United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss or for
More Definite Statement (d/e 4) filed by Defendant Union
Pacific Railroad Company. The Motion is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff has sufficiently pleaded a claim
for mutual mistake. Plaintiff's fraud claim is DISMISSED
without prejudice and with leave to replead.
April 2016, Plaintiff Isringhausen Imports, Inc. filed a
Complaint in the Circuit Court of the Seventh Judicial
Circuit, Sangamon County, Illinois. Defendant was served with
the Complaint on May 9, 2016. On June 8, 2016, Defendant
timely filed a Notice of Removal (d/e 1). Plaintiff did not
object to removal. See Pl.'s Consent to Removal
following facts come from Plaintiff's Complaint and are
accepted as true at the motion to dismiss stage. Tamayo
v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
operates a business at 229 East Jefferson, Springfield,
Illinois. Defendant operates a railroad along Third Street in
March 11, 2004, the parties entered into a lease of a 7, 500
square foot parcel of Third Street between Washington and
Jefferson Streets, adjacent to Plaintiff's facility.
Compl. ¶ 3. The purpose of the lease was to allow
Plaintiff to park vehicles on the parcel and use the parcel
for ingress and egress to Plaintiff's facility.
the lease was entered, Defendant asserted it owned the parcel
or otherwise had the exclusive right to possession of the
parcel. Consequently, Defendant required Plaintiff to pay
rent to use the parcel. The initial rent under the lease was
$750 per month. Between March 11, 2004 and September 30,
2015, Plaintiff paid rent to the Defendant in increasing
monthly amounts, totaling $123, 116 in rent during that time.
September 15, 2015, Defendant sent Plaintiff a proposed new
lease agreement for $1, 385 per month. In October 2015,
Plaintiff learned that Defendant did not own or otherwise
have the exclusive right to possession of the parcel and had
no right to charge Plaintiff rent. Specifically, Plaintiff
investigated the original 1851 City of Springfield grant of
right of way to the railroad and learned that the right of
way excluded a strip of land 10 feet wide on each side of
Third Street. In addition, subsequent ordinances first passed
in 1865 provided that all railroads making use of the streets
in the City of Springfield were required to leave open and
unobstructed for public access those parts of the street on
either side of the railroad tracks. Plaintiff contacted
Defendant with this information, but Defendant has been
unwilling to reimburse Plaintiff for the rent previously
asserts that the lease is voidable because of the
parties' mutual mistake that Defendant owned or otherwise
had the right to exclusive possession of the parcel and was
entitled to rent for Plaintiff's use of the parcel.
Alternatively, Plaintiff alleges that, if Defendant was not
mistaken, the lease is voidable because Defendant
fraudulently induced Plaintiff to pay rent. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant falsely represented it owned or otherwise had
the right to exclusive possession of the parcel and was
entitled to rent for Plaintiff's use of the parcel, knew
such representation was false, that such representation was
intended to induce and did induce Plaintiff to pay rent, and
that Plaintiff was damaged by paying rent to Defendant that
Defendant was not entitled to receive. Compl. ¶ 12.
Plaintiff seeks judgment against Defendant in the amount of
$123, 116 plus interest.
8, 2016, Defendant filed its Motion to Dismiss or for More
Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). Specifically, complete diversity exists
between the parties. Plaintiff is an Illinois corporation
with its principal place of business in Springfield,
Illinois. Compl. ¶ 1. Defendant is incorporated under
the laws of the State of Delaware and has its principal place
of business in Omaha, Nebraska. Notice of Removal ¶
2(b). In addition, the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000
exclusive of interest and costs. In the Complaint, Plaintiff
seeks the amount of rent payments at issue, which totals
$123, 116. Compl. ¶ 7, Prayer for Relief.
is proper in this district because a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred in this
judicial district or a substantial part of the property that
is the subject of the action is situated in this district. 28
U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2). Moreover, removal to this Court was
proper because it is “the district and ...