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Amer. Nat'l Bk v. Chicago Title & Trust

OPINION FILED JULY 11, 1985.

AMERICAN NATIONAL BANK & TRUST COMPANY OF CHICAGO, TRUSTEE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

CHICAGO TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY, TRUSTEE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Richard L. Curry, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

American National Bank & Trust Company of Chicago (American National), as trustee of a certain land trust, and Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse of Cicero, Inc. (Burlington) (hereinafter collectively referred to as Burlington), appeal from the interlocutory order of the Cook County circuit court that denied Burlington's motion for a preliminary injunction against Chicago Title and Trust Company (Chicago Title), as trustee under a certain land trust, *fn1 and Century Tile and Supply Company (Century Tile). Burlington's motion sought to assert its alleged easement right to use of Century Tile's contiguous parking area by Burlington's employees and customers, which right Burlington claimed pursuant to an easement agreement between American National and Chicago Title. Burlington advances the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court committed reversible error in refusing to order that Century Tile remove concrete barriers erected by Century Tile in order to preclude use of Century Tile's parking areas by the employees and customers of Burlington, and (2) whether the trial court committed reversible error in refusing to permit Burlington to present extrinsic evidence to interpret the provisions of the easement agreement.

We affirm.

Burlington filed its complaint for injunctive relief against Chicago Title and Century Tile on November 5, 1984. In this pleading, Burlington alleged in pertinent part that American National and Chicago Title were legal titleholders of contiguous parcels of real property in the 8100 south block of Cicero Avenue in Chicago. Burlington further stated that on July 19, 1982, American National and Chicago Title entered into an agreement that provided for reciprocal easement rights for ingress, egress, and use of the parties' parking areas by the parties and their respective business invitees and licensees. Burlington included a copy of the agreement as an attachment to its pleading.

Burlington alleged that it was a tenant of a substantial portion of the premises of which American National was legal titleholder pursuant to a lease agreement with Gilbert Home Furnishings, Inc. (Gilbert), dated July 24, 1984. Burlington stated that Gilbert had leased the premises from American National pursuant to lease agreement dated December 14, 1982.

Burlington further stated that under its lease agreement with Gilbert, Burlington was granted the nonexclusive right to use all of the common areas of the premises, including its customer parking areas and driveways, and the right to enjoy and benefit from the reciprocal easements granted by the easement agreement. Burlington included copies of the "relevant pages" of the lease agreement between it and Gilbert as attachments to its pleading.

Burlington claimed that on November 1, 1984, Chicago Title and Century Tile caused a cinder-block barrier to be installed on the premises such that it blocked the principal driveway between the parking areas of the two stores and thereby eliminated free and unimpeded ingress and egress between them, obstructed traffic, and created a hazard to persons who lawfully entered, used, and exited the parking areas. Burlington alleged that the barriers were caused to be erected by Century Tile. Burlington contended that this conduct violated the terms of the easement agreement. Specifically, it alleged that paragraph 1 of the agreement provided reciprocal easements in that it stated:

"1. RECIPROCAL EASEMENTS. Each of [American National] and [Chicago Title] hereby grants to the other and their respective business invitees the right to use for parking, for continuous periods of not to exceed two (2) hours, of automobiles and other vehicles used for transporting persons over streets and highways, without charge, the parking areas located on each party's parcel of real estate as described above, as such parking areas are designed on [attached exhibits] hereto, and further, the right to use all entrances, exits, driveways and pedestrian walkways located on each parcel for ingress to and egress from each such parcel."

Burlington further claimed that the erection of the barrier contravened paragraph 2 of the agreement, which stated:

"2. MAINTENANCE OF EASEMENT AREAS. Each of [American National] and [Chicago Title] shall maintain and keep in good repair the parking areas, entrances, exits, driveways and pedestrian walkways situated on its parcel of real estate as described above and shall keep such areas stripped and free of snow, ice, rubbish, and except as otherwise provided in paragraph 4 below, free of obstructions of every nature, and shall maintain adequate drainage and lighting on and for said areas on their respective parcel. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph 4 below, the location and delineation of parking spaces, driveways and pedestrian walkways on each of the parcels shall remain substantially the same or comparable to that depicted on [attached exhibits]."

Burlington alleged in addition that paragraph 8 of the agreement provided that its terms would inure to the benefit of successors and assigns and that paragraph 7B of the agreement stated that upon breach of the agreement, the other party was entitled to injunctive relief to remedy that breach.

Based upon these allegations, Burlington requested orders that would temporarily, preliminarily, and permanently enjoin Century Tile and their agents, servants, or employees from constructing a barrier or otherwise obstructing the designated areas.

Century Tile's answer to the complaint denied in material substance most of the allegations of Burlington's pleadings, although Century Tile admitted that it had erected the barriers on October 31, 1984.

As affirmative matter, Century Tile stated that the easement agreement granted reciprocal parking, ingress, and egress only when the contiguous property was used in connection with the operation of the businesses of selling and servicing of home and other similar furnishings and fixtures. Century Tile claimed that because Burlington was not ...


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