Before considering the merits of plaintiff's petition for relief under section 2 -- 1401, we must first determine whether her petition was timely. Section 2 -- 1401 offers relief from final orders and judgments after 30 days from the entry thereof, but provides, in part:
508 N.E.2d 1229, 156 Ill. App. 3d 70, 108 Ill. Dec. 652 1987.IL.718
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Carroll County; the Hon. John W. Rapp, Jr., Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE NASH delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and INGLIS, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE NASH
In separate appeals, which we have consolidated for opinion, plaintiff, Virginia J. Elliott, seeks reversal of judgments entered in the circuit court in favor of defendant Dean L. Johnson, who acquired plaintiff's real estate by a tax deed.
Circuit court cause No. 86 CH 5 was a suit to quiet title to her property brought by plaintiff in which she sought to have a tax deed issued to defendant by the county clerk of Carroll County to be declared void. Defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint was granted as an improper collateral attack upon the judgment directing issuance of the tax deed. Circuit court cause No. 78-TX-1-16 was a petition for relief from judgment brought by plaintiff pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Civil Practice Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401) which the trial court dismissed on motion of defendant as untimely. Both actions are directed to the same real estate and tax deed to it issued to defendant.
Facts common to both actions are that the subject real estate, which plaintiff owned and in which she resided with her daughter, was sold for $330.84 at the annual tax sale held in Carroll County on November 13, 1978, for unpaid general taxes for the 1977 tax year. The purchaser, E & D Investments, was issued a tax certificate, which it subsequently assigned to defendant. Thereafter, on July 21, 1981, defendant filed a petition for a tax deed in cause No. 78-TX-1-16 in which he alleged that the subject property had not been redeemed from the tax sale and that he had given all notices required by law (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, par. 744). The petition prayed that should the real estate not be redeemed from the sale by November 13, 1981, when the time for redemption would expire, that an order for issuance of a tax deed be entered.
On December 4, 1981, at a hearing before the circuit court, defendant's attorney represented that all notices required by law had been given (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, pars. 744, 747) and filed with the court. Copies of such notices and publications made, together with proof of service upon plaintiff and other interested parties, are in the record of this case. The trial court entered an order on December 21, 1981, for issuance of a tax deed in which it found that the court had jurisdiction of the subject matter and all interested parties. It further found that the time for redemption from the tax sale had expired without redemption; that all taxes and assessments subsequent to that sale had been paid; that all notices required in such proceedings by the Revenue Act of 1939 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, pars. 744, 747) had been given in the manner required by law; and that petitioner had complied with all the provisions of law entitling him to a deed. The tax deed was thereafter issued to defendant by the county clerk on November 10, 1982.
Plaintiff did not appear either personally or by counsel at any stage of the tax deed proceedings prior to entry of the judgment on December 21, 1981, directing issuance of the tax deed.
Subsequently, on March 19, 1986, plaintiff commenced her action to quiet title (No. 86 CH 5) and on April 7, 1986, filed a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Civil Practice Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401) in the tax proceedings (No. 78-TX-1-16). By orders entered in these separate cases on June 10, 1986, the trial court dismissed each of them with prejudice, and these appeals followed.
In count I of her complaint, plaintiff essentially alleged that there was an invalid extension of the time for redemption made in the tax deed proceeding in that the subject real estate was erroneously described as being upon the north side of Bowen Street rather than upon the south side of the street. Plaintiff alleged that, as a result, the tax deed was not filed in a timely manner and was void, constituting a cloud upon plaintiff's title. In count II, plaintiff sought relief on due process grounds premised upon the alleged mislocation of her property in the notice served upon her in the proceedings. In count III, plaintiff sought relief on general equitable grounds alleging she did not receive actual notice of a tax delinquency and the notice served mislocated the property.
The trial court dismissed plaintiff's complaint in this action on defendant's motion as an improper collateral attack upon the judgment of the trial court issuing the tax deed. We agree. Section 266 of the Revenue Act (Ill. ...