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04/20/89 Lee A. Copalman Et Al., v. Thomas R. Frawley Et Al.

April 20, 1989

LEE A. COPALMAN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES

v.

THOMAS R. FRAWLEY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

538 N.E.2d 630, 182 Ill. App. 3d 821, 131 Ill. Dec. 255 1989.IL.562

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Roger J. Kiley, Jr., Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and McMORROW, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

Plaintiffs, Lee and Sheila Copalman, filed a mortgage foreclosure action against defendants Thomas and Mildred Frawley and others. The Frawleys admitted liability as to principal and interest accruing after the default but contested the amount of costs and attorney fees that the Copalmans claimed. On October 7, 1986, four months after the default, the Frawleys tendered a cashier's check "in satisfaction" of the principal and interest then due. Because the parties could not resolve the dispute over attorney fees, the Copalmans filed suit for the recovery of fees, costs and additional interest. After a trial on those issues, the court awarded the Copalmans an amount that included $5,000 in attorney fees and $3,622.32 in interest due on the principal balance. The Frawleys appeal, contending that the court's award of interest is erroneous because their tender of the cashier's check stopped accrual of further interest; that the award of attorney fees is excessive; and that the trial court's order barring certain evidence involving another matter is reversible error.

We affirm the trial court.

Background

The Copalmans loaned money to the Frawleys and Richard Brandstatter, taking back second mortgages secured by notes on three properties in Northbrook, Illinois. The total amount of the mortgages, dated June 20, 1985, was $25,000.

The closing on the properties took place in June 1985 and payment on the mortgages was due on June 20, 1986. No payment was made on that date.

In July 1986, the Copalmans' attorney Michael Pildes, wrote defendants a letter concerning the default.

In August 1986 Pildes spoke with an attorney from the office of James A. Blazina, Chtd., who represented the defendants. On August 5, 1986, Peter Ross from Blazina's office wrote a letter asking Pildes to take no further action until Frawley could discuss the matter with Copalman. On August 11 Frawley admitted to Copalman that he owed the $25,000 principal plus interest and that he wanted to resolve the matter without the attorneys because they had a personality clash. He told Copalman that the funds for payment of the principal and interest were readily available. Frawley said he did not want to go through Pildes, however.

On August 15, 1986, James Blazina, Frawley's attorney, told Pildes that Frawley would pay the principal and interest due but that Frawley preferred discussing the matter directly with Copalman. He suggested that Pildes give Frawley and Copalman time to reach a compromise.

On August 18 Pildes spoke with his clients and they decided that if payment was not forthcoming in a short time, Pildes would go ahead and prepare ...


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