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03/29/96 PURCELL & WARDROPE v. HERTZ CORPORATION

March 29, 1996

PURCELL & WARDROPE, CHARTERED, A CORPORATION, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE HERTZ CORPORATION, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE DOROTHY KIRIE KINNAIRD, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Presiding Justice Campbell delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley, J., and Braden, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell

PRESIDING JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court:

This case was brought by plaintiff Purcell & Wardrope, Chartered ("P & W"), on behalf of a nationwide class to recover security deposits and accrued interest on security deposits that defendant, the Hertz Corporation ("Hertz") required pursuant to the terms of its automobile lease contracts. P & W appeals orders of the circuit court of Cook County striking class allegations from its complaint against defendant Hertz Corporation ("Hertz") and entering judgment on its individual claim against Hertz in the amount of $1,026.12.

This appeal is related to proceedings occurring after this court's decision in Purcell and Wardrope Chartered v. Hertz Corp., 175 Ill. App. 3d 1069, 530 N.E.2d 994, 125 Ill. Dec. 585 (1988). Accordingly, only those facts necessary to the disposition of this appeal will be repeated here. As noted above, P & W sued Hertz, seeking to recover security deposits and accrued interest on security deposits. Hertz filed affirmative defenses and a counterclaim regarding alleged damages to the automobile P & W had leased.

The trial court denied class certification, finding that individual questions of fact and law predominated, and that P & W could not provide adequate representation for a class action because Hertz had raised several affirmative defenses and filed a counterclaim specific to P & W. The case was tried as an individual action under Illinois law. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Hertz on counts I and II of P & W's amended complaint and in favor of Hertz and against P & W on Hertz's counterclaim. The court, however, only awarded "nominal" damages to Hertz in the amount of six dollars. On count III of the amended complaint, judgment was entered in favor of P & W, and the court awarded P & W damages in the amount of $451.61.

On appeal, this court reversed and remanded, holding that: (1) the trial court erred in denying class certification; (2) Illinois law applied to the claims concerning Hertz's treatment of security deposits; (3) the lessee could not waive statutory requirement that security deposits be held in separate accounts and that accrued interest on deposits be paid to lessee upon termination of lease; and (4) the evidence did not support the nominal damage award to Hertz. (See Purcell and Wardrope Chartered v. Hertz Corp., 175 Ill. App. 3d 1069, 530 N.E.2d 994, 125 Ill. Dec. 585 (1988).) This court's opinion was filed on September 26, 1988, but was modified on the denial of a petition for rehearing by an opinion filed on November 21, 1988.

This court's mandate, issued on September 26, 1988, stated that:

"The judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County is REVERSED and the case is remanded with directions in accordance with the views expressed in the opinion of this Court."

Hertz filed a petition for leave to appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court, which denied the petition on April 5, 1989.

Thereafter, apparently in May 1989, P & W moved to reinstate the cause pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 369(c) (Sup. Ct. R. 369(c) (West 1992)) and to have the class certified. On June 1, 1989, the trial court entered an order reinstating the cause and granting P & W leave to submit a proposed certification order. P & W's proposed order sought to certify a class consisting of

"all persons throughout the United States of America who entered into automobile leases with the defendant who paid a security deposit to the defendant

(1) on whose security deposits no interest was paid or credited by the defendant, or

(2) whose security deposits were withheld by the defendant at the termination of the ...


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