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10/29/87 Gregory Stone, v. Phil Brown Et Al.

October 29, 1987

GREGORY STONE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

PHIL BROWN ET AL., AS TRUSTEES, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES AND THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS (JOHN P. PEARL, INDIV. AND AS TRUSTEE, THIRD-PARTY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT

515 N.E.2d 384, 162 Ill. App. 3d 405, 113 Ill. Dec. 575 1987.IL.1607

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. Richard E. Eagleton, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE SCOTT delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and STOUDER, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SCOTT

This action was initially brought by plaintiff-appellant (Stone) to recover a brokerage commission occasioned by the sale of property from defendants-appellees and third-party plaintiffs-appellants (Brown) to third-party defendant-appellee (Pearl). Brown filed a third-party complaint against Pearl, based on an indemnification clause in a contract between them wherein Pearl agreed to pay any brokerage commission owed as a result of the sale. Pearl counterclaimed against Brown alleging that Brown fraudulently induced Pearl to sign the contract containing the indemnification agreement.

The trial court granted Brown's motion for a directed verdict at the close of Stone's evidence and proceeded to try Pearl's counterclaim against Brown. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Pearl and awarded Pearl $13,282.50 as compensatory damages and $50,000 as punitive damages upon which judgment was entered.

Stone filed this appeal from the judgment based on the directed verdict against him and Brown appealed the judgment in favor of Pearl on the counterclaim. Both appeals have been consolidated in this court. No questions were raised on the pleadings.

As to Stone's appeal of the directed verdict, we note that Stone claims his commission arose as the result of an oral contract between the parties or on the theory of quantum meruit. The theories are premised on the following facts.

In 1976, David Brown, Philip Brown and Robert Brown purchased a three-acre tract of land situated in Pioneer Industrial Park, Peoria, Illinois. Legal title to the property was taken by Robert Brown as trustee for the benefit of himself and his two brothers. In 1980 or 1981 it was determined that the Pioneer Park property was no longer needed and a sign was placed on the property advertising it for sale.

On November 10, 1983, Philip Brown sent a letter to Stone, stating:

"We are interested in selling this [Pioneer Park] property at $2.25 a square foot. Because we have a couple of things in the fire, we cannot list this property at the moment. However, if you have any interested parties, we would be willing to pay the normal 10% commission if you found a buyer."

After receiving the letter from Brown, Stone made relevant inquiries to determine the zoning, utilities and other pertinent information regarding the property and maintained a file on the property. Stone testified that from November 10, 1983, to April of 1984 he represented the property to various other commercial enterprises for development of retail establishments.

On April 25, 1984, Stone received a telephone call from Wayne Baum, president of Diversified Buildings, Incorporated, inquiring as to the availability of commercial sites in the Peoria area for the purpose of a car dealership. Stone testified that Baum indicated that he was working with Peoria Toyota-Volvo. Stone told Baum about three possible sites available and that of the three, the Brown property was most desirable for a car dealership. That same day, Stone contacted Brown inquiring as to whether the subject property was still for ...


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