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Chicago Title Ins. Co. v. Bass

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

April 27, 2015

CHICAGO TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, Individually and as Subrogee for William Baczek, Jan W. Baczek, and Andrea M. Baczek, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BENJAMIN J. BASS, Individually and d/b/a Property Group, Defendant-Appellee

Page 445

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 2012 L 004198. Honorable Sanjay Tailor, Judge Presiding.

For APPELLANT: Kindwald Law Offices, P.C., Chicago, IL (Donald J. Kindwald, of counsel).

For APPELLEE: Reiter Law Offices, Ltd., Chicago, IL (Gregory M. Reiter and Lynnette E. Lockwitz, of counsel).

JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cunningham and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Page 446

OPINION

HARRIS, JUSTICE.

[¶1] Plaintiff, Chicago Title Insurance Company (Chicago Title), appeals the order of the circuit court granting defendant Benjamin Bass's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's complaint for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. On appeal, Chicago Title contends the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Bass where it paid out proceeds in accordance with its title insurance policy issued to the Baczeks and thus became an assignee and subrogee for the Baczeks' claim against Bass for breach of warranty. Alternatively, Chicago Title argues that Bass was unjustly enriched when the Baczeks gave him $65,000 and in return they received a worthless warranty deed. For the following reasons, we affirm.

[¶2] JURISDICTION

[¶3] The trial court granted Bass's motion for summary judgment on March 18, 2014. Chicago Title filed its notice of appeal on March 26, 2014. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules 301 and 303 governing appeals from final judgments entered below. Ill. S.Ct. R. 301 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994); R. 303 (eff. May 30, 2008).

[¶4] BACKGROUND

[¶5] This appeal stems from tax proceedings conducted on property located at 522 E. Washington Street in Round Lake Park, Illinois. The property includes a commercial building. On July 6, 1984, Patricia and Richard Kelver owned the subject property as joint tenants. On November 20, 2003, the Kelvers allegedly signed an agreement to sell the Washington Street property to William and Jan Baczek for $140,000. A dispute over the sale subsequently arose and the Kelvers failed to close on the contract. Meanwhile, the Baczeks continued to claim an interest in the property. In August 2004, they recorded a " Memorandum of Sale" with Lake County. By recording this interest in the property, the Baczeks effectively created a cloud on its title. On February 25, 2005, the Baczeks filed suit against the Kelvers for specific performance of the

Page 447

sales contract. On April 22, 2005, the Baczeks recorded a lis pendens notice on the property. Richard passed away on March 30, 2005, and thereafter ...


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