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LLC v. Westloop Equities, LLC

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

March 10, 2014

527 S. CLINTON, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
WESTLOOP EQUITIES, LLC, Defendant-Appellant

As Corrected March 11, 2014.

Page 757

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 758

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 07 CH 12339. Honorable Peter Flynn, Judge, Presiding.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

SYLLABUS

The trial court properly entered summary judgment for plaintiff, finding that the defendant's easement for the use of parking spaces on plaintiff's adjoining property terminated when the hotel on defendant's property filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations for several years, since the record showed that both properties were owned by the same person until that person sold the hotel property to defendant's predecessor in title and granted the purchaser the parking easement on the adjacent parcel, he included the condition that the easement would terminate immediately and without further notice if there was any lapse in the operation of the hotel business, except for a temporary interruption due to a fire or other casualty, and in plaintiff's case, the cessation of operations did not constitute a mere temporary interruption, but rather it terminated the easement and absolved plaintiff of any liability for violating defendant's right to use the easement when plaintiff decided to build a multistory commercial and residential building on that parcel.

For APPELLANT(s): Robert A. Egan, Robert A. Egan, P.C., Chicago, IL.

For APPELLEE(s): Kevin M. Forde, Joanne R. Driscoll, Forde Law Offices LLP, Chicago, IL.

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

OPINION

HOFFMAN, JUSTICE

Page 759

[¶1] The defendant, Westloop Equities, LLC, appeals the circuit court order granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, 527 S. Clinton, LLC, on both counts of the plaintiff's second amended complaint which sought judicial declarations that its proposed development of a multi-story commercial and residential

Page 760

building would not violate an easement held by the defendant. The defendant also argues the circuit court erred in refusing to modify a discovery order entered in the matter. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

[¶2] This is the second time the parties' easement dispute has been before us, and we summarize the basic facts and procedural background of the case from our previous opinion. See 527 S. Clinton, LLC v. Westloop Equities, LLC, 403 Ill.App.3d 42, 932 N.E.2d 1127, 342 Ill.Dec. 666 (2010). The plaintiff is the owner of a parcel of real estate commonly known as 519-527 South Clinton Street in Chicago, Illinois (hereinafter the " Clinton Property" ); the Clinton Property is used as an open-air parking lot. Id. at 44. The defendant owns and operates a hotel upon a parcel of real estate adjacent to the plaintiff's property and is commonly known as 506 West Harrison Street (hereinafter the " Hotel Property" ). Id.

[¶3] Both properties were under common ownership until October 1984, when the Hotel Property was sold to the defendant's predecessor-in-interest. Id. As part of the transaction, the defendant's predecessor-in-interest was granted an easement for (1) ingress and egress to or from the Hotel Property (the dominant estate) through or across the Clinton Property (the servient estate), and (2) for free parking. Id. The easement provided, in relevant part, as follows:

" 1. All persons, by motor vehicle or otherwise, shall have the rights to ingress and egress in perpetuity to or from the property through and/or across the parking facility property, which rights shall not be terminable for any reason.
2. Grantee's registered guests of the hotel and banquet invitees shall have the right to park on the parking facility property at no cost.
3. Patrons of the bar and restaurant inside the subject hotel property shall have the right to park at no cost for a maximum of three (3) hours.
4. The easement for parking in the above Paragraphs 2 and 3 shall be subject to the following terms and conditions, a violation of which shall cause said easement to terminate immediately upon the violation:
(a) The easement will remain in force so long as the property is operated as a hotel. Ceasing to operate the subject hotel as a hotel business shall cause this easement ...

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