Articles Posted in Illinois Civil Procedure

Susan Danzig and Carla Davis, plaintiffs, attended a student play put on by the Professional Theater and Dance Youth Academy (dance academy) at the Woodlawn facility at The University of Chicago Charter School Corp. (charter school) on Feb. 24, 2017. While there, the plaintiffs were instructed to sit on a bench by an employee of the charter school. The bench collapsed, injuring both Danzig and Davis.

The plaintiffs filed an identical one-count negligence lawsuit against the dance academy and the charter school on March 20, 2018. The charter school moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming the case was barred by the statute of limitations, citing the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, section 101(a), which requires claims to be filed within one year of the alleged injury.

On June 28, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a response and the dance academy moved to dismiss and filed a counterclaim against the charter school for contribution. The charter school moved to dismiss, also citing the one-year statute of limitations.

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A Will County judge rejected Diana Angell’s attempt to use veil-piercing to overcome a mistake made in suing the wrong defendant. Her attorney sued Santefort Family Holdings LLC when she should have targeted an affiliated company known as Midwest Home Rentals LLC. Having done so, the circuit court judge dismissed the case; however, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Third District reversed with a dissent.

Angell was inspecting a mobile home that was for sale or lease at Tri-Star Estate when she walked into an unlit bathroom and stepped into a hole. She was seriously injured and sued Tri-Star’s owner, Santefort Family Holdings. Even though Santefort Family Holdings owned the real estate, the mobile home was owned by Midwest Home Rentals LLC.

To make matters worse, Santefort Family 2012 Irrevocable Trust reportedly owned numerous affiliates, including Santefort Real Estate Group LLC (which owned the defendant, Santefort Family Holdings), Midwest Home Rentals LLC, Santefort Services LLC, Santefort Property Management Inc. (called SPMI) and an array of single purpose entities.

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James Richardson was seriously injured in an auto crash at 53rd Street and Western Avenue in Chicago, which resulted in a settlement for $1 million against Night Dream Inc. and Shaun T. Small. However, their Nevada-based insurer, Spirit Commercial Auto RRG Inc., was placed in liquidation before it funded the $1 million settlement amount. Because Spirit was a “risk retention group, (RRG),” Richardson couldn’t collect from the insurance guaranty funds in Nevada or Illinois.

He asked for a $1 million judgment against Dream and Small based on the portion of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2-2301, aimed at insurance companies that slow walk settlement payments.

Richardson requested the judgment more than 30 days after he submitted an executed release and all other documents required by Section 2-2301. Subsection (d) says: “A settling defendant shall pay all sums due to the plaintiff within 30 days of tender by the plaintiff of the executed release and all applicable documents in compliance with subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Section.”

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Tyrone Lawson, 17, was the son of the plaintiff, Pamela Wright-Young, when he  was fatally shot outside a high school basketball game.  As the administrator of her son’s estate, his mother brought this wrongful death and survival action lawsuit against the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Board) and the Chief of Police and Student Services for Chicago State University. The university’s Jones Convocation Center was the venue in which the basketball game was held.

Throughout the pendency of this case, the trial court rejected various statutory immunities asserted by the Board. The case was tried and a jury concluded that the Board was liable, but the Chief of Police of Chicago State University was not. The jury signed a general verdict in favor of Wright-Young for damages in the amount of $3.5 million. The Board appealed.

The Illinois Appellate Court concluded that the trial court erroneously rejected the Board’s claim of absolute immunity with respect to most of the theories of liability presented at trial, as those theories all related to the Board’s choosing not to provide adequate police protection services.

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Paul Oleksiuk’s legacy included an intricate probate puzzle. His 2012 will revoked his 2011 will.  He died in 2014 before finalizing a revision to a 2012 will. However, on June 9, 2017, a Cook County judge ruled that the 2012 will didn’t qualify for admission to probate because it wasn’t notarized.

Inasmuch as the petitioners, Oleksiuk’s sister and nephew, could not find an original copy of the 2011 will, they tried again, petitioning for admission of a copy of the 2011 will.

Attacking the second petition, with a combined motion to dismiss based on Sections 2-615 and 2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, his widow, Irena Oleksiuk, argued that the revocation clause in the defective 2012 will blocked the petitioners from rebutting the presumption that he intended to revoke the missing 2011 will.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed the decisions of two Cook County judges related to the suit filed by SFG Capital LLC. The suit was filed against Patrick W. Kane in 2010; it was alleged that Kane defaulted on a loan. Following a consent agreement, the trial court entered a $783,000 judgment against Kane payable to SFG. In an attempt to satisfy the judgment, SFG initiated a citation to discover assets proceedings to identify available assets that Kane might have owned.

In 2012, William Platt, an estranged business partner of Kane, signed a promissory note for $1.2 million payable to Kane. The trial court ordered all rights, title and interest in the Platt note to be transferred to SFG on April 14, 2016, with instructions that SFG “may take such further action as necessary to enforce payment on the . . . note.”

Access Realty Group, the plaintiff in this case, acquired the SFG judgment by way of an assignment on April 14, 2017, and became the successor in interest to SFG. Platt is the sole shareholder of Access, as well as its president, secretary and registered agent.
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The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District has affirmed the jury’s verdict in a personal injury case. On Feb. 16, 2013, Joanna Tielke was bowling at a facility run by Kevin Killerman and 3124 N. Central LLC. Tielke slipped while bowling and fell, suffering a severe injury.  She filed a lawsuit against North Central, Killerman and Manor Bowling.

There were two different law firms that represented the various defendants.  On Sept. 26, 2017, attorney Tara Ryniec-Stanek made an open court settlement offer to Tielke of $700,000. This was before trial.

That night, Ryniec-Stanek sent a text to Tielke confirming that the $700,000 offer was still available and that if accepted, the check would be delivered on Sept. 29.  On Sept. 27, Tielke spoke to Ryniec-Stanek and accepted the offer; she also confirmed the acceptance via text message to her.

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In the case of Campbell v. Acme Installations Inc., highlighted in the April 2019 Illinois Bar Journal authored by Eric J. Muñoz, general jurisdiction for nonresident defendants is clarified.

In the Campbell case, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against General Electric and other companies resulting from his alleged exposure to GE-manufactured industrial furnaces located at a Chicago steel company where he worked from 1964 to 1965. At the time of the filing of the lawsuit, GE was based in New York, and its principal place of business was in Massachusetts.

GE had been licensed to conduct business in Illinois since 1897. GE employed some 3,000 employees at 30 facilities that it owned, leased, or operated throughout Illinois. It also had six business units located in the state. GE’s annual sales from its Illinois operations “exceeded $1 billion, with a claimed economic impact in Illinois of $4.8 billion.”

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The day before Eugene Lay died from lung cancer in January 2016, he allegedly signed a will that revoked his 1979 will. The new will left all of his assets to Delbert Miller. However, when Beverly Kelton, a legatee under the earlier 1979 will, challenged the 2016 testament, a  judge in Kankakee County, Ill., granted Delbert Miller’s motion to dismiss based on alleged lack of statutory standing under Section 1-2.11 of the Illinois Probate Act.

Section 8-1(a) of the Illinois Probate Act authorizes attacks on the validity of a will by any “interested person,” as defined in Section 1-2.11. Failure to qualify as an “interested person” for a will contest amounts to a lack of standing that can be presented as an affirmative defense in a motion under Section 2-619(a)(9) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

Miller argued that Kelton was obligated to prove that she had standing because the 2016 will contained a revocation clause. Miller relied on the dicta in the Illinois Supreme Court case of Estate of Schlenker, 209 Ill.2d 456 (2004). In granting Miller’s motion to dismiss, the trial court also cited the Estate of Koziol, 366 Ill.App.3d 171 (2006), which involved the presumption that a missing will was revoked.

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Mary Lewis, Tashwan Banks and Kathleen O’Sullivan filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated against Atlantic Richfield Co., ConAgra Grocery Products Inc., NL Industries Inc. and Sherwin-Williams Co. claiming that these entities engaged in civil conspiracy.

In addition, the plaintiff class consisted of parents or legal guardians who incurred expenses, allegations of liabilities in testing their children.

The children, between Aug. 18, 1995 and Feb. 19, 2008, were between six months and six years old. They lived in zip codes identified by the Illinois Department of Public Health as “high risk” areas for lead toxicity.

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