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12/14/87 Betty Sander Harvey, A/K/A v. Donald R. Brewer Et Al.

December 14, 1987

BETTY SANDER HARVEY, A/K/A DAVIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

DONALD R. BREWER ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

519 N.E.2d 939, 166 Ill. App. 3d 253, 116 Ill. Dec. 724 1987.IL.1842

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Myron L. Gomberg and the Hon. Edwin M. Berman, Judges, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN, P.J., and BUCKLEY, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

Plaintiff, Betty Sander Harvey, pro se, appeals from orders entered by the circuit court of Cook County granting (a) defendants', Donald R. Brewer and the law firm of Drobny, Goode, Douglas & Brewer's, motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint, amended complaint and second amended complaint, (b) granting summary judgment to defendants on one count, and (c) denying plaintiff's motions for a change of venue.

On appeal, plaintiff contends that the trial court committed the following errors: (1) it improperly dismissed all three of her complaints; (2) it improperly granted defendants summary judgment; and (3) it improperly denied her motions for a change of venue. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

This pro se appeal is plaintiff's sixth appeal arising out of her dissatisfaction with the handling of her deceased father's estate after his death in 1970. *fn1 The present defendants were the fifth set of attorneys plaintiff had retained to represent her in the matters of the probate of her father's estate and the alleged malpractice of her prior attorneys. The present suit is also based on alleged legal malpractice.

On January 16, 1970, plaintiff's father, Ernest J. Sander (Sander), died. His will was admitted to probate in Indiana on June 15, 1970, and in Illinois on August 21, 1970. Sander's will gave the residue of his estate to Chicago National Bank, which subsequent to his death merged with Harris Trust & Savings Bank (Harris). On May 6, 1970, Harris renounced its appointment as executor and declined to act as trustee.

On August 8, 1971, the following parties entered into a settlement agreement; plaintiff, her stepmother, Emma Sander (Emma), and plaintiff's sister, Marjorie Sander. The three women were the sole legatees of Sander's estate. The agreement was reached in order to resolve disputes over Emma's administration of the estate. The agreement included a provision that the women would sue Harris for damages sustained by the estate.

On May 28, 1976, the probate court approved an amended final account of Sander's estate. Plaintiff retained attorney Stephen Carponelli sometime in 1976, and apparently he filed a notice of appeal of the May 28 order which was never perfected. He also filed suit against Harris sometime in 1976, and he withdrew as plaintiff's attorney on July 9, 1976.

On October 15, 1976, plaintiff's complaint against Harris was dismissed with prejudice. Thereafter, on October 28, 1976, plaintiff filed a pro se motion to vacate the probate court's final order of May 28, and on November 12, 1976, she filed another complaint against Harris. On November 24, 1976, her motion to vacate the May 28 order was denied.

On December 4, 1976, plaintiff spoke to the defendant Brewer with regard to his firm's representing her in certain lawsuits. The parties signed a contract on December 24, 1976, and three days later, on December 27, 1976, defendants filed an appeal from the probate court's order of November 24 denying plaintiff's motion to vacate. Thereafter, defendants examined the probate file and determined that plaintiff had filed an untimely appeal from the probate court's order of May 28 approving the final accounting of Sander's estate; that plaintiff's allegations concerning the adequacy of the final accounting were groundless; and that all substantive matters had been decided on May 28, not November 24.

On June 22, 1977, the trial court dismissed plaintiff's second suit against Harris, which she had filed pro se on November 12, 1976, finding it to be time barred by a five-year statute of limitations. Brewer filed a motion to vacate the dismissal and a motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The motions were denied ...


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