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Ammar v. Schiller, Ducanto And Fleck, LLP
Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
December 22, 2017
ESSAM A. AMMAR, Plaintiff-Appellant,
SCHILLER, DUCANTO AND FLECK, LLP, CHARLES J. FLECK, ESQ., RINELLA AND RINELLA, LTD., JOSEPH PHELPS, ESQ., GRUND AND LEAVITT, PC, DAVID I. GRUND, ESQ., JACQUELINE I. AMMAR, LEVIN AND BREND, PC, JEFFREY W. BREND, ESQ., TD AMERITRADE, INC., J. THOMAS BRADLEY, JR., REED, CENTRACCHIO AND ASSOCIATES, LLC, BRYAN
REED, ESQ., MANDAS LAW OFFICES, LLC, AND LEAH MANDAS, ESQ., Defendants (Jacqueline I. Ammar, TD Ameritrade, Inc, and J. Thomas Bradley, Jr., Defendants-Appellees.)
from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 14 L 272 Honorable
Larry G. Axelrood, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE HALL delivered the opinion of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Reyes and Justice Rochford
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 The plaintiff, Essam A. Ammar, pro se, appeals
from the dismissal with prejudice of his fourth amended
complaint against defendants, Jacqueline I. Ammar
(Jacqueline), TD Ameritrade, Inc. and J. Thomas Bradley, Jr.,
president of Ameritrade, Inc. (collectively
Ameritrade). On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the
dismissal with prejudice was error, raising 10 issues in
support of his contention. For reasons set forth below, we
dismiss the appeal.
3 On May 17, 2016, the plaintiff, pro se, filed a
verified fourth amended seven-count complaint against
Jacqueline, Ameritrade and the law firms and attorneys that
had represented the plaintiff or Jacqueline during the
proceedings to dissolve their marriage. The instant
appeal concerns counts IV and V directed against Jacqueline
and count VII directed against Ameritrade.
4 In count IV, the plaintiff alleged that Jacqueline
committed a fraud on the court in the dissolution proceedings
by making misrepresentations to induce the court to award her
the plaintiff's non-marital property. In count V, the
plaintiff alleged that Jacqueline breached the terms of the
marital settlement agreement by obtaining an award of
attorney fees against the plaintiff and that her seizure of
funds from the plaintiff's retirement accounts to satisfy
her judgments against him violated section 12-1006 of the
Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/12-1006 (West 2012)
5 In count VII, the plaintiff alleged multiple claims against
Ameritrade including fraudulent entrustment and concealment
of material facts, violations of trust and confidence, breach
of the agreement between the plaintiff and Ameritrade and the
seizing of exempt funds. The plaintiff alleged that
Ameritrade violated its duty to protect the plaintiff's
retirement accounts when it concealed from the plaintiff the
existence of an injunction placed on his retirement accounts,
misled the plaintiff in his effort to lift the injunction and
transferred the funds in the plaintiff's retirement
accounts to satisfy judgments owed to Jacqueline.
6 Jacqueline and Ameritrade each filed a combined motion to
dismiss pursuant to section 2-619.1 of the Code (735 ILCS
5/2-619.1 (West 2014)). Jacqueline maintained that counts IV
and V of the fourth amended complaint did not state causes of
action. See 735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2014)). She further
maintained that counts IV and V should be dismissed on
res judicata grounds. See 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(4)
(West 2014)). Ameritrade maintained that count VII failed to
state a cause of action for any of the claims the plaintiff
asserted against it (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2014)), and its
actions were taken pursuant to court orders. See 735 ILCS
5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2014) (claim barred by other affirmative
matter avoiding the legal effect or defeating the claim).
7 On October 13, 2016, the circuit court dismissed counts IV,
V and VII of the verified fourth amended complaint with
prejudice for failure to state causes of action. The court
made a finding pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a)
(Ill. S.Ct. R. 304(a) (eff. March 8, 2016)) that there was no
reason to delay enforcement or appeal of the dismissal with
8 The plaintiff appeals from the October 13, 2016, order of
the circuit court.
10 Jacqueline and Ameritrade maintain that the
plaintiff's appeal should be dismissed because his
opening brief violates Illinois Supreme Court Rules 341 (eff.
July 1, 2017) and 342 (eff. Jan. 1, 2005). We agree.
11 The purpose of the appellate rules of procedure is to
require the parties before the reviewing court to present
clear and orderly arguments so that the court can properly
ascertain and dispose of the issues presented. Hall v.
Naper Gold Hospitality, LLC, 2012 IL App (2d) 111151,
¶ 7. The procedural rules governing the content and
format of appellate briefs are mandatory. Voris v.
Voris, 2011 IL App (1st) 103814, ¶ 8. Only where
the violations preclude or interfere with our review is
dismissal of the appeal appropriate. In re Detention of
Powell, 217 Ill.2d 123, 132 (2005). Nonetheless, we have
the discretion to strike a brief and dismiss an appeal for
failure to ...