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Morningside North Apartments I, LLC v. 1000 N. LaSalle, LLC

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

March 24, 2017

MORNINGSIDE NORTH APARTMENTS I, LLC, as successor in interest to NORTHWEST HOME FOR THE AGED, Plaintiff- Appellee,
v.
1000 N. LaSALLE, LLC, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 13 CH 16609 Honorable Rodolfo Garcia, Judge, Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Rochford and Delort concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HOFFMAN PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The defendant, 1000 N. LaSalle, LLC, appeals from an order of the trial court which granted a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Morningside North Apartments I, LLC, on the plaintiff's complaint for declaratory judgment and denied its cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons which follow, we reverse the summary judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff, affirm the denial of the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and remand the matter for further proceedings.

         ¶ 2 Emerging from the pleadings and evidentiary material of record is the following factual scenario which is essentially uncontradicted. The plaintiff is the owner of the property commonly known as 170 West Oak Street, Chicago, Illinois (hereinafter referred to as the "Morningside Property") which includes a parking lot with 69 parking spaces. The plaintiff acquired its interest in the Morningside Property by warranty deed from the Northwest Home for the Aged (Northwest). The defendant is the owner of the property commonly known as 1000 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois (hereinafter referred to as the "1000 North Property") which it acquired from Capital Associates Development Corporation (Capital). The Morningside property is located immediately adjacent to the 1000 North Property.

         ¶ 3 On March 18, 1998, Northwest, the then owner of the Morningside Property, and Capital, the then owner of the 1000 North Property, entered into a license agreement (the 1998 Agreement) covering a portion of the Morningside Property (hereinafter referred to as the License Parcel). By the terms of the 1998 Agreement, the License Parcel is "commonly referred to as parking spaces numbers 50-69 for parking, ingress and egress by motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic to and from Parcel No. 2 [1000 North Property ]." The 20 parking spaces located within the License Parcel abut the western property line of the 1000 North Property.

         ¶ 4 Capital assigned its interest under the 1998 Agreement to the defendant on June 30, 1998, when it transferred title to the 1000 North Property. Since that time, the defendant has rented the 20 parking spaces included in the License Parcel to the residents of the 1000 North LaSalle Apartments which is located on the 1000 North Property. When the plaintiff acquired the Morningside Property from Northwest on January 16, 2013, it became the successor-in-interest to Northwest in the 1998 Agreement. Thereafter, the plaintiff demanded that the defendant cease renting the 20 parking spaces included in the License Parcel, but the defendant refused.

         ¶ 5 The plaintiff instituted the instant action, seeking a declaration that the 1998 Agreement is void for lack of consideration or, in the alternative, a declaration that the 1998 Agreement conveyed only a nonexclusive license to use the 20 parking spaces. The defendant answered the complaint, asserting that the 1998 Agreement is supported by consideration and granted to its predecessor-in-interest an exclusive license to use the 20 parking spaces.

         ¶ 6 The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to section 2-1005(b) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1005(b) (West 2014)), seeking a declaration that the 1998 Agreement is valid and enforceable and that, under the terms of the contract, it has the exclusive right to direct the use of the 20 parking spaces located in the License Parcel. The plaintiff filed a "Motion for Summary Determination" pursuant to section 2-1005(d) of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-1005(d) (West 2014)), seeking a summary determination, "declaring that, to the extent the *** [1998 Agreement] is valid, the defendant has only non-exclusive use of the [20] parking spaces under the *** [1998 Agreement] and cannot exclude the plaintiff or its invitees from using those parking spaces." In response to the defendant's motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff reasserted its argument that the 1998 Agreement is void for lack of consideration.

         ¶ 7 The parties agreed, and the trial court concurred, that there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute and, therefore, the matter should be resolved by summary judgment. After consideration of the parties' motions and supporting memorandums, and following the arguments of their respective counsel, the trial court entered an order (1) granting the plaintiff's "motion for summary determination, " finding that the 1998 Agreement conveyed a nonexclusive license over the 20 parking spaces located in the License Parcel, and (2) denying the defendant's motion for summary judgment. In addition, the order states that the plaintiff sought no further relief, and the parties agreed that the order terminated the litigation. This appeal followed.

         ¶ 8 Before addressing the defendant's assignment of error, we comment briefly on the procedural posture of this case and the effect of the trial court's order granting the plaintiff's motion. As noted earlier, the plaintiff filed a motion for a summary determination pursuant to section 2-1005(d) of the Code. However, an examination of the plaintiff's motion and the relief sought therein reveals that the motion was in reality a motion for summary judgment pursuant to section 2-1005(a) of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-1005(a) (West 2014)). Section 2-1005(d) of the Code authorizes the court, if it determines that:

"there is no genuine issue of material fact as to one or more of the major issues in the case, but that substantial controversy exists with respect to other major issues, *** [to] draw an order specifying the major issue or issues that appear without substantial controversy, and directing such further proceedings upon the remaining undetermined issues as are just." 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(d) (West 2014).

         By its very nature, any order entered pursuant to section 2-1005(d) is interlocutory, providing only that the facts specified in the order "shall be deemed established, and the trial shall be conducted accordingly." Id. In contrast, a motion brought pursuant to section 2-1005(a) seeks a summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff for all or any part of the relief sought in its complaint. 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(a) (West 2014). The relief available under these two subsections affects the appealability of any order which the trial court may enter. An order entered pursuant to section 2-1005(a) may well be a final order, appealable under Illinois Supreme Court Rules 301 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994) and 303 (eff. Jan. 1, 2015) or Rule 304(a) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010). An order entered pursuant to section 2-1005(d), however, is not a final order as it does not dispose of a claim. Such an order is interlocutory and, therefore, not appealable. In this case, however, it is clear that, regardless of how the plaintiff labeled its motion, the trial court granted the plaintiff all of the relief that it requested in its complaint; a summary judgment, not a summary determination. The trial court's order disposed of the instant case in its entirety. It is, therefore, a final order, giving rise to our jurisdiction under Illinois Supreme Court Rules 301 and 303; not under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a) as suggested by the plaintiff.

         ¶ 9 By this appeal, the defendant seeks both a reversal of the summary judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff and a reversal of the trial court's denial of its motion for summary judgment. We, therefore, conduct a de novo review. Outboar ...


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