise of home rule power. If the legislature intends to limit or deny the exercise of home rule powers by statute, the statute must contain an express statement to that effect. The home rule provisions of the Illinois Constitution are intended to eliminate, or reduce to a bare minimum, circumstances under which local home rule powers are preempted by judicial interpretation of unexpressed legislative intent. Comprehensive legislation which conflicts with an ordinance is insufficient to limit or restrict home rule authority. If the legislature wishes to deny or restrict the city’s authority, it may enact a statute so providing. View "Palm v. 2800 Lake Shore Dr. Condo. Ass'n" on Justia Law

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In 2003, a stampede at a Chicago nightclub killed 21 people and injured 50 others. Security guards had released pepper spray to break up a fight on the dance floor, and a rush to the exit crushed these victims. The operators of a restaurant and bar in the building were acquitted on charges of involuntary manslaughter. They were held in indirect criminal contempt for willful violation of court orders concerning building code violations, and received two-year prison sentences. Those orders prohibited occupancy of a suspended mezzanine and occupancy of the second floor of the building. The appellate court ruled that the original orders were not clear and reversed the finding of indirect criminal contempt in 2011. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed and remanded for consideration of other issues, holding that the jury could have found the defendants guilty as charged beyond a reasonable doubt View "People v. Le Mirage, Inc." on Justia Law

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Lake Holiday, a private community, is governed by the Association, which enacted restrictive covenants, rules, and regulations, including rules that concern speed limits, impose fines, provide for enforcement of rules by private security officers, and require residents to provide security officers with identification when requested to do so. Plaintiff owns property in the development and was driving within the development, when a private security officer measured plaintiff’s speed, pulled plaintiff over, took plaintiff’s license, detained plaintiff for a few minutes, and issued a citation. In his third amended complaint plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that the practices of the security department were unlawful and that the rules and regulations were void and alleged breach of fiduciary duty and willful and wanton conduct and false imprisonment. The trial court granted defendants summary judgments. The appellate court held that the practice of recording drivers was not a violation of the eavesdropping statute, 720 ILCS 5/14-2(a)(1), nor was the security department prohibited from using radar, but that the Association was not authorized by the Vehicle Code to use amber lights on its vehicles and that stopping and detaining drivers for Association rule violations was unlawful. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, in favor of the Association. View "Poris v. Lake Holiday Prop. Owners Ass'n" on Justia Law

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In 2005, a mortgage was entered into as to property in Naperville. The loan was eventually sold to EMC, which obtained a judgment of foreclosure in 2009. The debtor’s request to have the 2009 foreclosure judgment vacated was denied, as was her subsequent motion to reconsider that denial. To both of these adverse orders, Supreme Court Rule 304(a) language (that there was no just reason for delaying either enforcement or appeal) was added, and the debtor appealed. The appellate court, however, dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed and affirmed. Although a foreclosure judgment is final as to what it adjudicates, it is not appealable until entry of an order approving the sale and directing distribution. The orders to which the circuit court added Rule 304(a) language were not themselves final for purposes of appeal. There is no court rule permitting appeal of the nonfinal orders at issue here, and Rule 304(a) cannot confer appellate jurisdiction where none exists. View "EMC Mortg. Corp. v. Kemp" on Justia Law

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The State of Illinois maintains a state park on land that was once a college founded in the nineteenth century. The township sought quiet title to two parcels comprising the park. The state has a sign on the land and mows the grass, but no legal instruments have been recorded against the parcels since the original survey and plat in 1860 by the college. When the plat was certified, the parcels complied with requirements for a statutory dedication. The dedication was impliedly accepted by the township and fee simple vested in the public. The appellate court affirmed the circuit court's grant of summary judgment to the township quieting title, finding no lack of jurisdiction. It also affirmed on the merits, declining to reach, as premature, a claim that the township wanted to sell land that must be preserved for public purposes. The supreme court affirmed. In the initial filing by the township, the state could not have been sued in circuit court, but the state went beyond defending itself when it subsequently invoked the jurisdiction of the circuit court to assert its own claim that it was entitled to have title quieted in its favor.

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The Forest Preserve District, filed a condemnation action against defendant's golf course and 54 undeveloped acres in December, 1999. The Eminent Domain Act provided that the date of filing the complaint was to be considered the valuation date for determining just compensation. 735 ILCS 5/7-121. At a trial held nearly eight years later, a jury determined that the fair market value on December 21, 1999, was $10.725 million. The appellate court affirmed in part, but vacated as to value and remanded to determine if the property has materially increased in value. The Supreme Court affirmed. Noting that condemnation can be abandoned and that the owner may have to continue paying taxes after the filing, the court concluded that a taking, to avoid an award of substantially less than fair market value, occurs on the date that the government deposits the amount of compensation that has been awarded and acquires title and the right to possession. Defendant did not forfeit its claim by failing to demand a speedy trial. The court noted that the District has not yet taken title and still could abandon condemnation. The trial court properly concluded that the District engaged in good faith negotiations.