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Doors Acquisition, L.L.C. v. Rockford Structures Construction Co.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District, Second Division

March 8, 2013

DOORS ACQUISITION, LLC, as Assignee of ARC One, LLC., Plaintiff,
v.
ROCKFORD STRUCTURES CONSTRUCTION COMPANY; NU-CON CONSTRUCTION COMPANY; FRED LENZ, d/b/a Lenz Decorators; ROCK VALLEY GLASS OF ROCKFORD, INC.; CITY WIDE INSULATION INC.; and UNKNOWN OWNERS AND NONRECORD CLAIMANTS, Defendants, District Council No. 30 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO, Plaintiff-Appellee; Norman J. Weitzel, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. Nos. 08-CH-1278, 08-CH-1477. Honorable J. Edward Prochaska, Judge, Presiding.

Reversed.

JUSTICE HUTCHINSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Jorgensen and Schostok concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HUTCHINSON, JUSTICE

[¶1] In 2006, defendant, Norman J. Weitzel, contracted with Rockford Structures Construction Company (Rockford Structures) to build a hotel in Rockford. As the general contractor, Rockford Structures retained D& P Chicago, Inc. (D& P), as a subcontractor to supply, install, and finish drywall in connection with the project. After Rockford Structures terminated D& P, plaintiff, District Council No. 30 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO (the union), filed a subcontractor mechanics lien on the property pursuant to the Mechanics Lien Act (the Act) (770 ILCS 60/1 et seq. (West 2008)). The lien resulted from union members not being paid wages and the union not receiving benefit contributions. Weitzel countered that on January 10, 2008, Rockford Structures furnished a contractor's sworn statement averring that D& P had been paid in full for its work on the project.

[¶2] Thereafter, the trial court entered an order finding that payment in full to D& P did not invalidate the union's mechanics lien and ordering Weitzel to pay the union $32,619.90, plus interest and costs, within 30 days or be subject to a judgment of foreclosure. Weitzel timely appealed. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse.

[¶3] I. Background

[¶4] The parties' stipulated facts reflect that Rockford Structures was the general contractor pursuant to a contract with Weitzel to build a hotel. In May 2007, Rockford Structures retained D& P to supply, install, and furnish drywall for the project. Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, D& P employed union members who performed covered work and made improvements to the property.

[¶5] In November 2007, Rockford Structures terminated its contract with D& P. However, D& P failed to pay $6,591.30 in wages to five union members who performed work on the project, and it failed to pay $17,003.98 in benefits to the union's benefit funds for covered work. The unpaid wages and benefit funds related to work performed from August 2007 through November 9, 2007.

[¶6] On January 10, 2008, Rockford Structures provided a sworn statement to Weitzel. The sworn statement specified that " the following are names of all parties who have furnished material or labor *** and the amount due or to become due to each." Line 15b of the sworn statement specified that D& P had been paid $130,398.34, no further balance remained due to D& P, and D& P was " 100%" complete. The union workers were not separately listed in the sworn statement.

[¶7] On March 6, 2008, the union filed its subcontractors mechanics lien pursuant to the Act. The lien claimed that the union was owed a credit of $23,595.28 for work performed by its members, in addition to interest and attorney fees. The union served the lien on Weitzel, Rockford Structures, and D& P. When he received notice of the lien, Weitzel was not aware that D& P had failed to make wage and benefit payments under its collective bargaining agreement with the union. After receiving notice of the lien, Weitzel made payments to Rockford Structures and other subcontractors who worked on the project.

[¶8] On November 11, 2008, the union filed a complaint seeking foreclosure of the mechanics lien. The union also brought a claim of unjust enrichment. On December 21, 2011, following a hearing, the trial court entered an order finding that the union had a valid lien and ordering Weitzel to pay $32,619.90, plus $289.76 in costs, within 30 days. The order provided that, if Weitzel failed to pay the union within 30 days, the sheriff would execute a judgment of foreclosure. The order further provided that it was a " final order and that there is no just reason for delaying enforcement of this [j]udgment or appeal therefrom." Weitzel timely appealed.

[¶9] II. Discussion

[¶10] The only issue in this appeal is whether the trial court properly held that, under the Act, the union was entitled to a lien on the property. Weitzel argues that, because D& P had been paid in full when Weitzel received notice of the union's lien, the union could not recover an amount beyond what was owed to its immediate contractor. The union counters that, pursuant to the Act, the only limitation placed on a subcontractor mechanics lien is the contract price between ...


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