APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
and GEORGE S. HALAS, JR., Respondent-Appellee. --
THERESE M. HALAS, Petitioner-Appellant, v.
A. GERSON MILLER, Ex'r of the Estate of George S. Halas,
Jr., Decedent, et al., Respondents-Appellees
527 N.E.2d 474, 173 Ill. App. 3d 218, 123 Ill. Dec. 11 1988.IL.1113
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Samuel S. Berger, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE QUINLAN
On March 10, 1981, the petitioner, Therese M. Halas, brought a petition to vacate and modify a consent decree and property settlement agreement regarding the dissolution of her marriage to George S. Halas, Jr., now deceased. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401 (formerly section 72 of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 110, par. 72)).) The original consent decree for dissolution was entered in the circuit court of Cook County on January 17, 1975. The respondent to the petition, A. Gerson Miller, executor of the estate of George Halas, Jr., moved for summary judgment and the trial court granted that motion. Petitioner now appeals.
Petitioner and George Halas, Jr., were married on April 20, 1963, and had two children, Christine and Steven. Petitioner, represented by counsel, filed for divorce on January 4, 1974, and on January 17, 1975, the marriage was dissolved pursuant to a consent decree. The consent decree incorporated a negotiated settlement agreement between the parties. This agreement was based on financial information from the decedent, which had not been obtained through formal discovery procedures, but consisted of a 1972 IRS valuation of the stock of the Chicago Bears, a list of assets handwritten by the respondent, and other oral representations made to the petitioner by the decedent regarding his net worth. Pursuant to the agreement, which was entered by the court on the consent of both parties, petitioner received certain sums of money for herself and her children.
Petitioner's attorney in the divorce proceeding had advised her not to rely on the representations and the figures provided to her by the decedent, because, he told her, they were incomplete and most likely inaccurate. Petitioner's attorney then advised her not to enter into the agreement for these reasons. Nevertheless, petitioner voluntarily signed the agreement without requesting additional information which could have been obtained through discovery, because she said she wanted to end the matter quickly, she was not concerned with the money aspect of the divorce, she was in poor health, and she did not want financial information concerning her husband and the Chicago Bears football club to become public. After the divorce and entry of the agreement, the decedent subsequently remarried and in December 1979, he died.
After her ex-husband's death, petitioner filed a petition to vacate and modify the terms of the settlement agreement. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2 -- 1401.) The petition was based on the asserted fraudulent misrepresentations of the decedent concerning his true net worth when the settlement agreement was negotiated.
The trial court, on respondent's motion, dismissed the petition without leave to amend. Petitioner appealed the trial court's ruling on this issue and on certain other issues as well to the appellate court. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the petition for lack of allegations of fact, but reversed the trial court's denial of leave to amend and remanded the case with directions to allow the petitioner to amend her petition. ( Halas v. Executor of Estate of Halas (1983), 112 Ill. App. 3d 940, 445 N.E.2d 1264.) Although an appeal was taken, the Illinois Supreme Court did not ...