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Harris, N.A v. Sauk Village Development

December 24, 2012

HARRIS, N.A.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAUK VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT, LLC, GREGORY STEC, GS MANAGEMENT, LLC, SEAMUS MORIARTY, KONSTANTINOS D. ANTONIOU, MARTINEZ FROGS, INC., RICARDO MARTINEZ, TEKNA ) CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC, JAMES B. PLANEY, G & D EXCAVATING, INC., UNKNOWN OWNERS AND NON-RECORD CLAIMANTS, DEFENDANTS (CHICAGO TITLE LAND TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE ) U/T NO. 9173, THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF- APPELLANT,
v.
HARRIS, N.A. AND SAUK VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT, LLC,
THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANTS- APPELLEES).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 09 CH 49752 The Honorable Daniel Patrick Brennan and Margaret Ann Brennan, Judges Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Harris

PRESIDING JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Quinn and Simon concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Third party plaintiff, Chicago Title Land Trust Company (CTLT), appeals the judgment of the circuit court denying its motion filed pursuant to section 2-1203 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1203 (West 2008)), to reconsider and vacate orders dismissing the amended third party complaint and approving the judicial sale. On appeal, CTLT contends the trial court erred in denying its motion to reconsider when it made a mistake in law by ruling that CTLT has no standing to file its amended complaint. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

¶ 2 JURISDICTION

¶ 3 The trial court entered a final judgment in the instant case on February 8, 2011, and plaintiff filed its notice of appeal on March 10, 2011. 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); R. 303 (eff. May 30, 2008).

¶ 4 BACKGROUND

¶ 5 On May 27, 2007, CTLT and Greg Stec (Stec) entered into a contract to purchase vacant land in Sauk Village, Illinois. CTLT owned approximately 46 acres of vacant land. The contract to purchase involved 16.64 acres of that land. At the same time, James Planey (Planey) and Stec entered into a contract with CTLT to purchase another parcel of approximately .8 acres. Stec subsequently assigned his interest in the contracts to Sauk Village Development (SVD).

¶ 6 The closing occurred on December 11, 2007. In connection with the closing, CTLT and SVD executed a closing statement which described the sale property as consisting of 16.64 acres. The deed executed and delivered by CTLT at the closing listed the property address as "16.64 acres at NEC of Torrence Avenue & Sauk Trail Road, Sauk Village, IL 60411." However, the legal description of the sale property contained in the deed described the entire 46 acres owned by CTLT. The deed was recorded with the Cook County recorder of deeds.

¶ 7 At the time of the closing, SVD also secured a loan on the property in the amount of $1,849,700 with Harris, N.A. (Harris). The mortgage on the loan contained only the legal description from the deed describing the entire 46 acres. SVD also entered into a construction loan agreement with Harris. This agreement described the land as 17.48 acres (16.64 acres plus approximately .8 acres), although the legal description again described the entire 46 acre parcel.

¶ 8 Some time after the mortgages were recorded, CTLT discovered the error. They made a request to SVD to correct the error by executing and delivering a quit claim deed. By quit claim deed SVD reconveyed approximately 29.49 acres of property to Planey as nominee for Sauk Village Venture, a beneficiary of CTLT. The quit claim deed was recorded on May 14, 2009. The plat act affidavit filed by SVD in connection with the quit claim deed stated that the conveyance was "made to correct descriptions in prior conveyances." The reconveyed property, however, was still subject to the Harris mortgage.

¶ 9 SVD subsequently defaulted on its loans. On February 15, 2009, Harris, SVD, and Stec entered into a forbearance agreement in which SVD and Stec acknowledged the defaults and affirmed the validity of the mortgage and note. On July 15, 2010, CTLT filed its first third party complaint for reformation due to the error in the description of the property contained in the mortgage. Harris filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. In support of its motion, Harris argued that CTLT was no longer owner of the disputed 30 acres and lacked standing to bring the complaint. It also alleged that CTLT received the relief it requested when SVD executed the quit claim deed. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss.

ΒΆ 10 On January 21, 2011, CTLT filed an amended two-count complaint to quiet title and for slander of title. The complaint requested that the court quiet title to approximately 30 acres by releasing Harris' mortgage on that property, and sought compensatory and punitive damages for slander of title. Harris filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to section 2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2008)) on the quiet title count, alleging that CTLT does not have standing to bring the claim. Alternatively, Harris sought dismissal of the complaint ...


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