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Kenneth Poris v. Lake Holiday Property

January 25, 2013

KENNETH PORIS, APPELLEE,
v.
LAKE HOLIDAY PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION ET AL., APPELLANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Thomas

JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Plaintiff, Kenneth Poris, a member of defendant Lake Holiday

Property Owners Association (the Association), filed a 14-count third amended complaint naming as defendants the Association; George Leidolf, James Moran, Steven Condon, Dorothy Fleming, James Byrne, Michael Ivanauskas, and Cindy Kaminky, the individual members of the Association's board of directors; and Matthew Clifford, the chief of security for the Lake Holiday private security department. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment in their favor on all counts of the complaint. Plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on counts I, II, IV and XIII. The circuit court of La Salle County granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on all counts of the complaint. The appellate court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. 2012 IL App (3d) 110131. This court allowed defendants' petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. Feb. 26, 2010). This court also granted the motion of the Illinois Association of Lake Communities to file a brief amicus curiae in support of defendants pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 345 (Ill. S. Ct. R. 345 (eff. Sept. 20, 2010)).

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Lake Holiday is a private lake community. Lake Holiday is set on 1,500 acres, which are apportioned into 2,000 single-family lots. More than 400 of the lots are along a 328-acre private lake. The Association was incorporated on or about July 2, 1965, in unincorporated La Salle County, Illinois, as an Illinois Not-for-Profit Corporation. See 805 ILCS 105/101.01 et seq. (West 2008).

¶ 4 Section 5 of the Association's amended articles of incorporation, filed on January 18, 1973, provided that the purpose or purposes for which the corporation was organized were:

"To promote and enhance the civic and social interests of the owners of real estate in Lake Holiday Development, LaSalle County, Illinois; insofar as those interests relate to the maintenance of Lake Holiday, the dam constructed at the headwaters thereof, and appurtenant structures thereto. To acquire and hold real estate in its corporate name; to construct and maintain thereon buildings and structures of all types, roadways, beaches; and, to do all other things reasonably necessary therefor; memberships herein shall be restricted to owners of land in Lake Holiday Development ***."

¶ 5 The Association enacted restrictive covenants, bylaws, and rules and regulations.*fn1 The bylaws provided for a board of directors that governed the Association. Article 4, section 8, of the bylaws provided that:

"The Board of Directors shall adopt such rules and regulations relating to the use of association property as they may deem reasonably necessary for the best interests of the association and its members. They may also in order to better effectuate said rules and regulations, adopt reasonable sanctions for non-compliance therewith. *** The Board of Directors shall also employ a sufficient number of persons to adequately maintain association property."

¶ 6 As indicated, the Association's board also adopted rules and regulations for the Association. One of the rules relevant to this case is Rule 2.01, which provided that:

"No person shall knowingly resist or obstruct the performance by one known to the person to be a public safety officer of any authorized act within his or her official capacity. No person shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any public safety officer authorized by the Lake Holiday Property Owners Association. A request to examine personal identification, such as a driver's license, in addition to a member's amenity pass shall be honored."

¶ 7 With regard to speed limits on Association property, Rule 3.10 provided that:

"Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on all Lake Holiday roads shall be 25 miles per hour. Speed limits shall be strictly enforced. Violations from 1 to 10 mph over the posted speed limit are CLASS C VIOLATIONS. From 11 to 15 mph over the posted speed limit are CLASS B VIOLATIONS. From 16 mph or over the posted limit are CLASS A VIOLATIONS." Class A violations carry a $200 fine for a first offense. Class B violations carry a $100 fine for a first offense, and Class C violations carry a $50 fine for a first offense.

¶ 8 The Association rules and regulations also contain provisions concerning enforcement. Rule 8.01 provided:

"Enforcement of the rules and regulations of the Lake Holiday Property Owners Association as defined in this booklet is empowered to the Board of Directors by the restrictive covenants and By-Laws. The Board is empowered to impose sanctions for violations of rules and regulations and building codes. Such sanctions shall include but are not limited to one or more of the following:

1. Written warnings.

2. Fines.

3. Restitution.

4. Suspension of the use of Association amenities.

5. Criminal prosecution under the applicable state statutes. In no way shall such sanctions infringe on the rights of individual property owners or the Association to pursue further recourse either in law or equity through civil courts of competent jurisdiction. Lake Holiday Private Security officers have been given power to enforce these regulations. The Private Security officers can issue citations for violations. Enforcement people will carry identification as evidence of the authority which has been delegated to them by the Lake Holiday Property Owners' Association Inc."

¶ 9 Rule 8.01 also provided that notice of an alleged violation of Lake

Holiday rules and regulations will be served in writing as either a citation or a letter of notification. The accused is given a right to a due process hearing before the citation committee concerning the stated offense. Citation committee decisions may be appealed to the board of directors at the request of any involved party.

¶ 10 The board established the "Lake Holiday Private Security Department" and created a manual for the security department. The board hired defendant Clifford as the security department's chief of security. In that capacity, Clifford reports to the board. There are several private security officers in addition to Clifford.

¶ 11 The Lake Holiday Security Manual states that one of the functional objectives of the department is the movement of traffic. Thus, "[t]o enforce compliance with Lake Holiday traffic rules, *** the Department appropriately warns or cites traffic violators." Lake Holiday security vehicles are equipped with radar units and oscillating lights. At the time of the events giving rise to plaintiff's complaint, the oscillating lights were amber and white. However, the La Salle County sheriff's office later instructed Clifford to stop using white lights, so the security vehicles currently use only amber oscillating lights.

¶ 12 Lake Holiday security vehicles also are equipped with radar units and video and audio recording equipment. Department procedure is to inform drivers that they are being recorded, and officers are to shut off the recording equipment if the driver says that he does not want to be recorded. Security officers are required to wear a badge, a uniform, and a duty belt, which may include weapons that the officer is certified to carry on duty. The duty belt must not include any type of firearm holster. Permissible weapons do not include spring-loaded batons or any type of electronic stun gun. Defense counsel clarified at oral argument that Association security officers are neither required to, nor allowed to, carry firearms.

¶ 13 At oral argument, defense counsel also explained that the

Association security officers only issue citations for violations of Association rules and regulations. Security officers do not issue citations for violations of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, nor is the Illinois Secretary of State informed of the Association citation. There are no consequences for receiving a citation for violating an Association traffic rule other than receipt of a warning or fine from the Association. If a security officer stops a guest of an Association member for violating the Association speed limit, the Association member is responsible for his guest's citation. Further, if the security department stops a member of the public who is driving on Association streets, and who is neither an Association member nor a guest of an Association member, the security department has no authority to issue any citations to that person, and at most may only warn the driver that he is on private property and is exceeding the posted speed limit.

¶ 14 Plaintiff owns property in the Lake Holiday Development and is a member of the Association. Plaintiff has been an Association member since 1993 or 1994. Lake Holiday Rule 1.02 defines a member as:

"any person or spouse who has an interest as an owner in real estate situated in the Lake Holiday development, La Salle County, Illinois; and who has paid all dues and assessments levied against them or such real estate by the Lake Holiday Property Owners Association, Inc., since said person has acquired said interest in the real estate, and who may otherwise be in good standing."

ΒΆ 15 The incident giving rise to the complaint in the instant case occurred on October 20, 2008. Plaintiff alleged that he was driving his car on Farmer's Road, a road within the Lake Holiday Development, and owned by the Association. Using a radar unit, James Podnar, one of the Association's private security officers, measured plaintiff's speed at 34 miles per hour. Podnar activated the lights on his security vehicle, which at the time were amber and white oscillating lights, and pulled plaintiff over. Plaintiff exited his vehicle, but Podnar instructed him to get back in the vehicle and to stay there, for safety reasons. Podnar then ...


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