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04/24/95 CSM INSURANCE BUILDING v. ANSVAR AMERICA

April 24, 1995

CSM INSURANCE BUILDING, LTD. AND LASALLE NATIONAL BANK, NOT INDIVIDUALLY, BUT AS TRUSTEE UNDER TRUST AGREEMENT DATED JULY 1, 1979 AND KNOWN AS TRUST NO. 101403, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
ANSVAR AMERICA INSURANCE CO., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE ODAS NICHOLSON, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Released for Publication May 26, 1995.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley and Braden, JJ, concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

The parties to this appeal have spent three years making motions and cross-motions in the trial court. Now we are asked to decide whether the plaintiff had standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place. The trial judge said it did not. We reverse that finding and remand this cause with directions to get on with it.

BACKGROUND

LaSalle National Bank (LaSalle) was the owner of the legal and equitable title to real estate located at 2775 West Algonquin Road in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. CSM Insurance Building, Ltd. (CSM), an Illinois general partnership, was the sole beneficiary of the land trust and is the plaintiff in this case.

On June 21, 1979, LaSalle, as lessor, entered into a ten-year lease agreement with the Central Security Mutual Insurance Company, Ansvar's predecessor in interest.

About one month later, on July 22, the Great-West Life. Assurance Company (Great-West) loaned CSM'S trust $1,125,000. The loan was evidence by a note and secured by a mortgage of the premises, an assignment of rents, and an assignment of leases.

At the end of ten years, on September 1, 1989, the lease expired and Ansvar moved out. In the following month, it became clear that CSM could not meet its mortgage obligation to Great-West. CSM was in default.

On February 23, 1990, Great-West filed a complaint for foreclosure of mortgage, specifying defaults of October 10, November 10, and December 10, 1989. The prayer for relief requested either possession of the property or the appointment of a receiver.

While that foreclosure action was pending, CSM filed its complaint against Ansvar on May 8, 1990. At that point, no judgment of foreclosure had been entered, no sheriff's sale had been conducted, and no deed had been issued to Great-West. Great-West did not ask for or obtain a deficiency judgment against CSM.

In its first complaint against Ansvar, CSM alleged that Ansvar failed to maintain the property properly, ultimately leaving the premises in such a deteriorated, unmaintained, and damaged condition that the property could not be relet or sold. That behavior, said CSM, violated the lease.

PROCEEDINGS IN TRIAL COURT

To reflect the flavor of proceedings in the trial court, we summarize the events that followed the filing of CSM's complaint:

7/13/90 Ansvar filed a motion to strike or dismiss the complaint pursuant to section 2-615 based upon improperly computed damages.

07/19/90 Judgment of foreclosure entered in the Great-West law-suit.

09/12/90 Sheriff's sale of premises to Great-West. The premises were purchased for $530,000 by Great-West, creating a deficiency of $680,106.40. No deficiency judgment was entered or requested.

09/13/90 Sheriff's report of sale and distribution to Great-West ...


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