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Aliaga Medical Center, S.C. v. Harris Bank N.A.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

November 10, 2014

ALIAGA MEDICAL CENTER, S.C., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
HARRIS BANK N.A., a/k/a BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Defendant-Appellee

Page 1204

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1205

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 L 14567. Honorable Margaret Ann Brennan, Judge Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

The trial court properly dismissed plaintiff's complaint alleging that defendant bank improperly honored a check with preprinted language that the check was " void after 90 days," since plaintiff's claim was barred by the parties' written deposit account agreements and several provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code, including plaintiff's agreement to order defendant in person, online or in writing to stop payment by giving defendant the account number, the check number, the date of the check, the payee's name and the amount by a certain deadline and pay a stop payment fee, and absent compliance with these requirements, defendant could honor the check; furthermore, plaintiff did not file suit within one year from the date the statement was made available.

For APPELLANT, Burch & Associates, Chicago, IL (David Delgado, Dale Smirl, of counsel).

For APPELLEE, Akerman LLP, Chicago, IL (Eric J. Gribbin, Julia R. Lissner, of counsel).

PRESIDING JUSTICE DELORT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hoffman and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 1206

DELORT, PRESIDING JUSTICE

[¶1] This case concerns whether a bank properly honored a check bearing preprinted language stating it was " void after 90 days." It illustrates that bank customers run tremendous risks if they do not reconcile their bank statements in a timely manner. In its first amended complaint, plaintiff Aliaga Medical Center (plaintiff or Aliaga) sought reimbursement of $50,000 that defendant Harris Bank N.A., a/k/a BMO Harris Bank, N.A. (Harris Bank), improperly debited from its checking account when it honored a check containing " void after 90 days" language. Harris Bank moved to dismiss Aliaga's that complaint under section 2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2012)), because the claim was barred by the terms of the parties' written deposit account agreements and several provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) (810 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq. (West 2012)). The circuit court dismissed Aliaga's first amended complaint, and we affirm.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] The facts are essentially uncontested. Aliaga first opened a business checking account with Harris Bank in December 2003. Upon opening the account, Aliaga received the " Harris Bank Handbook for Personal and Business Deposit Accounts," which was effective September 1, 2003. Aliaga acknowledged receipt of the agreement and agreed that it would govern its account with Harris Bank. The introduction section of the agreement confirmed that Aliaga " agree[s] to the terms of this Agreement when [Aliaga] sign[s] [Harris Bank's] account opening form or signature card, make[s] deposits or withdrawals, or leave[s] funds on deposit." [1] In November 2010, Aliaga opened an additional business account and received a " Harris Handbook for Personal and Business Deposit Accounts," which was effective September 18, 2010. Aliaga acknowledged receipt of this agreement and agreed that it would govern its accounts with Harris Bank.[2]

[¶4] The agreement required that if Aliaga wanted to stop payment on a check it had written, the following requirements would apply:

" If you do not want us to pay a check you have written, you can order us to stop payment. You can notify us in person, by Harris Telephone Banking (1-888-340-2265), by Harris Online Banking or by mail to Harris, Attn.: Support, P.O. Box 94033, Palatine, IL 60094-4033. For ...

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