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Inland Commercial Property Management, Inc. v. HOB I Holding Corp.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

April 28, 2015

INLAND COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HOB I HOLDING CORPORATION and the EVA BUZIECKI TRUST, Dated July 12, 2006, Respondents-Appellants (The House of Brides, Inc., and House of Brides World's Largest " On-Line" Wedding Store, Inc., Intervenors-Appellants; HOB Holding Corporation, d/b/a House of Brides, Illinois, Defendant)

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 M5 0309. Honorable Maureen Feerick, Judge Presiding.

For Appellant: Kevin M. Carrarra, Derek M. Johnson, Of Counsel, Rathje & Woodward LLC, Wheaton.

JUSTICE LIU delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion. Presiding Justice Simon dissented, with opinion.

OPINION

Page 796

LIU, JUSTICE.

[¶1] There are four appellants in this consolidated appeal involving two orders entered by the circuit court of Cook County during postjudgment proceedings. HOB I Holding Corporation (HOBI) and the Eva Buziecki Trust, dated July 12, 2006 (the Trust), appeal from an order denying their respective motions for substitution of judge as a matter of right (first appeal). HOBI and the Trust, together with The House of Brides, Inc., and House of Brides World's Largest " On-Line"

Page 797

Wedding Store, Inc., appeal from an order denying a motion to stay proceedings pending resolution of the appeal of the order denying substitution of judge (second appeal). For the following reasons, we dismiss the first appeal for lack of jurisdiction and the second appeal for mootness.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] On March 1, 2012, plaintiff, Inland Commercial Property Management, Inc., filed a forcible entry and detainer complaint against defendant, HOB Holding Corporation, d/b/a House of Brides, Illinois (HOB).[1] The circuit court entered an order of possession and judgment on July 26, 2012 against HOB in favor of plaintiff.

[¶4] Following the entry of judgment, plaintiff commenced supplementary proceedings to enforce the judgment and issued citations to discover assets to various third parties, beginning in late 2012 and ending in early 2013. HOBI and the Trust were named as respondents to these citations. The House of Brides, Inc., and House of Brides World's Largest " On-Line" Wedding Store, Inc. (collectively, Intervenors), subsequently intervened in the postjudgment action.

[¶5] On June 6, 2013, counsel for HOBI filed its appearance and a motion for substitution of judge as a matter of right pursuant to section 2-1001(a)(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1001(a)(2) (West 2012)). The circuit court later entered and continued all motions, including the motion for substitution of judge, until July 8, 2013, for status on the administrative assignment of a new judge to the case. Notwithstanding the continuance, the parties completed briefing on the motion.

[¶6] At the status hearing on July 8, 2013, the parties appeared before the new judge assigned to the matter. HOBI withdrew its motion for substitution and the court entered an order memorializing the withdrawal and entering and continuing all other motions. Subsequently, counsel for HOBI also filed its appearance on behalf of the Trust. The court ordered all parties to complete any and all discovery and to file any and all written motions by August 16, 2013.

[¶7] On March 20, 2014, the original judge was reassigned to the case, and HOBI renewed its motion for substitution of judge that same day. Because the parties had already fully briefed the matter, a hearing on the motion was set for March 27, 2014.

[¶8] Following a hearing, the circuit court denied HOBI's motion for substitution of judge, stating:

" Based on my careful reading of these briefs and an understanding of the issues in this case, at this time I find that the defendant is the principal in all of these subsidiaries. I agree with the argument made by Inland pursuant to City of Granite v. House of Prayers that a motion for substitution of judge may be untimely if the moving party had an opportunity to form an opinion of the court's reaction to his or her claim.
In this case, where one principal is, in fact, the primary agent of all of these parties and has extensive involvement in this litigation as outlined in Inland's motion, the motion is respectfully denied."

Following its ruling on HOBI's motion, the circuit court allowed the Trust to make an oral motion for substitution of judge. This motion was also denied.

[¶9] In its March 27, 2014 order denying both HOBI's and the Trust's ...


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