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International House of Pancakes, Inc. v. Sbeity

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


May 12, 2006

INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES, INC., AND IHOP PROPERTIES, INC., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALEX SBEITY, COMERICA BANK; HEYL, ROYSTER, VOELKER & ALLEN, P.C., AND THE LEITER GROUP ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS, P.C., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe Billy McDADE United States District Judge

ORDER

Before the Court are Plaintiffs' Complaint for Interpleader [Doc. # 1], Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Discharge [Doc. # 3], Defendant Comerica Bank's Motion to Stay [Doc. # 24], and Defendant The Leiter Group's Motion to Strike Motion to Stay [Doc. # 28].

This interpleader action was brought to determine who is entitled to the proceeds from a stipulated judgment in Case No. 04-1345. That case involved a dispute between Plaintiffs (hereinafter "IHOP") and Mohammed Sharif regarding IHOP franchises in Bloomington and Peoria, Illinois. In that case, IHOP was ordered to pay $150,000 to Alex Sbeity ("Sbeity") and Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen ("Heyl") on behalf of Mohammed Sharif. Defendants have all asserted liens against those proceeds. IHOP has moved for a preliminary injunction (1) allowing it to tender the disputed proceeds to this Court to be deposited in an interest-bearing account, (2) restraining Defendants from instituting further litigation regarding the disputed proceeds, (3) awarding reasonable attorneys fees and costs in connection with this action, and (4) discharging it from all further liability with respect to the dispute proceeds.

Defendant Comerica Bank ("Comerica") has moved to stay these proceedings, arguing they are related to litigation now before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. That litigation involves a contract dispute between Sbeity and Comerica. The other Defendants have objected to the stay. The Court will deny Comerica's motion. The Texas litigation is a contract dispute over a security agreement between Sbeity and Comerica. Theoretically, Comerica could obtain a judgment in Texas against Sbeity. However, the judgment in Case No. 04-1345 is final and the liens asserted by Heyl and The Leiter Group are attorney's liens stemming from that litigation. As such, these liens are unrelated to the Texas litigation. Under these circumstances, the Court finds it would be inequitable to require Heyl and The Leiter Group to await the Texas court's decision to receive its share of the disputed proceeds. Consequently, the Court will deny the motion to stay.

As for IHOP's motion for preliminary injunction, the Court is not aware of any objections to this motion. IHOP is directed to file a proposed injunction order with the Court on or before May 26, 2006. If any Party objects to the entry of that order, they are directed to file their objections in writing with the Court no later than June 9, 2006. Failure to object to the proposed order will be deemed a waiver of any objections.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant Comerica Bank's Motion to Stay [Doc. # 24] is DENIED.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant The Leiter Group's Motion to Strike Motion to Stay [Doc. # 28] is DENIED AS MOOT.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that IHOP is directed to file a proposed injunction order with the Court on or before May 26, 2006. Parties are to file objections to that proposed order no later than June 9, 2006.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is referred to Magistrate Judge Gorman for a scheduling conference.

Entered this 12th day of May, 2006.

20060512

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