Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
In re ESTATE OF ANNE M. CARGOLA, Deceased,
Kristen Hoeksema, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Anne M. Cargola, and Diane Briese, Respondents-Appellees. Donna Lynn A. Knorrek, f/k/a Donna Lynn A. Cargola Knorrek, Petitioner-Appellant,
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 P 5580
Honorable James G. Riley, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hoffmann and Justice Delort
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Following the circuit court of Cook County's dismissal
of her complaint to quiet title, petitioner-appellant, Donna
Lynn A. Knorrek (Knorrek) appeals from that dismissal of her
claim for adverse possession. For the following reasons, we
affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.
3 This matter appears before us following a probate
proceeding for the estate of Anne M. Cargola (Cargola).
Cargola died intestate on August 29, 2007. Cargola had only
two heirs: her two daughters, Knorrek and
respondent-appellee, Diane Briese (Briese).
4 On September 27, 2012 Briese filed a complaint, seeking
appointment as the administrator of Cargola's estate. On
November 1, 2012, Knorrek filed an objection to Briese's
complaint and sought appointment of an independent third
party as the administrator of the estate. On November 19,
2012, the circuit court appointed respondent-appellee Kristin
Hoeksema (Hoeksema) as special administrator for
5 At issue in this appeal is Cargola's real property,
located at 1 North Braintree Avenue in Schaumburg, Illinois
(the property). Cargola purchased the property in 1991. The
title and mortgage for the property were both solely in
6 On July 10, 2013, Knorrek filed a three-count complaint in
the circuit court of Cook County for declaratory judgment and
to quiet title. Knorrek sought to remove title to the
property from the estate of Cargola and to vest title in
Knorrek. Count II of the complaint sought to quiet title to
the property through adverse possession. On September 10,
2013, Briese filed a motion to dismiss Knorrek's
complaint pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil
Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2014)). On January 22,
2014, a hearing was held on Briese's motion. The circuit
court granted the motion without prejudice, allowing Knorrek
to amend her complaint.
7 On February 20, 2014, Knorrek filed a four-count amended
complaint to quiet title for the property. Count II of the
amended complaint again sought to quiet title to the property
through adverse possession.
8 In that complaint, Knorrek alleged the following. In 1991,
she was involved in lengthy and acrimonious divorce
proceedings. She sought to purchase the property, but was
concerned that her then-husband would attempt to claim an
interest in the property. In an effort to prevent further
litigation in her divorce proceedings, Knorrek and Cargola
made an arrangement regarding the property. They agreed that
Cargola would purchase and hold title to the property, but
that Knorrek would be the true owner and possessor of the
property. Knorrek transferred the down payment funds to
Cargola, who then made the necessary down payment to obtain
the mortgage, which was in Cargola's name as the sole
borrower. Knorrek has resided at the property since 1991.
Cargola never resided at the property at any time. After the
purchase of the property, Knorrek exclusively paid the
mortgage, all utilities, taxes, and other debts and
liabilities associated with ownership of the property.
Knorrek reimbursed Cargola for any payments she made in
relation to the property. In 2001 and 2003, the mortgage for
the property was refinanced. During both refinances, both
Knorrek and Cargola were listed as borrowers on the note.
Knorrek alleged that she and Cargola both mistakenly believed
this arrangement allowed Knorrek to be the legal owner of the
9 In Count II of her amended complaint, Knorrek requested
that the circuit court find that she is the legal owner of
the property through adverse possession. Knorrek argued that
for a period in excess of 20 years, 1991 through 2014, she
had actual possession of the property openly, continuously,
adversely, and under a claim of title which is inconsistent
with that of Cargola, satisfying the elements of adverse
possession pursuant to section 13-101 of the Limitations Act
(735 ILCS 5/13-101 (West 2014)). Knorrek claimed she met the
hostility element of adverse possession because Cargola never
provided her with permission to reside at the property.
10 On March 5, 2014, Briese filed a motion to dismiss
Knorrek's amended complaint pursuant to section 2-615 and
alleged that Knorrek failed to state a cause of action. In
her motion, Briese argued that Count II of Knorrek's
amended complaint should be dismissed because Knorrek pled
permissive use of the property when she described the
agreement with Cargola. Briese argued that this negated the
hostility element required for an adverse possession claim.
11 On May 27, 2014, a hearing was held on Briese's
motion. The circuit court granted the motion with respect to
Counts I and II of Knorrek's complaint, which were
dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a cause of
action upon which relief can be granted. The circuit court