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Holmon v. Village of Alorton

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

October 19, 2016

LARKIN HOLMON, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Taymond Freeman, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
THE VILLAGE OF ALORTON, Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County No. 14-L-136 Honorable Randall W. Kelley, Judge, presiding.

          Attorney for Appellant George R. Ripplinger, Ripplinger & Zimmer, LLC,

          Attorney for Appellee Charles W. Courtney, Jr., Alana I. Mejias, Jayni A. Desai, Courtney, for Clark & Mejias, P.C.,

          PRESIDING JUSTICE SCHWARM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.Justices Cates and Moore concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          Honorable S. Gene Schwarm, P.J.

         ¶ 1 Larkin Holmon, administrator of the estate of Taymond Freeman, appeals from the circuit court's order denying Holmon's motion for partial summary judgment and granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by the Village of Alorton, the appellee. The appellant seeks to rescind an agreed-upon bankruptcy plan under which the appellee was to make payments to Freeman's estate. We affirm the circuit court's decision denying the appellant's motion for partial summary judgment and granting the appellee's motion for judgment on the pleadings as it relates solely to the issue of rescission. We remand for further proceedings allowing the appellant to enforce the bankruptcy plan payment provisions.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On May 31, 1999, Taymond Freeman was shot by Thomas McGowan, a police officer employed by the appellee. On March 7, 2005, a bench trial was held, in which Freeman brought, against McGowan, claims of battery and claims relating to violations of his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and his right to be afforded due process of law. On March 23, 2005, a judgment was entered in favor of Freeman and against McGowan in the amount of $978, 874.40 plus costs of $1821.18. In its judgment, the circuit court held that McGowan's conduct was not willful, therefore making the appellee liable to reimburse McGowan for the damages awarded.

         ¶ 4 On January 6, 2005, the appellee filed a chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding (11 U.S.C. § 901 et seq. (2000)) in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Freeman was the appellee's largest creditor. Due to the size of his claim, if Freeman did not vote to approve the appellee's chapter 9 plan of adjustment in bankruptcy, the plan would not be approved. Freeman agreed to the appellee's amended plan of adjustment, which established a new class of creditors, "Class 7, " consisting solely of Freeman. Under this amended plan, Freeman was to receive a total of $600, 000, payable in monthly installments of $2500 over 20 years, with the first payment due on the sixty-first month following the confirmation of the appellee's bankruptcy plan. ¶ 5 Section 5.06 of the amended plan of adjustment, which addressed payment of Freeman's claim, provided as follows:

"5.06 Class 7: The creditor in this class consists of the claim for an outstanding judgment against the Debtor in favor of Taymond Freeman. The creditor will receive $600, 000.00 of his entire claim, to be paid in monthly installments of $2, 500 for a period of twenty (20) years, first payment to be made on the 61st month (5 years) following the date of confirmation of the Plan, then $2, 500 each month thereafter for the remaining twenty (20) years."

         ¶ 6 Another pertinent part of the amended plan of adjustment, section 7.01, dealing with the effect of the plan on confirmation, provided as follows:

"The distributions and rights afforded in this Plan shall be in complete satisfaction, discharge and release, effective on the Confirmation Date (hereinafter 'Discharge Date'), of all Claims against and Interests in the Debtor or any of the assets or properties of the Debtor of any nature whatsoever. Commencing on the Discharge Date, all Claimholders and Interestholders shall be precluded forever from asserting against the Debtor, or the reorganized Debtor, or the respective assets and properties, any other or further liabilities, liens, obligations, causes of action, claims or equity interests, including but not limited to all principal and accrued and unpaid interest on the debts of the Debtor based upon any act or omission, transaction or other activity or security instrument or other agreement of any kind or nature occurring, arising or existing prior to the Discharge Date, that was or could have been the subject of any Claim or Interest, whether or not Allowed, except with respect to classes of claims unimpaired pursuant to this Plan, said classes of claims and claimholders therein having been fully satisfied. As of the Discharge Date, the Debtor shall be discharged and released from, and the Debtor shall hold all assets and properties received or retained by it pursuant to this Plan free of all liabilities, liens, claims and obligations or other claims of any nature, including but not limited to equity interests, known or unknown, except classes of claims unimpaired pursuant to this Plan, and any liens, liabilities, obligations or other claims expressly authorized under this Plan or created by or preserved under this Plan or arising after the Discharge Date. All legal or other proceedings and actions seeking to establish or enforce liabilities, liens, claims, equity interests or obligations of any nature as against the Debtor or assets or properties received or retained by the Debtor with respect to debts and obligations, if any, arising before the Discharge Date shall be permanently stayed and enjoined, except as otherwise specifically provided in this Plan.

         " ¶ 7 On December 11, 2006, the amended plan of adjustment was confirmed, and on April 4, 2007, the bankruptcy court filed an order closing the bankruptcy case.

         ¶ 8 Subsequent to the confirmation of the amended plan of adjustment and prior to any payments being made under the plan, a judgment in the amount of $346, 000 was entered against Freeman in favor of Stacy Goodlow in Goodlow v. Freeman, No. 06-L-531 (Cir. Ct. St. Clair Co.). On January 14, 2009, the circuit court entered an order in this case, which redirected a portion of the bankruptcy plan payments to Stacy Goodlow in satisfaction of her judgment against Freeman. Under this order, the appellee would pay $400, 000 of the $600, 000 to Goodlow and a maximum of $200, 000 of the $600, 000 to Freeman. Accordingly, two-thirds of the monthly plan payments would go to Goodlow and one-third to Freeman. On March 12, 2009, Freeman was murdered. On May 14, ...


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