Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Trial Judge’s Dismissal in Real Estate Deal Gone Bad

In 2011, Gloria Won intended to purchase a residence from Grant Park 2 LLC. Since the deal she anticipated fell apart, Won filed a breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against Grant Park 2. In that suit, Won alleged that Grant Park 2 chose not to meet the contractual closing date and willfully intended to deprive her of the return of her earnest money deposit that she gave for the intended purchase.  In responding to the lawsuit, Grant Park 2 filed an answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaims.

In August 2011, Won filed a motion for summary judgment.  The motion was denied by the court, which found that there were issues of fact existing regarding an oral agreement that would have extended the closing date.  However, after hearings discussing the issue of fact in the case, Won refiled her motion for summary judgment again in January 2012.  Grant Park 2 filed a cross-motion for summary judgment in response. 

On Jan. 19, 2012, a hearing was held and the trial judge granted Won’s motion, entering judgment in her favor for more than $60,000 in damages.  On Feb. 16, 2012, Grant Park 2 moved to reconsider and reverse the summary judgment order.  As a result of that filing, on Feb. 29, 2012, the trial judge entered a briefing schedule that ordered Grant Park 2 to file its reply brief by April 4, 2012 and provide all relevant documents at the clerk’s status call on April 5.  On April 4, 2012, Grant Park 2 failed to file its reply brief. 

On April 5, 2012, Grant Park 2’s representative did not appear at the clerk’s status call.  At that point, the court struck Grant Park 2’s motion to reconsider.  On April 6, 2012, Grant Park 2 filed its reply brief, two days late.

On May 4, 2012, Grant Park 2 moved to set a hearing date for its motion to reconsider.  The trial judge set a briefing schedule on that motion on May 16 and on May 25 Won responded, arguing that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to consider Grant Park 2’s motion. 

Won argued that Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(a)(1) was the authority to support Won’s argument that Grant Park 2 and the trial court lost jurisdiction 30 days after the April 5 decision was entered.  Grant Park 2 responded by saying that the May 4 motion to reconsider was timely as it was filed within 30 days of the April 5 decision.

Won argued that the May 4 motion was not a motion to strike and that only a motion to strike stopped the 30-day period from ending the trial court’s jurisdiction.

Over Won’s objection, the trial judge held a hearing on Grant Park 2’s May 4 motion to reconsider and ultimately denied it.  On Aug. 24, Grant Park 2 appealed.  The appellate court was unsympathetic. Grant Park 2 argued that Grant Park 2’s May 4 motion was essentially a motion to strike, but the appellate court felt differently.  The appellate court noted that Grant Park 2’s counsel had stated that until May 18, he was unaware of the April 5 order.

The court also stated that Grant Park 2 had been made aware of the consequences of failing to meet the deadlines on the Feb. 29 briefing schedule. One judge specially concurred, stating that the April 5 order may be ambiguous and so could be understood as not a motion requiring striking. 

Another justice specially concurring stated that there was an assumption of a final determination. Because there were no transcripts of the proceedings that were provided, the justice concluded that it was impossible to determine the precise intent of the April 5 order and also stated that, lacking such a transcript, she concurred with the majority of the Illinois Appellate Court justices. The opinion was written by Justice Bertina E. Lampkin.

Gloria Won v. Grant Park 2, LLC, No. 2013 IL App. (1st) 122523 (Dec. 13, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling real estate litigation, business litigation and trial work for individuals, families and businesses for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Aurora, Naperville, Lockport, Lincolnshire, Chicago (Logan Square, Wicker Park, Hegewisch, East Side, Little Italy), Des Plaines, Warrenville and Prospect Heights, Ill.

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