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Leonard Kranzler v. Lewis Saltzman

January 18, 2011

LEONARD KRANZLER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
LEWIS SALTZMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 07 L 6809 Honorable Dennis J. Burke Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Harris

Unpublished opinion

JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Karnezis and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Plaintiff Leonard Kranzler loaned defendant Lewis Saltzman $100,000 upon the defendant signing a written "memo" that stated, "Loaned to Lewis Saltzman $100,000 to be paid back with interest." The defendant intermittently made payments that partially repaid the loan. Within 10 years of the date of the defendant's last payment on the loan, plaintiff filed suit in the circuit court of Cook County alleging the "memo" to be a promissory note and seeking judgment for the outstanding principal and interest. The trial court found in favor of plaintiff and against defendant, entering final judgment in the amount of $81,344.12 plus interest. Defendant then filed this appeal, claiming that plaintiff's complaint was time barred under any of three applicable statutes of limitations (810 ILCS 5/3-118(g) (West 2008), 735 ILCS 5/13-205, 13-206 (West 2008)). For the following reasons, we affirm.

JURISDICTION

The trial court entered a final judgment in the instant case on January 27, 2009, and defendant filed his notice of appeal on February 26, 2009. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules 301 and 303 governing appeals from final judgments entered below. Ill. S. Ct. R. 301 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994); Ill. S. Ct. R. 303 (eff. May 30, 2008).

BACKGROUND

On March 10, 1997, plaintiff Leonard Kranzler loaned defendant Lewis Saltzman $100,000. Defendant signed a typewritten "memo" on that same date that read as follows:

"Memo to: Leonard Kranzler March 10, 1997 Loaned to Lewis Saltzman $100,000 to be paid back with interest. /s/ Lewis Saltzman"Between November 30, 1999, and July 5, 2005, plaintiff received intermittent payments on the debt totaling $74,500. The payments ceased after July 5, 2005, and on June 29, 2007, plaintiff filed a complaint in the circuit court seeking judgment for the outstanding principal due on the loan along with interest accumulated to date. On November 14, 2007, plaintiff filed an amended complaint that stated the same allegations as the first complaint and added a calculation showing that the sum of the outstanding principal balance on the "promissory note," plus all interest due and owing, totaled $160,241.38 as of October 31, 2007.

When defendant failed to respond to plaintiff's amended complaint, plaintiff sought entry of a default judgment against defendant, which the trial court entered in favor of plaintiff on January 16, 2008,in the amount of $113,692.14. Defendant moved to vacate the default judgment within 30 days of the entry of default, and the trial court granted defendant's motion to vacate on March 13, 2008.

On the same date, defendant moved for a judgment on the pleadings pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-615(e) (West 2008), alleging that plaintiff's action was time barred by the statute of limitations provided by Article III of the Uniform Commercial Code as well as the 10-year statute of limitations for written contracts under 735 ILCS 5/13-206 (West 2008). The trial court denied defendant's motion on May 1, 2008, and allowed plaintiff to file a second amended complaint.

Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint on May 1, 2008. It reiterated plaintiff's allegations in the two preceding complaints and enumerated 15 separate payments that were made on the loan between November 30, 1999, and July 5, 2005. Exhibit B to plaintiff's second amended complaint included excerpts from a deposition taken of defendant in an unrelated matter in which defendant admitted that plaintiff had loaned him $100,000 and that he had requested that his company, Saltzman Printers Inc., make payments on the loan. In his answers to plaintiff's second amended complaint, defendant admitted that the 15 enumerated payments were made on the loan. In addition, in his response to plaintiff's first request for admissions, defendant admitted that he was president, director, and shareholder of SPI and that he had directed SPI to make the 15 payments to plaintiff in partial repayment of the loan.

On September 24, 2008, plaintiff moved for summary judgment, alleging that defendant owed him $115,797.65 plus per diem interest. The trial court entered partial summary judgment on the issue of liability in favor of plaintiff on December 5, ...


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