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Gelinas v. The Barry Quadrangle Condominium Association

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

February 14, 2017

MATTHEW GELINAS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
THE BARRY QUADRANGLE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, NAEEM SIDDIQUI, JOHN TENFELDER, SYLVIA FRANKE, KURT GRUENBERG, NICK BRINKER, STU KIESOW, MIKE TENZILLO, and DAVID HAGELE, Defendants-Appellees.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 14 CH 3732 Honorable Franklin U. Valderrama, Judge Presiding.

          CONNORS PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Harris and Mikva concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CONNORS PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Plaintiff, Matthew Gelinas, appeals the circuit court's order that granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice brought by defendants, his condominium association and its board of directors. Plaintiff contends that the circuit court erred when it determined that the condominium association's bylaws and declarations and the Condominium Property Act (Act) (765 ILCS 605/1 et seq. (West 2012)), allowed the condominium association to assess an insurance deductible to a single unit owner. Defendants assert that the complaint was properly dismissed because the bylaws, declarations, and the Act authorized plaintiff to be charged the amount "not covered by insurance." We agree with defendants and affirm the trial court's ruling.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 This case arises from a dispute between plaintiff, the owner of a unit located at 841 West Barry Avenue in Chicago, and defendants, plaintiff's condominium association-the Barry Quadrangle Condominium Association (Association)-and members of its board of directors (Board), as result of a fire that originated in plaintiff's unit and caused damage to the building. Due to the limited nature of the record on appeal, our recitation of the background of this case primarily stems from the allegations contained in plaintiff's second amended complaint.[1]]

         ¶ 4 On June 2, 2012, a fire that originated in plaintiff's unit damaged some of the structure and the common areas of one of the buildings of the Barry Quadrangle Condominiums. As a result, the Board made a claim of loss with the Association's insurer, which was accepted. Plaintiff's second amended complaint alleged that the Association profited and received a windfall from the insurer's payout. Specifically, in relevant part, Plaintiff's second amended complaint alleged the following:

"28. On information and belief, the insurer estimated the actual cash value of the Association's claim to be approximately $202,000.00.
29. On information and belief, based upon that estimate, the insurer tendered the Board and the Association $192,000.00 to repair and replace the fire-damaged property.
30. On information and belief, the $192,000.00 represented the actual cash value of the Association's claim, minus the $10,000.00 deductible.
31. On information and belief, the Board and the Association accepted those funds and began to repair and replace the fire-damaged property.
32. On information and belief, the cost of repairing and replacing the fire-damaged property ended up being only $152,000.00, resulting in a $40,000.00 profit/windfall to the Board and the Association from the insurance proceeds.
33. On information and belief, as a result of the profit/windfall, the Board and Association were never required to advance a $10,000.00 deductible.
34. Accordingly, any determination by the Board and the Association to pursue to the $10,000.00 deductible from Gelinas, would necessarily have not been an act to recoup the deductible, but rather an effort to profit off the insurer and Gelinas."

         ¶ 5 According to plaintiff's second amended complaint, on September 26, 2013, plaintiff received an email containing correspondence that was purportedly sent to him by the Association on September 23, 2013. The Association's correspondence allegedly informed plaintiff that he was being assessed $10,000.00 as reimbursement due the Association for the deductible it had paid.[2] Plaintiff requested a hearing to contest the validity of the "charge-back" for the deductible. Plaintiff's second amended complaint alleged that on October 21, 2013, plaintiff was informed via email that the Board had scheduled the hearing for October 23, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Plaintiff further alleged that when the hearing was conducted, it was a closed meeting and he was the only Association member who had been given notice. Also, plaintiff alleged that after the hearing, the Board failed to vote on the issue of whether he should validly incur the $10,000 charge-back. On October 29, 2013, plaintiff was informed he was being assessed the $10,000 deductible.

         ¶ 6 Plaintiff submitted a check dated February 11, 2014, for $10,000. He subsequently filed his original complaint in circuit court on March 4, 2014. The parties conducted some discovery and engaged in motion practice, with defendants filing two motions to dismiss prior to the motion to dismiss that is at issue here. The court granted in part and denied in part defendant's first motion to dismiss on October 6, 2014. Subsequently, plaintiff sought and was granted leave to file his first amended complaint. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint and the court again granted it in part and denied it in part. In doing so, the court also granted plaintiff leave to file his second amended complaint, which he did on July 23, 2015. Plaintiff's second amended complaint contained the following five counts: (I) constructive trust against the Association and the Board; (II) breach of contract against the Association and the Board; (III) breach of fiduciary duty against the Association and the Board; (IV) punitive damages against the Association and the Board; and (V) action to compel examination of records against the Association and the Board. Count V[3] was brought pursuant to sections 19(a)(1-5) and (b) of the Act, which requires an association's board of managers to keep and maintain certain records and also grants all members of an association the right to inspect, examine, and make ...


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