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King v. Ashbrook

June 12, 2000

PAMELA M. KING AND MARK KING, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
V.
JOHN ASHBROOK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from Circuit Court of Coles County No. 98SC1299 Honorable Teresa K. Righter, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

In August 1998, plaintiff, Pamela M. King, sued defendant, John Ashbrook, for alleged damages she incurred from the purchase of defendant's home. In November 1998, plaintiff's husband, Mark King, was added as a party plaintiff. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered judgment for plaintiffs.

Defendant appeals, arguing (1) the statute of limitations of the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act (Disclosure Act) (765 ILCS 77/60 (West 1998)) applied to the present case, (2) evidence at trial failed to prove liability under the Disclosure Act, (3) evidence did not establish a breach of contract, and (4) the evidence at trial did not support the amount of damages awarded. We affirm as modified.

I. BACKGROUND

In March 1997, defendant listed his home for sale with a real estate agent. Defendant executed a residential real property disclosure report (disclosure report), as required by the Disclosure Act (765 ILCS 77/35 (West 1996)), indicating in part:

"2. I am aware of flooding or recurring leakage problems in the crawlspace or basement.

5. I am aware of leaks or material defects in the roof, ceilings or chimney.

9. I am aware of material defects in the well or well equipment."

The disclosure report also contained the following explanation of the items cited above:

"2) Minor leak on west basement wall-- to be fixed

5) Roof leak on sun porch

9) Well pump not currently working (not main supply of water)."

In April 1997, plaintiffs entered into a contract to purchase defendant's home. An interlineation at the addendum section of the contract, next to a box containing a check mark indicating the disclosure report was attached, contained the handwritten notation: "2-5-9X repaired" (number 9 of the interlineation contains an "X" overstrike). In June 1997, plaintiffs moved into the home.

In August 1998, plaintiff sued defendant in small claims court, alleging defendant was indebted to plaintiff for $2,835 "for basement and roof repairs that were to be fixed before [the] purchase of [the property]." In November 1998, a bench trial was held on plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff's husband joined in the complaint. Plaintiffs appeared pro se and defendant appeared with counsel. Plaintiffs presented an estimate for the repair to the basement wall for $2,150 and $500 for the repair of the roof. The trial court found for the plaintiffs and ...


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