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In re Application for a Tax Deed

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

November 22, 2016

In re APPLICATION FOR A TAX DEED Opal Castleman, Petitioner; Jerry Jean, Stewart Producers, Inc., Washington County Clerk, Evelyn M. Fair, Unknown Owners or Parties Interested, and Non-Record Claimants, Respondents; SI Resources, LLC, Section 2-1203 Petitioner-Appellant; William Groome, Intervenor-Appellee.

          Rule 23 Order Filed: October 13, 2016

          Motion to Publish Granted: November 22, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Washington County. No. 14-TX-11 Honorable Daniel J. Emge, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant Mindy S. Salyer, Amanda L. Moressi, Brittney B. Rykovich, Salyer Law Offices, LLC

          Attorney for Appellee Paul T. Slocomb, Hoffman & Slocomb, LLC

          JUSTICE MOORE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Schwarm and Justice Goldenhersh concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          MOORE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 SI Resources, LLC, appeals the November 16, 2015, order of the circuit court of Washington County which granted the intervenor, William Groome's, motion to dismiss, pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (the Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2014)), SI Resources' petition to vacate, pursuant to section 2-1203 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-1203 (West 2014)), the circuit court's previous order directing the issuance of a tax deed to the petitioner, Opal Castleman. For the following reasons, we dismiss this appeal for a lack of jurisdiction.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 On September 19, 2014, Castleman filed a pro se petition for tax deed in the circuit court of Washington County, naming the following respondents: Jerry Jean, Stewart Producers, Inc., Washington County Clerk, Evelyn M. Fair, unknown owners or interested parties, and non-record claimants. The petition alleged that Castleman had purchased the delinquent real estate taxes with respect to all oil, gas, and other mineral rights related to parcel number 07-72-23-000-052-00, located in Washington County. According to the petition and the attachments thereto, the redemption period for these mineral rights expired on February 25, 2015. The circuit court issued an order directing the issuance of the tax deed on March 4, 2015.

         ¶ 4 On April 2, 2015, SI Resources filed a petition, pursuant to section 2-1203 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-1203 (West 2014)), to vacate the March 4, 2015, order directing the issuance of a tax deed. According to the petition and exhibits attached thereto, SI Resources purchased the mineral rights to the subject real estate from Jean via quit claim deed on March 27, 2015. The petition alleged that the order directing the issuance of a tax deed must be vacated because Castleman failed to strictly comply with the mandatory notice, service, and diligence requirements set forth in sections 22-5 through 22-40 of the Property Tax Code. 35 ILCS 200/22-5 to 22-40 (West 2014).

         ¶ 5 On July 1, 2015, Groome filed a motion to intervene in the litigation, alleging that he obtained a quit claim deed to the mineral rights in the subject property from Castleman, and the circuit court granted the motion to intervene that same date. On September 10, 2015, Groome filed a motion, pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2014)), to dismiss SI Resources' petition to vacate the order directing the issuance of a tax deed. On November 16, 2015, the circuit court entered an order granting the motion to dismiss. SI Resources filed a notice of appeal on November 24, 2015.

         ¶ 6 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 7 "As an appellate court, we have the duty to consider our jurisdiction to decide an appeal and to dismiss the appeal if we find that jurisdiction is lacking." MidFirst Bank v. McNeal, 2016 IL App (1st) 150465, ΒΆ 12. In this case, SI Resources was not a party to the proceedings resulting in the circuit court's order directing the issuance of the tax deed on March 4, 2015, having no interest in the subject property during the pendency of those proceedings. On April 2, 2015, without seeking leave to intervene using the procedures set forth in section 2-408 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-408 (West 2014)), SI Resources filed a postjudgment ...


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