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Seasons-4, Inc. v. Hertz Corp.

March 28, 2003

SEASONS-4, INC., A GEORGIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE HERTZ CORPORATION, A DELAWARE CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE,
(CROWN TEMPERATURE ENGINEERS, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, AND CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Cyril J. Watson, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'mara Frossard

UNPUBLISHED

Plaintiff Seasons-4, Inc., a subcontractor and manufacturer of air conditioning units, filed a four-count complaint to foreclose a mechanic's lien and to recover money judgments against defendants the Hertz Corporation (Hertz), Crown Temperature Engineers, Inc. (Crown), and the City of Chicago (City). The City is the owner and Hertz is the lessee of the property at O'Hare Field in Chicago upon which plaintiff claims a lien. Crown is the general contractor that contracted with Hertz to improve that property and that hired plaintiff to furnish air conditioning equipment for that property. The trial court entered a default judgment against Crown in the amount of $53,659.61 on count I, which alleged breach of contract, and dismissed count II, which styled itself an action for quantum meruit and was also directed against Crown. The trial court subsequently dismissed without prejudice count III, which sought to foreclose a mechanic's lien on the subject property, and count IV, which sought to recover money damages. Thereafter plaintiff filed a second amended complaint (amended complaint) to foreclose a mechanic's lien on the property. Hertz filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to section 2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 1998)) based on plaintiff's failure to timely serve it with written notice of its mechanic's lien claim pursuant to section 24 of the Mechanics Lien Act (Act) (770 ILCS 60/24 (West 1998)). The trial court granted Hertz's motion, finding that plaintiff did not satisfy the requirements of section 24 of the Act. Plaintiff now appeals the dismissal of his amended complaint, contending that it gave proper notice under section 24 of the Act.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's amended complaint to foreclose mechanic's lien, which included a legal description of the subject property, alleged the following facts. In 2000, Hertz entered into a contract with Crown, pursuant to which Crown agreed to furnish an air conditioning unit for property leased by Hertz from the City. That property was commonly known as "10000 Bessie Coleman Drive, O'Hare Field, Chicago, Illinois." The contract provided that plaintiff would custom build the unit to specifications required by Hertz and furnish a five-year compressor warranty for the unit. On November 3, 2000, plaintiff delivered the custom-built air conditioning unit to Crown at the property leased by Hertz and issued an invoice to Crown for the unit in the amount of $50,217.49. Crown did not pay the amount billed in the invoice, and on January 25, 2001, less than 90 days after delivery of the unit, plaintiff faxed the following letter to Hertz:

"January 25, 2001

Mr. Ed Gelfand

Crown Temperature Engineers

4555 North Elston Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60630-4214

Re: Hertz Rent A Car

Chicago, IL

Dear Ed,

Please be advised that we are suspending all warranties related to the above referenced project effective immediately. As of today's date, our invoice number 25045 dated 11/03/00 with a balance due of $50,217.49 is now 83 days old.

Season's-4 terms are NET 30. We will not honor any warranty related charges nor will we offer assistance to correct any problems that may arise. I am forwarding this file over to our attorney for review.

Sincerely, SEASONS-4, INC.

[signature of Stephen L. Watford]

Stephen L. Watford Controller

Cc David Lampert -Hertz ...


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