Appeal from the Circuit Court of Clinton County. No. 92-L-45. Honorable Dennis E. Middendorff, Judge Presiding. This Opinion Substituted on Denial of Rehearing for Vacated Opinion of May 3, 1994, Previously
Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied February 1, 1995.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chapman
This cause coming to be considered on petition for rehearing of plaintiff-appellee, and the court being advised in the premises;
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the opinion of this court entered on May 3, 1994, shall be, and the same hereby is, VACATED AND HELD FOR NAUGHT.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the opinion entered on this date shall stand as, and the same hereby is, the court's decision in this cause.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the petition for rehearing shall be, and the same hereby is, DENIED.
JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
Deien Chevrolet, Inc. (plaintiff), brought this action against the Reynolds and Reynolds Company (Reynolds) and John M. Lee, II, an employee of Reynolds, for fraud in inducing plaintiff to lease a computer system from Reynolds and for forgery. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and to compel arbitration, alleging that the parties had agreed to arbitrate any contract disputes. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendants contend that thetrial court's denial of their motion to compel arbitration was not sufficiently supported by the evidence. We reverse.
Plaintiff is an automobile dealership located in Trenton, Illinois. In December 1990, Melvin Deien, the president and owner of Deien Chevrolet, Inc., entered into negotiations with Reynolds to lease a computer system for plaintiff's business. On December 19, 1990, the parties signed a contract, "The Reynolds' Master Equipment Sales, License and Services Agreement" (Master Agreement).
Deien admitted signing a copy of the Master Agreement on December 19, 1990; however, he denied signing the particular contract that was produced by the defendants at his deposition. Mr. Deien also admitted that he signed an "Equipment Lease Agreement" with Reyna Financial Corporation, Reynolds' affiliate, and paid Reynolds an initial payment of $871.16.
The Master Agreement contained an arbitration clause which provided, in pertinent part:
"All disputes between Customer and Reynolds, except those involving: A) Reynolds' ownership of and title to the Licensed Software and Materials and B) Customer's failure to pay any amount due to Reynolds, arising from or related to this Agreement or the Exhibits, shall be conducted by one arbitrator under the ...