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06/30/88 Landmark Properties, Inc., v. Architects International

June 30, 1988





526 N.E.2d 603, 172 Ill. App. 3d 379, 122 Ill. Dec. 344 1988.IL.1028

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Sophia H. Hall, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE MANNING delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.


Plaintiffs, Landmark Properties, Inc., and Sheffield Development Corporation, appeal from an order granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Architects International-Chicago, and an order requiring the parties to submit to arbitration. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

In June 1983, the plaintiffs, developers of property located at the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton known as the "Sanctuary Project," entered into an agreement with the defendant, an architectural firm, to provide services with regard to the project. In July 1983, the defendant sent a letter to the plaintiffs stating that the services required by plaintiffs to be performed on the project were not very well defined and recommended that they proceed on an hourly basis until plans were finalized.

Defendant, in October 1983, sent two copies of a form, owner/architect agreement prepared by the American Institute of Architects , to the plaintiffs requesting that they sign one copy and return it to the defendant. Defendant stated that the form, which contained a provision requiring arbitration of any disputes, could be amended. The plaintiffs never signed or returned the form. From October to December 1983, the defendant rendered services which were accepted by the plaintiffs. In December 1983, the plaintiffs accepted completed construction documents prepared by the defendant.

In January 1984, defendant sent a letter to plaintiffs regarding the total charges for services to be rendered by the defendant on phase II of the project and offered to draft an owner/architect agreement covering phase II. Plaintiffs orally accepted the fee arrangement. Three days later, defendant sent two copies of an AIA form and the owner/architect agreement for phase II to the plaintiffs, again requesting that they sign one and return it to the defendant. Plaintiffs neither signed the agreement nor returned it to the defendant.

Throughout this time, the defendant billed the plaintiffs for services rendered and plaintiffs continually promised that the payments would be forthcoming. In March 1984, plaintiffs sent a letter to the defendant promising that payment would be forthcoming provided all services were performed in accordance with the AIA contract.

Between April 1984 and December 1984, the defendant sent correspondence to the plaintiffs requesting payment and the parties engaged in various oral and written negotiations regarding the rate of interest due on the delinquent invoices.

Defendant, in December 1984, advised the plaintiffs that it intended to file a mechanic's lien against the Sanctuary Project property. In March 1985, defendant again threatened to file a mechanic's lien and a lawsuit if necessary.

Two months later, defendant filed a demand for arbitration against the plaintiffs with the American Arbitration Association . In June 1985, the plaintiffs requested a mediation conference prior to the commencement of arbitration. In September 1985, the AAA received a submission to mediation executed by plaintiffs' counsel indicating that the defendant's claim was for $113,375.55 plus interest and that the plaintiffs' counterclaim was for $225,000 plus interest. In November 1985, plaintiffs advised the AAA that they were withdrawing from mediation because they were not bound to arbitration.

Sometime in December 1985, the defendant advised the AAA that it intended to proceed with arbitration, and subsequently the AAA notified the parties that it would proceed with the arbitration hearing unless it was stayed by the courts. The day before the arbitration hearing, on February 18, 1986, plaintiffs filed a complaint and emergency motion in the circuit court seeking to block the arbitration proceeding. At that hearing, the defendant ...

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