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Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation v. Abbas Holding I

August 21, 2012

NISSAN MOTOR ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ABBAS HOLDING I, INC., D/B/A INFINITY GOLD COAST AND JOSEPH ABBAS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 09 L 50056 Honorable Bill Taylor, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cunningham

JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion Justices Connors and Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, the trial court entered judgment in the amount of $581,419.82 in favor of plaintiff Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (Nissan), and against defendant Abbas Holding I, Inc., d/b/a Infinity Gold Coast (Abbas Holding). Upon reconsideration, the trial court also entered judgment against defendant Joseph Abbas. On appeal, Abbas Holding and Joseph Abbas argue that the trial court abused its discretion in entering judgment against Joseph Abbas upon reconsideration of its original ruling. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Nissan was a corporation engaged in the business of providing financing for consumers and automobile dealers, including Abbas Holding. Abbas Holding was an entity which operated a retail automobile dealership selling Infinity brand automobiles. Abbas Holding was owned and operated by its president, Joseph Abbas (Joseph).

¶ 4 On January 20, 2009, Nissan filed a three-count complaint against Abbas Holding and Joseph, as an individual, for replevin (count I), breach of an automobile wholesale financing and security agreement (count II) and breach of a continuing guaranty agreement (count III). On January 29, 2009, Nissan filed an "emergency motion for order for replevin" (emergency motion for replevin), alleging that Abbas Holding had defaulted on its loan payments to Nissan and had "verbally threatened to secret and damage the automobiles that are in [its] inventory, in derogation of Nissan's rights to that property." On February 3, 2009, the trial court granted the emergency motion for replevin of approximately 49 vehicles, which was later amended to include additional vehicles for seizure, from Abbas Holding.

¶ 5 On May 12, 2009, Nissan filed a first amended complaint against Abbas Holding and Joseph, which was substantially similar to the original complaint with the exception of an additional count for detinue (count IV). On April 1, 2010, Abbas Holding and Joseph filed a verified answer to the first amended complaint, the pertinent parts of which are as follows:

"22. On or about February 26, 2007, [Joseph] made, signed, and delivered to [Nissan] a certain Continuing Guaranty Agreement ('Guaranty') in writing, whereby he promised and agreed promptly to pay any and all liabilities of [Abbas Holding] to [Nissan] then existing or due or to be incurred or become due.

ANSWER: [Joseph] denies the allegations contained within Paragraph 22 of [Nissan's] First Amended Complaint, except the allegation that on or about February 26, 2007, he made, signed, and delivered to [Nissan] a certain Continuing Guaranty Agreement ('Guaranty') in writing, subject to the production and examination of the original document.

23. The Guaranty was continuing, absolute, and unconditional, including all costs and expenses in enforcing the Guaranty. (A copy of the Guaranty is attached hereto as Exhibit D.)

ANSWER: [Joseph] denies the allegations contained within Paragraph 23 of [Nissan's] First Amended Complaint, except the allegation that [Nissan] has attached a copy of the Guaranty as Exhibit D."

On that same day, April 1, 2010, Abbas Holding and Joseph filed counterclaims against Nissan, alleging that Nissan breached a forbearance agreement (count I), engaged in tortious interference with Abbas Holding's prospective business (count II), committed fraud and misrepresentation (count

III), made negligent misrepresentations to Abbas Holding (count IV), and committed the tort ...


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