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Wegener v. Pike

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 27, 2014

CHRIS WEGENER, JANET WEGENER, M.R.P., a minor, by his mother and next friend JANET WEGENER, and A.P.W., a minor, by her mother and next friend JANET WEGENER, Plaintiffs,
v.
ANDREA SISCO PIKE and ROBERT W. PIKE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RONALD A. GUZMAN, District Judge.

The case is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. The Court received written submissions from the parties and entertained oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion.

Facts

Andrea Sisco Pike is the mother and mother-in-law, respectively, of plaintiffs Chris and Janet Wegener, and the grandmother of plaintiffs MRP and APW. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2-5, 11, 15.) In late 2011 or early 2012, Chris and Janet were looking for a piece of property on which to build a "family home which could act as a vacation house, and, if the need arose, a refuge for the family." ( Id. ¶ 14.) Andrea proposed that she and her husband, defendant Robert Pike, give Chris and Janet the money to buy the property. ( Id. ¶ 19.) Ultimately, Chris, Janet, Andrea and Robert orally agreed as follows:

(1) Andrea and Robert would give Chris and Janet money to buy the land; (2) Chris and Janet would use their own money to improve the property and build a home on it, and Andrea and Robert would later reimburse them for their expenditures; and (3) once the improvements were done and the house was built, Chris and Janet would deed the property to Andrea and Chris, who would place it in an irrevocable trust for the benefit of MRP and APW. ( Id. ¶¶ 19-26.)

Pursuant to this agreement, in March 2012, Andrea and Robert gave Chris $33, 000.00 to buy a piece of property in Wisconsin, Chris and Janet deeded the land to a company owned by Andrea and Robert, and Chris and Janet spent the next sixteen months designing and building a home on and making other improvements to the property. ( Id. ¶¶ 25-39.)

On April 5, 2013, Andrea and Robert gave Chris and Janet $25, 000.00 to buy an adjoining piece of land, with the understanding that it would also be subject to the parties' agreement. ( Id. ¶ 32.)

On October 28, 2012, Andrea and Robert executed codicils to their wills, in which they "give all interest [in the property] equally" to APW and MRP upon their deaths. ( Id. ¶ 40; see Verified Emergency Mot. TRO, Ex. 1, Compl., Ex. D, Codicils.) Andrea and Robert showed the codicils to Chris and Janet as proof of their intention to put the property in trust for APW and MRP. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 41-43.)

On July 5, 2013, when all major construction was done on the second piece of land, Chris quitclaim deeded it to Andrea and Robert "so they could finalize the trust for MRP and APW." ( Id. ¶¶ 50-51.)

Andrea and Robert did not, however, put the property in trust for MRP and APW, and on July 7, 2013, they revoked the October 28, 2012 codicils to their wills. ( Id. ¶¶ 45, 52.) Since then, Andrea and Robert have refused to allow plaintiffs on the land and to return various items of plaintiffs' personal property. ( Id. ¶ 52.)

On February 12, 2014, Andrea and Robert listed the property for sale with a realtor. ( Id. ¶ 59.) This suit and motion followed.

Discussion

Plaintiffs ask the Court to restrain Andrea and Robert from selling the property. The Court can issue such an order only if plaintiffs show that: (1) they are threatened with irreparable harm;

(2) they have no adequate remedy at law; (3) plaintiffs have some likelihood of success on the merits; (4) the harm they face outweighs the harm the injunction may cause to defendants; and (5) granting the injunction will not disserve the public interest. Roland Mach. Co. v. Dresser Indus., 749 F.2d 380, 383 (7th Cir. 1984). These factors are measured on a sliding scale. Id. at 387. The greater the TRO applicant's likelihood of success, the less heavily need the ...


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