APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
529 N.E.2d 43, 174 Ill. App. 3d 880, 124 Ill. Dec. 326 1988.IL.1452
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John S. Teschner, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE DUNN delivered the opinion of the court. INGLIS and NASH, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE DUNN
Petitioner, Dorothy Van Dahm, filed a petition against John Lotus Novak, the Du Page County Treasurer, pursuant to section 247a of the Revenue Act of 1939 (Revenue Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 120, par. 728a), seeking indemnity for losses she sustained by reason of the issuance of a tax deed relating to property petitioner had owned in joint tenancy with her then husband, Harold Van Dahm. The treasurer filed third-party complaints against Harold and against the tax purchaser, P. L. Myers. A default judgment was entered against Harold, but the circuit court of Du Page County granted summary judgment motions filed by the treasurer and Myers. Petitioner appeals, contending that whether she is entitled to relief under section 247 of the Revenue Act requires resolution of genuine issues of material fact so that entry of summary judgment was improper. We agree.
The parties stipulated to the following facts: Petitioner resides at 2217 Hainsworth Street, North Riverside, Illinois (the North Riverside residence). She has resided at that address for approximately 28 years. Although petitioner attended three years of high school, she is not a high school graduate. She did not attend college, and she has received no formal education beyond three years of high school. Petitioner has not attended classes or seminars relating to real estate, accounting, taxes and/or business law. For approximately 10 years, petitioner performed clerical duties for Central Scavenger Services, an enterprise operated by Harold, on a part-time basis.
The property in question here is an unimproved lot located in Oak Brook, Illinois (the premises), in which petitioner and Harold acquired a fee simple interest, in joint tenancy, during 1968. The premises was the only property they owned in Du Page County. Prior to December 5, 1979, neither petitioner nor Harold paid the first installment of the 1978 real estate taxes on the premises.
On December 5, 1979, the premises was sold for delinquent taxes pursuant to the Revenue Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 120, par. 719 et seq.). Third-party defendant, P. L. Myers, purchased the premises for $593 and was issued a certificate of sale. As of December 5, 1979, petitioner did not know that the 1978 taxes for the premises had not been paid or that the premises had been sold for delinquent taxes.
On April 1, 1980, a notice of sale of the premises was mailed to Harold and was received by him on April 7, 1980. Harold neither told petitioner that he received the notice of sale nor informed her that the premises had been sold for delinquent taxes.
On March 12, 1982, Myers filed a petition for deed relating to the premises. Subsequent to filing the petition for deed, Myers caused copies of notices to owners and occupants to be delivered to the Du Page County sheriff and the circuit court clerk, which were to be mailed to Harold and petitioner, in separate envelopes, at the North Riverside residence. Each office prepared an envelope with an attached return receipt bearing the typed notation "Dorothy M. Van Dahm" and another envelope with an attached return receipt bearing the typed notation "Harold Van Dahm." The notices were intended to advise petitioner that the premises had been sold for delinquent taxes, that the redemption period would expire July 5, 1982, and that the tax case was set for hearing on July 12, 1982. The aforesaid notice contains an entry "Property located at ." That entry was left blank on each notice.
Petitioner did not receive the notices and did not sign the return receipts relating to the above notices. Her signature on the return receipts was signed by Harold without petitioner's knowledge or consent. Petitioner never expressly authorized Harold to sign her name on the return receipts.
Prior to June 29, 1983, Harold never informed petitioner that he received the aforesaid notice or that he signed her name to the return receipts. Prior to June 29, 1983, petitioner had no knowledge of the notice to owners and occupants and/or the pendency of the tax case. Prior to June 29, 1983, petitioner never personally received a copy of the aforesaid notice to owners and occupants.
On July 12, 1982, a tax deed was issued conveying the premises to Myers. The tax deed was not procured by fraud on the part of Myers or the County of Du Page. The fair cash value of the property was $92,000 at that time, and an undivided one-half interest was worth $46,000. On March 24, 1983, Myers transferred title to the ...