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02/05/87 Meeker-Magner Company, v. Globe Life Insurance

February 5, 1987

MEEKER-MAGNER COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

GLOBE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

504 N.E.2d 854, 152 Ill. App. 3d 534, 105 Ill. Dec. 569 1987.IL.128

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

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JOHNSON and JIGANTI, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

Plaintiff, Meeker-Magner Company (Meeker-Magner), brings this appeal seeking reversal of a trial court's order dismissing counts I and III of its three-count complaint. *fn1 Meeker-Magner filed its complaint after defendant Globe Life Insurance Company (Globe) served Meeker-Magner with notice that a lease between Meeker-Magner and Globe was terminated.

In count I of its complaint, Meeker-Magner seeks recision of the lease that it entered into with Globe. In count III, Meeker-Magner alleges that Globe breached the lease by terminating it and that as a result, Globe is obligated by the lease to pay Meeker-Magner $100,000 in stipulated damages.

Globe moved to dismiss counts I and III of Meeker-Magner's complaint contending that paragraph 18(e) of the lease permits Globe to terminate the lease if Globe enters into a land sale contract to sell the building in which Meeker-Magner rented office space.

Following a hearing on the matter, the trial court agreed with Globe finding that Globe was acting within its rights under paragraph 18(e) when it terminated the lease. Accordingly, the trial court dismissed counts I and III of Meeker-Magner's complaint.

Meeker-Magner now brings this appeal asserting: (1) that the language of the lease is ambiguous and that resort to the rules of contract construction establishes that Meeker-Magner is entitled to $100,000 for Globe's termination of the lease, and/or (2) that Globe's failure to pay Meeker-Magner the $100,000 in stipulated damages constitutes substantial nonperformance of the lease by Globe thereby entitling Meeker-Magner to recision of the lease.

We affirm.

Background

This appeal is before us following the trial court's ruling that counts I and III of Meeker-Magner's complaint fail to state a cause of action under Illinois law. Accordingly, we must accept as true all of the well-pleaded allegations in counts I and III and must draw all reasonable inferences in Meeker-Magner's favor. Horwath v. Parker (1979), 72 Ill. App. 3d 128, 390 N.E.2d 72.

Meeker-Magner's complaint reveals that on September 2, 1980, Globe and Meeker-Magner executed the lease at issue in this appeal. The subject of the lease was a building located at 222 South Prospect Avenue in Park Ridge, Illinois. The lease's term lasted for five years from September 2, 1980, to ...


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