Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
AMA REALTY GROUP OF ILLINOIS, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff-Appellant,
MELVIN M. KAPLAN REALTY, INC., Defendant-Appellee
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 L 12019. Honorable Margaret A. Brennan, Judge Presiding.
For Appellant: Daniel J. Voelker, Esq., Alexander N. Loftus, Esq., Voelker Litigation Group, Chicago.
For Appellee: Kevin A. Sterling, Esq., Laura Newcomer Cohen, Esq., The Sterling Law Office, Chicago.
LIU, JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Simon and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] This dispute arises out of an exclusive listing agreement between plaintiff, AMA Realty Group of Illinois, LLC (AMA), and defendant, Melvin M. Kaplan Realty, Inc. (Kaplan), for the sale of a multi-unit apartment building that AMA owned. AMA filed this lawsuit, alleging slander of title, after Kaplan recorded a broker's lien against the property. Kaplan countersued, alleging that AMA breached the listing agreement by negotiating directly with the purchaser and subsequently concealing these negotiations. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Kaplan on its counterclaim and denied AMA relief on the slander of title claim. AMA appeals from the order of summary judgment. We affirm.
[¶3] A. The Listing Agreement
[¶4] The facts of this case are largely undisputed. AMA and Kaplan were opposing parties in a previous lawsuit involving an unpaid sales commission. On January 26, 2009, as a settlement of that dispute, AMA and Kaplan entered into an exclusive listing agreement pursuant to which Kaplan agreed to market and sell the Rosenwald Apartments, a multi-unit building owned by AMA (the property).
[¶5] The term of the listing agreement was one year, from January 26, 2009 to 11:59 p.m. on January 25, 2010. Pertinent to this appeal, the agreement provided as follows:
" 1. In consideration of the services to be performed by Melvin Kaplan Realty, Inc. (Brokerage Company, hereinafter referred to as 'Broker'), and the commissions to be paid by AMA Realty Group of Illinois, LLC ('Seller') the parties agree that Broker shall have the exclusive right to market and sell Seller's property upon the following terms and conditions:
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13. Seller agrees to immediately refer to Seller's Designated Agent, all prospective purchasers or brokers who contact Seller for any reason and to provide Seller's Designated Agent with ...