Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Real Estate Title Question with Divided Properties; Stephanie Cutter and Jordan Mummer v. Michael A. Plowman

Deutsche Bank National Trust filed a lawsuit against Michael Plowman in 2010 to quiet title for a property located on Chicago’s North Side. The lawsuit alleged that Deutsche bank acquired title to the property by a foreclosure. The complaint also alleged that the property had been improved by the construction of a two-story house. 

In addition, it was stated in the complaint that Plowman owned an adjacent property that was also improved with a residence. The two structures were connected by a one-story structure spanning the boundary of the two properties. 

The lawsuit stated that Plowman had taken possession to control the double property. Plowman’s possession blocked Deutsche’s bank access to the property. There was also a dispute as to where the property line between the properties was located.

The plaintiffs, Stephanie Cutter and Jordan Mummer, were allowed to substitute for Deutsche Bank as they had purchased the foreclosed property. Cutter and Mummer amended their complaint and asked Plowman to leave the connecting residence and quiet title to the property they received from Deutsche Bank.

Plowman answered the amended complaint stating that the connecting structure had been assessed as part of his property for property taxes since 2005. The plaintiffs then filed a motion for summary judgment.The trial judge granted the motion finding that Cutter and Mummer owned the entirety of the disputed portion of the lot. The court ordered Plowman to remove himself and surrender the portion of the lot described in the trial judge’s decision. Plowman appealed.

Plowman maintained that the trial judge was wrong in granting summary judgment against him because the plaintiffs were not in possession of the adjoining structure, and the prior owner of both properties may have an interest in the property.

Plowman contended that without possession of the disputed property, a quiet title action was improper.

The appellate court, citing McGookey v. Winter, stated that when an action to quiet title is secondary to another purpose, it is not necessary for a plaintiff to show possession of a disputed property.The purpose of the amended complaint was to remove Plowman from the property with a secondary claim to quiet title. 

The Illinois Appellate Court rejected  Plowman’s remaining arguments, noting that the record from the proceedings below were incomplete. Therefore, the granting of summary judgment by the trial judge was affirmed.

Stephanie Cutter and Jordan Mummer v. Michael A. Plowman, 2013 IL App. (1st) 120630-U.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling real estate dispute matters, commercial litigation and real estate transactions for individuals and businesses for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Morton Grove, Highland Park, Park Ridge, Chicago (Edison Park), Prospect Heights, Evanston, Wilmette, Glenview, Berkley, Chicago (Lake Calumet), Palos Heights and Willowbrook, Ill.

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