Appeal from the as Circuit Court of Trustee of the Ella Mae Wilson Living Trust, Randolph County No. 07-CH-42Honorable Dennis B. Doyle Judge, presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wexstten
NOTICE Decision filed 02/14/11. The text of this decision may be changed or corrected prior to the filing of a Peti tion for Rehearing or th e disposition of the same.
JUSTICE WEXSTTEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Goldenhersh and Donovan concurred in the judgment and opinion.
This action is one for the partition of land owned by the plaintiffs--John F. Bargman, Charles G. Bargman, Norma J. Baughman, Ella Mae Wilson, as the trustee of the Ella Mae Wilson Living Trust, and Willard D. Wilson, and the defendants--Marlin Ray Wilson and Teresa Wilson. The parties do not dispute the partition of the land but only the award of attorney fees pursuant to section 17-125 of the Code of Civil Procedure (the Code) (735 ILCS 5/17-125 (West 2006)). We affirm.
On June 25, 2007, the plaintiffs, through their attorneys, Arbeiter & Walker (attorney Arbeiter), filed a complaint for the partition of real estate that they owned as tenants in common with the defendants. Marlin was in possession of the tillable farmland on the real estate pursuant to an oral annual farm lease. On October 9, 2007, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a summary judgment.
On November 21, 2007, attorney Arbeiter filed a motion to withdraw as John's attorney of record, and the circuit court granted attorney Arbeiter's motion on December 4, 2007. On December 10, 2007, Otto J. Faulbaum (attorney Faulbaum) entered his appearance as John's attorney.
On February 26, 2008, the circuit court granted the plaintiffs' motion for a summary judgment and entered an order for a partition. In the order for the partition, the court noted that all the parties had been duly joined and were properly before the court. On April 4, 2008, the circuit court appointed a commissioner to fairly and impartially partition the premises, and on June 12, 2008, the commissioner filed his report.
On September 9, 2008, John, through attorney Faulbaum, filed a motion for a sale by a licensed auctioneer, a motion to sever the mineral rights, and a motion to adjudicate the farm tenancy rights. On October 23, 2008, the other four plaintiffs, through attorney Arbeiter, filed a motion to adjudicate the farm tenancy rights.
On March 11, 2009, the circuit court denied John's motion for a sale by a licensed auctioneer but ordered that the oil and gas interests in the real estate were considered severed from the fee title and were not subject to a sale or partition in the action. The circuit court ordered that Marlin's farm tenancy would terminate immediately upon the harvest. The circuit court further ordered a public sale of the property. On May 4, 2009, the sheriff of Randolph County filed a report of sale, representing that Marlin and Teresa had purchased the property.
On May 5, 2009, Charles, Norma, Ella Mae, and Willard, through attorney Arbeiter, filed a petition for an apportionment of attorney fees and costs. Attorney Arbeiter attached his itemization of legal services, demonstrating he had expended 77.05 hours at $150 an hour, totaling $11,557.50, in addition to an itemization of court costs totaling $960.
On May 6, 2009, John, through attorney Faulbaum, filed a petition for an apportionment of attorney fees and attached an itemization of attorney fees, demonstrating that attorney Faulbaum had expended 70.22 hours at $200 an hour, totaling $14,044 in legal services, in addition to $30.85 in additional costs. In an amended petition for an apportionment of attorney fees and costs, John valued attorney Faulbaum's legal services at $17,614 and additional costs at $30.85.
On June 1, 2009, the defendants' attorneys, Neubauer and AuBuchon, filed a petition for an apportionment of attorney fees. Neubauer and AuBuchon attached to its petition an itemization of ...