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Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Inc. v. Rahman

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

June 6, 2017

REVERSE MORTGAGE SOLUTIONS, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
RASHEEDA NAJII ABDUR RAHMAN, Individually; UNKNOWN HEIRS and LEGATEES OF HARVEY T. COLLINS, if Any; UNKNOWN OWNERS and NON RECORD CLAIMANTS; WILLIAM BUTCHER, Special Representative of Deceased; GERALD NORDGREN, Special Representative of the ESTATE OF ROSALIND WYATT COLLINS, Deceased, Defendants-Appellees.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 CH 35163 The Honorable Pamela Myerson, Judge, presiding.

          Justices Pierce and Mason concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HYMAN PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In 1961, Harvey and Rosalind Collins bought a property in Chicago. In 1979, Harvey signed a quitclaim deed, conveying the property to Rosalind. Rosalind died, and Harvey then signed a mortgage, which eventually came into the hands of Reverse Mortgage Solutions (RMS). After Harvey's death, RMS tried to foreclose on the property, but the Collins's daughter, Rasheeda Rahman, fought the foreclosure.

         ¶ 2 We find that the 1979 quitclaim deed contains a sufficient description of the property to convey it from Harvey to Rosalind. But, after Rosalind died intestate, Harvey inherited some portion of the property through Rosalind's estate, which he was able to convey through the mortgage. We remand for further proceedings on RMS's complaint. We also affirm the trial court's denial of Rahman's request for sanctions against RMS.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 In 1961, Harvey and Rosalind Collins, a married couple, purchased property at 1486 East 56th Street, Chicago, as joint tenants. Eighteen years later, in September 1979, Harvey executed a quitclaim deed on the property to Rosalind. The quitclaim deed contains a description of the property with skimpy detail, but notes that Rosalind resides at 1486 E. 56th Street. At the bottom of the quitclaim deed appears the "address of property" as 1486 E. 56th Street (while also stating that "the above address is for statistical purposes only and is not a part of this deed").

         ¶ 5 Rosalind died in May 2003. Harvey continued to reside at the property.

         ¶ 6 In 2006, Harvey executed a "home keeper" mortgage with All America Reverse Mortgage. Harvey received $323, 927.68 in exchange for a mortgage on the property. The mortgage note attached and incorporated a legal description of the property. The mortgage was eventually transferred to Reverse Mortgage Solutions. In July 2011, Harvey died.

         ¶ 7 RMS filed a complaint to foreclose on the property. The complaint also included a count to reform the reverse mortgage Harvey had signed in 2006 because it contained the wrong legal description. The complaint stated that the reformed mortgage should use the property description from the 1979 quitclaim deed (which was attached to the foreclosure complaint).

         ¶ 8 Harvey and Rosalind's daughter, Rasheeda Rahman, moved to dismiss the foreclosure complaint. Rahman alleged that, due to the 1979 quitclaim deed, Harvey did not have title to the property to convey in the 2006 mortgage, and, accordingly, RMS lacked standing to foreclose.

         ¶ 9 RMS then filed an amended complaint for foreclosure and reformation and moved to quiet title, alleging that the 1979 quitclaim deed was a nullity because it did not sufficiently describe the property; thereafter, Harvey inherited the entire property after Rosalind's death. RMS included a count for an equitable lien, alleging that Harvey had represented that he had full title when he acquired the mortgage and RMS should have first claim on the property.

         ¶ 10 Again Rahman moved to dismiss under section 2-619(a)(9) of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2014)), alleging that Harvey lacked full title to the property when he acquired the mortgage due to the 1979 deed. RMS replied by asserting the invalidity of the 1979 deed and arguing that, even if it was valid, Harvey still had a mortgageable interest and RMS was entitled to an equitable lien. The trial court granted Rahman's motion to dismiss, in part holding that the quitclaim deed's description, though incomplete, was legally sufficient. The trial court also held that RMS had alleged only theories, not facts, as to how Harvey had regained interest in the property. The trial court noted that probate law would not have automatically vested interest in real property to Rosalind's heirs, and if Harvey did not have an interest in the property, then he could not have promised that interest in the mortgage. The trial court dismissed the claim for an equitable lien with prejudice, and the counts to foreclose and quiet title without prejudice, while the reformation claim remained pending.

         ¶ 11 RMS filed a third amended complaint to quiet title and for foreclosure, reformation, a declaratory judgment, unjust enrichment, constructive trust, equitable lien, and accounting. Rahman moved to dismiss the quiet title, foreclosure, reformation, and declaratory judgment counts, and answered the other counts. In responding, RMS included an affidavit from Richard Bales, a lawyer for a title company. Bales stated that he had reviewed the relevant documents, and based on his review, "the 1979 deed conveyance is ambiguous on its face." The trial court dismissed the quiet title, foreclosure, reformation, and declaratory judgment counts with prejudice. The trial court held that the 1979 quitclaim deed was ...


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