Failure to Follow through with Contract Requirements Made Specific Performance Lawsuit Moot

On Oct. 28, 2013, Robert Skahill signed a contract with Metropolitan Properties & Development Inc. The contract called for him to buy the property from Metropolitan for $3.1 million.

Skahill was required to put down $50,000 as earnest money of which $5,000 was due on the signing of the contract and the remaining $45,000 to be paid following the Nov. 18 inspection.

He Skahill paid $5,000, but never paid the remaining $45,000 in earnest money.

Shortly afterward, Metropolitan’s lawyer wrote to Skahill’s lawyer terminating the contract because of Skahill’s failure to make the earnest money deposit. Skahill never responded, even after the letter was resent, this time including a threat of a lawsuit if Skahill did not release the $5,000 that had been due on execution of the contract.

However, on the original deposit day, Skahill had assigned the contract to Richard Parillo, who recorded it at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office, but did not notify Metropolitan that either he or Parillo was ready, willing and able to deliver the required $45,000 deposit.

Metropolitan filed suit against Skahill on Feb. 11, 2014. On Feb. 19, 2014, Metropolitan entered into a contract to sell the property to a third party with a closing set for May 29, 2014. Before the closing in May, Parillo filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking specific performance of contract asking the court to enforce the original agreement between Skahill and Metropolitan and allow him to pay $45,000 in earnest money to receive the property.

Because the filing of a lawsuit interfered with the scheduled closing in May 2014, Metropolitan filed an emergency motion to dismiss the complaint. The trial judge agreed finding that Parillo could not establish that he had performed as required by the contract, which demanded that he make the $50,000 payment by Nov. 18, 2013 and therefore, Parillo could not demand specific performance. Parillo appealed, but did not seek a stay or post a bond needed to stay the sale of the property. The property was sold.

On appeal, Metropolitan argued that Parillo’s appeal was moot. Parillo still sought specific performance, but because the property in question had already been sold, specific performance was not possible by Metropolitan and thus the court would be unable to grant the relief as requested.

The appeals panel agreed noting that Parillo would have been able to obtain a bond or stay if he had sought one, but that “in the absence of a stay, reversal of the judgement on appeal cannot affect the right, title or interest of any person who was not a party to the action.”

Because a third-party had already purchased the property and the sale closed after the dismissal of Parillo’s complaint was final, specific performance in a form of a conveyance of this property could not be granted. The only relief Parillo was after was that specific performance. Therefore, the appellate court dismissed the appeal as moot.

Richard Parillo v. Metropolitan Properties & Development, Inc.¸2015 IL App (1st) 1142307-U.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling civil litigation, real estate litigation, commercial litigation, probate litigation and catastrophic injury cases for individuals, families and businesses for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Naperville, Rosemont, Richton Park, River Grove, Mount Prospect, Winnetka, Wilmette, Skokie, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Chicago (Rogers Park, East Side, Garfield Park, Jefferson Park, Jackson Park, Hyde Park, Chatham, Hegewisch, Wicker Park), Flossmoor and Tinley Park, Ill.

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