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Johnson v. Safeguard Construction Co., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

December 30, 2013

SCOTT JOHNSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SAFEGUARD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook Count. No. 11 L 13695 Honorable Raymond W. Mitchell, Judge Presiding.

JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Connors and Justice Hoffman concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

CUNNINGHAM JUSTICE

¶ 1 This appeal arises from the October 31, 2012 order entered by the circuit court of Cook County, which granted summary judgment on count I of a complaint in favor of defendant Safeguard Construction Company, Inc. (Safeguard), and denied summary judgment on count II in favor of plaintiff Scott Johnson (Johnson). Following Johnson's voluntary dismissal of the surviving count of the complaint, the circuit court entered a final order. On appeal, Johnson argues that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment on count I of the complaint. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Safeguard is an Illinois corporation engaged in the business of insurance restoration by facilitating the repair of damaged homes. According to the deposition testimony of Kevin Schultz (Schultz), the owner of Safeguard, Safeguard dispatches independent sales representatives to storm-damaged areas for the purpose of interviewing homeowners about the damage to their homes, interfacing with insurance adjusters, and obtaining contracts from homeowners for the restoration of their damaged homes. Safeguard does not perform the actual repair work, but subcontracts the repair work to third parties, to whom Safeguard relays the homeowners' preferences for the use of specific products and brands of products in the repair process.

¶ 4 On March 15, 2011, Johnson entered into an agreement with Safeguard by which he became Safeguard's independent sales representative "for the sale of Safeguard products and services." Pursuant to paragraph 6(c)(ii) of the agreement, Safeguard agreed to indemnify and hold Johnson harmless against any and all liabilities "arising directly or indirectly from the manufacturing of any Safeguard product or any services provided by Safeguard." Paragraph 4 of the agreement provided that, in consideration for the services performed by Johnson, Safeguard agreed to pay Johnson a percentage of its net profits. Johnson's summarized duties and responsibilities were set forth in a document entitled "Field Representative (Next Steps)."

¶ 5 On July 22, 2011, Safeguard cancelled its agreement with Johnson, after he allegedly complained to Safeguard that it had deprived him of a substantial commission by "going around him" on the procurement of a roofing job involving a church in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

¶ 6 In a letter dated August 5, 2011, Safeguard conveyed to Johnson that his "outstanding earned commissions" would not be paid unless Johnson agreed to waive any and all claims arising out of their agreement, or arising out of Johnson's independent contractor relationship with Safeguard. Johnson refused to sign a proposed waiver of his rights.

¶ 7 On December 20, 2011, Johnson filed a two-count complaint against Safeguard, alleging that Safeguard violated the Sales Representative Act (820 ILCS 120/0.01 et seq. (West 2010)) (count I), and engaged in breach of contract (count II). Thereafter, the parties engaged in the discovery process.

¶ 8 On September 18, 2012, Safeguard filed a motion for summary judgment in which it argued that Safeguard was not subject to the Sales Representative Act and that it did not breach its agreement with Johnson.

¶ 9 On October 31, 2012, the circuit court entered an order granting Safeguard's motion for summary judgment as to the Sales Representative Act claim (count I), but denying the motion as to the breach of contract claim (count II). Thereafter, on November 6, 2012, Johnson filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the surviving breach of contract claim (count II) of his complaint, pursuant to section 2-1009 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1009 (West 2010)). On November 7, 2012, the circuit court entered an order granting Johnson's motion to voluntarily dismiss. The order further stated that it was a "final order" and that "final judgment is entered on count I."

ΒΆ 10 On December 4, 2012, Johnson filed a ...


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