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Zeunert v. Quail Ridge Partnership





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR A. SULLIVAN, JR., Judge, presiding.


This appeal involves one aspect of litigation brought by David Zeunert, individually, and doing business as David Zeunert and Associates (plaintiff), against Quail Ridge Partnership, a partnership, Curtis Brink, Paul E. Magnuson, Thomas J. Ellefson and Raymond Dryer, doing business as Quail Ridge Partnership (defendants). Plaintiff seeks reversal of an order quashing personal service of summons in the State of Wisconsin upon the defendants Thomas J. Ellefson and Paul E. Magnuson. No brief has been filed in this court by defendant Magnuson.

Plaintiff is an architect doing business in Illinois. In count I of plaintiff's complaint, against all of the defendants, plaintiff alleged the four named individuals were partners doing business as Quail Ridge Partnership. It is alleged plaintiff met with three of the defendants in Wisconsin about March 20, 1979. Defendants represented that the partnership had purchased Wisconsin land for development of a Federally funded housing project. The defendants informed plaintiff they desired to employ him as architect for the entire project. Defendants agreed to follow Federal guidelines for plaintiff's fees.

Plaintiff also alleged that about May 21, 1979, plaintiff met with defendant Curtis Brink in plaintiff's office in Chicago. Plaintiff was "informed by Brink to proceed with" the project. About May 30, 1979, plaintiff "contacted" defendant Magnuson. Plaintiff was told the project was not proceeding and plaintiff should bill defendants for his services to date. The complaint prayed damages of $44,736 for architectural services.

The pertinent facts appear from the motions and the affidavits filed by defendants Ellefson and Magnuson in support of their motions to quash service of summons and responses thereto together with affidavits filed by plaintiff.

Ellefson stated under oath that he has been a resident of Wisconsin for 31 years. He met with plaintiff in Wisconsin on March 20, 1979. He had no other or further contact with plaintiff. The meeting concerned a housing project in Wisconsin. Ellefson entered into no agreement with plaintiff and never agreed to pay plaintiff for services. Ellefson had no prior or subsequent contact with plaintiff. Ellefson had no contact or correspondence with plaintiff in Illinois. Ellefson also stated he was never a partner and was never involved in Quail Ridge Partnership.

Defendant Magnuson stated under oath he was in his office in Wisconsin in late February or early March 1979. Plaintiff called him there and asked about a proposed housing project in Wisconsin. Magnuson met with plaintiff in Wisconsin on March 20, 1979, and again on April 30, 1979. Magnuson received one telephone call in Wisconsin from plaintiff after April 30, 1979. He entered into no written or verbal agreement with plaintiff and never agreed to pay plaintiff for services. Magnuson never sent or received correspondence from plaintiff other than proposed copies of minutes of the meeting held in Wisconsin on March 20, 1979. Magnuson is not a resident of Illinois, never made agreements in Illinois and never conducted business in Illinois. He never was a partner in Quail Ridge Partnership and no partnership was ever established regarding the proposed housing project in Wisconsin.

Plaintiff filed an affidavit in which he stated he met with Brink, Magnuson and Ellefson on March 20, 1979, in Wisconsin. He told them he was a licensed architect and exhibited some of his work. The three defendants told him they were partners who owned land in Wisconsin. They wished to employ plaintiff's services as an architect for a housing project. The name of their partnership was Quail Ridge Partnership. Another meeting in Wisconsin was held on April 23, 1979, with defendants Brink and Magnuson. Both "indicated" to plaintiff that they were accepting the work plaintiff had done. Plaintiff also met at his offices in Illinois with defendant Brink. Brink did not deny existence of the partnership. Brink "indicated" that "he was accepting the work" plaintiff had performed "for the partnership." Brink told plaintiff the fees would be paid.

Plaintiff also stated about May 30, 1979, he called Magnuson who told him the partnership had given up the option on the land and he should bill the partnership for work to date. All work by plaintiff, such as on drawings or plans, was performed in plaintiff's office in Chicago.

An additional affidavit was filed by defendant Ellefson. This affidavit included a copy of proposed minutes of the Wisconsin meeting held March 20, 1979, prepared by plaintiff, unsigned by any of the parties. It appeared from these proposed minutes that plaintiff stated a retainer would necessarily be negotiated regarding payment for his services. The affidavit states no retainer was ever agreed upon and no other agreement was reached. Defendant Ellefson never entered into any partnership agreement with any of the other defendants.

This appeal involves only the order entered by the trial judge on May 28, 1980, quashing service and dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction as regards defendants Ellefson and Magnuson and a subsequent order denying the motion of plaintiff to vacate and reconsider this order.

Discussion of the legal problems created by these facts must commence from examination of the pertinent statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 110, par. 17):

"(1) Any person, whether or not a citizen or resident of this State, who in person or through an agent does any of the acts hereinafter enumerated, thereby submits such person, and, if an individual, his personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts> of this State ...

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