from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 15-CH-1411
Honorable Paul M. Fullerton, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE SCHOSTOK delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hudson and Justice Spence
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Plaintiff, Violetta Jaworski, appeals from the dismissal of
her claim to quiet title to a garage in her condominium
complex. She contends that her claim should not have been
dismissed on res judicata grounds, as the prior
action, initiated by defendant Danuta Skassa (defendant), did
not result in a final judgment or decide the issue of
ownership of the garage. Because defendant believes that
plaintiff has filed this appeal for improper purposes,
defendant asks this court to impose sanctions against
plaintiff. For the reasons that follow, we affirm, but we
deny defendant's request to impose sanctions.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 Defendants Richard Ferrari, Robert Ferrari, and Phillip
Ferrari developed the St. Charles condominiums in
Bensenville, which complex is comprised of 24 condominiums
and 25 garages. When the project was completed, Robert lived
in unit 1H. Pursuant to the plat of survey and the
declarations, Robert, as the owner of unit 1H, had use of
garages 1H and 1HA.
4 Thereafter, unit 1H was conveyed to Regina Sokolowski.
However, plaintiff, who lived in unit 2H, alleged that garage
1H was not conveyed to Sokolowski. On December 23, 2013,
Sokolowski sold her property to defendant and her husband. On
May 21, 2014, the Ferraris sold garage 1H to plaintiff for
$6, 500. Approximately one year later, on May 7, 2015,
defendant filed a forcible entry and detainer action against
plaintiff, seeking possession of garage 1H.
5 At trial on the forcible entry and detainer action,
plaintiff advised the court that "we have [a] dispute
over garage space, to know who is the rightful owner of the
garage space." In response, although defendant initially
advised the court that the nature of the claim was
"possession only for a garage space, " she later
indicated that "ownership is an issue."
6 The trial court entered judgment in defendant's favor.
In doing so, the court noted that "what controls here
legally is the plat of survey, which is incorporated into the
deed." The court noted that "[i]t was never
changed, by [plaintiff's] own admission, and that assigns
garages designated by the letter to the condominium, also
designated by that letter." Accordingly,
"[defendant and her husband] are owners of Condominium
H[, and] therefore, they are owners of both garages
designated by letter H."
7 Although plaintiff was advised of her right to appeal, she
filed neither a posttrial motion nor a notice of appeal in
the forcible entry and detainer case. Rather, within one
month after the court granted defendant possession of the
garage, plaintiff filed a complaint to, among other things,
quiet title to the garage. Defendant moved to dismiss that
case, arguing that res judicata barred
plaintiff's cause of action. See 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(4)
(West 2014). The trial court granted the motion, and after
the other counts in plaintiff's complaint were dismissed,
this timely appeal followed.
8 II. ANALYSIS
9 At issue in this appeal is whether the dismissal of
plaintiff's action on res judicata grounds was
proper. We are also asked to consider imposing sanctions
against plaintiff for filing this appeal. We address each
issue in turn.
10 The first issue we consider is whether the dismissal of
plaintiff's action was proper. As noted, defendant moved
to dismiss the action pursuant to section 2-619(a)(4) of the
Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(4) (West 2014)).
A section 2-619(a)(4) motion to dismiss admits the legal
sufficiency of a plaintiff's allegations but asserts that
res judicata defeats the claim presented.
Winters v. Wangler, 386 Ill.App.3d 788, 792 (2008).
Res judicata precludes the relitigation of claims
previously decided if "(1) a final judgment on the
merits has been rendered by a court of competent
jurisdiction; (2) an identity of cause of action exists; and
(3) the parties or their privies are identical in both
actions." Hudson v. City of Chicago, 228 Ill.2d
462, 467 (2008). We review de novo a dismissal
pursuant to section 2-619(a)(4). Morris B. Chapman &
Associates v. Kitzman, 193 Ill.2d 560, 565 (2000).
11 Plaintiff argues that res judicata should not bar
her quiet-title action, because there was no final judgment
entered in the forcible entry and detainer action and ...