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Lynne Bloch, Helen Bloch, and Nathan Block v. Edward Frischholz and Shoreline

July 5, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall


Defendants Edward Frischholz ("Frischholz") and Shoreline Towers Condominium Association ("Shoreline") (together "Defendants") move to dismiss the state law claims alleged in Counts 7 and 8 of plaintiffs Lynne Bloch ("Lynne"), Helen Bloch ("Helen"), and Nathan Bloch's ("Nathan") (together "Plaintiffs") Second Amended Complaint. Count 7 alleges a violation of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, 765 ILCS 605/18.4 ("ICPA"), and Count 8 alleges a breach of fiduciary duty pursuant to § 18.4 of the ICPA. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs's claims are barred by previous state court rulings and that Plaintiffs fail to sufficiently allege a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress or an adequate claim for damages. For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendants's motion.


The following facts are taken from Plaintiffs's Second Amended Complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of this Motion to Dismiss. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).*fn1

Plaintiffs are Jewish Americans who reside at Shoreline. (Second Amd. Compl. ¶¶ 4-6.) Since approximately June 9, 2004, Defendants have been aware that Jewish law requires Plaintiffs to display a Mezuzah on the doorpost on the exterior of their residence. (Id. ¶ 11.) Defendants removed Plaintiffs's Mezuzah three times before Lynne's husband, Dr. Bloch, passed away. (Id. ¶ 19.) Defendants verbally agreed not to remove the Mezuzah during Plaintiffs's Shiva, a seven-day mourning period, for Dr. Bloch's passing. (Id. ¶ 25.) On June 7, 2005, however, Defendants removed the Mezuzah while the Plaintiffs were attending Dr. Bloch's funeral, causing Plaintiffs great anguish and embarrassment. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 23.)

Plaintiffs filed suit in federal court and, while their claims were on appeal to the Seventh Circuit, Plaintiffs filed a parallel state court suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Plaintiffs's State Court Complaint alleged claims analogous to Counts 7 and 8 of Plaintiffs's Second Amended Complaint. The circuit court dismissed Plaintiffs's state court claims, reasoning that they did not allege violations of the ICPA but rather were insufficiently pled claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Doc. 325, Ex. 12 at 2.) The circuit court's most recent order dismissing Plaintiffs's state law claims with prejudice has since been vacated. (Doc. 325, Ex. 14B.)

The Court reinstated Plaintiffs's state law claims, which Defendants now move to dismiss.


When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construes all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy, 51 F.3d at 717. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "Detailed factual allegations" are not required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when "accepted as true . . . 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In analyzing whether a complaint has met this standard, the "reviewing court [must] draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. See id. at 1949.


I. Helen and Nathan

As an initial matter, Plaintiffs do not seek leave to reinstate the state law claims of Helen or Nathan. (Doc. 330 at 1.) Therefore, the Court need not consider Defendants's arguments relating to Helen or Nathan's standing. Accordingly, the Court confines its analysis to Lynne's state law claims.

II. Law of the Case

Defendants first move to dismiss Lynne's state law claims under the law of the case doctrine. The law of the case doctrine "is a rule of practice which recited that when an issue is once litigated and decided, that should be the end of the matter." Analytical Eng'g, Inc. v. Baldwin Filters, Inc., 425 F.3d 443, 454 (7th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). Here, Defendants argue that the circuit court dismissed Lynne's state law claims four separate times for failure to state a claim and, as such, she should be precluded from re-litigating them in this Court. After dismissing Lynne's Fifth State Complaint, however, the trial court vacated its order of dismissal. The order vacating the dismissal of the Fifth State Complaint is itself the subject of Defendants's motion to vacate, which has not yet been ruled on by the circuit court. Therefore, as matters in the circuit court ...

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