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02/25/88 Lucille Parker, v. Francine Lent Et Al.

February 25, 1988

LUCILLE PARKER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

FRANCINE LENT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

520 N.E.2d 1035, 167 Ill. App. 3d 27, 117 Ill. Dec. 684 1988.IL.259

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Edwin M. Berman, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCMORROW

Plaintiff Lucille Parker (Parker) appeals from the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants Francine and Larry Lent (the Lents). Parker's complaint against the Lents alleged that the Lents negligently caused Parker to be arrested and detained by the police on the basis of an improperly issued order of attachment for contempt.

We affirm.

Background

The following summarizes the relevant facts stated in Parker's complaint, the Lents' answer thereto, and affidavits presented by the Lents in support of their motion for summary judgment.

In 1979, the Lents obtained a money judgment against Parker. Thereafter, in an effort to collect this debt, the Lents pursued citation proceedings and obtained the issuance of several rules to show cause for contempt against Parker. Subsequently, in good-faith reliance and upon return of service of the rules to show cause which indicated that Parker had been served therewith, and pursuant to the trial court Judge's direction when Parker had repeatedly failed to appear at the hearings on the rules to show cause, the Lents caused to be issued an attachment for contempt upon Parker. Parker was arrested and detained overnight at a police station and released by court order the following day. According to her complaint, she was never served with any rule to show cause issued with respect to the Lents' citation proceedings. However, Parker admitted that she knew a rule to show cause had been issued and a hearing scheduled with regard to that rule.

Parker filed a negligence and intentional tort action against the Lents, seeking damages for the Lents' alleged negligent use of and malicious abuse of judicial process and the judicial system. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the Lents, and Parker appeals.

Opinion

Summary judgment is proper where the parties' pleadings and affidavits reveal that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1005; Certified Mechanical Contractors, Inc. v. Wight & Co. (1987), 162 Ill. App. 3d 391, 515 N.E.2d 1047.) Based upon this standard and a review of the relevant documents of record, we determine that the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the Lents was appropriate.

Lent's affidavit stands uncontradicted that he caused to be issued an attachment for contempt in reliance upon the trial court Judge's direction that he file the necessary documents to obtain such attachment; it is also uncontroverted that return of service of the rules to show cause indicates that Parker had been served with said rules. Parker acknowledged to the trial court, and recognizes in her brief upon review, that the Lents' conduct was not motivated by malice, bad faith, or an ulterior motive. As a result, Parker cannot base her claim upon the legal principles of abuse of process or malicious prosecution. See, e.g., ...


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