Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
ACCESS REALTY GROUP, INC., as Successor by Assignment from SFG Capital, LLC, Plaintiff and Third-Party Citation Petitioner-Appellant,
PATRICK W. KANE, Defendant-Appellee First Midwest Bank, as Successor in Interest to Bridgeview Bank Group; and Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus, Farkas & Brocato, LLP, Third Party Citation Respondents-Appellees. ACCESS REALTY GROUP, INC., as Successor by Assignment From SFG Capital, LLC Plaintiff-Appellant,
PATRICK W. KANE, WILLIAM KANE, VICTORIA GOLDBLATTS-KANE, and FIRST MIDWEST BANK, as Successor in Interest to Bridgeview Bank Group, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Nos. 10-L-0820,
17-L-5670; Honorable Alexander P. White, Judge Presiding, the
Hon. Brigid Mary McGrath, Judge, presiding
Attorneys for Appellant Daniel A. Hawkins, of Erwin Law, LLC,
of Chicago, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee Adam B. Rome, of Greiman, Rome &
Griesmeyer, LLC, of Chicago, for appellee Bridgeview Bank
Group. Robert A. Chapman and Patrick P. Manion, of Chapman
Spingola, LLP, of Chicago, for appellees Patrick W. Kane,
William Kane, and Victoria Goldblatt-Kane. Steven H. Leech,
of Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus, Farkas & Brocato LLP,
of Chicago, for other appellee.
CUNNINGHAM JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Delort Justice dissented, with opinion.
1 The circuit court of Cook County dismissed a citation
proceeding by the plaintiff- appellant, Access Realty Group,
Inc. (Access), against the defendant-appellee, Patrick W.
Kane (Kane), on the basis that the merger doctrine
satisfied the judgment debt. In a separate lawsuit, Access
sought damages related to the same judgment debt from the
defendants-appellees, Kane, William Kane, Victoria
Goldblatts-Kane, and First Midwest Bank (collectively, the
defendants). The circuit court dismissed that lawsuit on the
basis that Access was no longer a judgment creditor because
the judgment debt had been satisfied. Access now appeals both
orders, which have been consolidated in this court. For the
following reasons, we affirm the judgments of the circuit
court of Cook County.
3 The Citation Proceeding
4 In 2010, SFG Capital, LLC (SFG),  filed a lawsuit against
Kane, alleging that Kane defaulted on a loan from SFG. The
parties settled, and in 2011, the trial court entered a $783,
000 consent judgment against Kane (the SFG judgment). SFG
then initiated a supplementary proceeding to identify any
assets available to satisfy the SFG judgment (the citation
5 In 2012, Kane's estranged business partner, William
Platt (Platt), executed a promissory note with a face value
of $1.2 million, payable to Kane (the Platt note).
6 On April 14, 2016, as part of the citation proceeding, the
trial court ordered that all right, title, and interest in
the Platt note be transferred from Kane and assigned to SFG
(the turnover order). The turnover order instructed that SFG
"may take such further action as necessary to enforce
payment on the *** note[ ]" so that SFG could use the
proceeds from the Platt note to pay off the SFG judgment. As
the face value of the Platt note exceeded the amount
outstanding on the SFG judgment, the turnover order also
required SFG to return the Platt note to Kane once the
"judgment due and owing is paid in full."
7 On April 14, 2017, Access acquired the SFG judgment through
an assignment. Access is a real estate brokerage and
management company. Platt is Access' sole shareholder,
president, secretary, and registered agent. At the time of
the assignment, $527, 384.58 remained outstanding on
the SFG judgment.
8 After acquiring the SFG judgment, Access substituted into
the citation proceeding as the judgment creditor. Access then
issued third-party citations to discover assets to Bridgeview
Bank Group (one of Kane's financial institutions)
and Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus, Farkas & Brocato,
LLP (Kane's previous legal counsel).
9 On September 21, 2017, Kane moved to dismiss the citation
proceeding. Kane argued that once SFG assigned the SFG
judgment to Access, the merger doctrine extinguished
the judgment debt. Specifically, Kane claimed that Platt
"alone controls [Access] as an 'instrumentality'
to conduct his own personal affairs." Kane argued that
Platt's interest in the proceeds of the SFG judgment
merged with his obligation as the payor of the Platt note,
which had been turned over to satisfy the SFG judgment.
10 On January 18, 2018, following a hearing on Kane's
motion to dismiss the citation proceeding, the trial court
entered an order ruling on the motion (the January 18, 2018,
order). The court noted that the turnover order limited the
judgment creditor's recovery against the Platt note to
the balance owing on the SFG judgment. The court also noted
that "Platt, through Access, the company he wholly owns
and controls, acquired the SFG judgment from SFG, including
all rights to collect the SFG judgment." The court held
that "Platt, through Access, *** has become both the
creditor and debtor on the Platt note" such that
"his interests have merged pursuant to the merger
doctrine," thereby extinguishing his debt. The
court then dismissed the citation proceeding on the basis
that the SFG judgment had been satisfied through the
11 Access then petitioned for revival of the SFG judgment.
The trial court denied the petition as moot because the
January 18, 2018, order found that the SFG judgment had been
satisfied (the February 1, 2018, order). The court also
ordered Access to return the Platt note to Kane. Access then
moved for reconsideration of the January 18, 2018, and the
February 1, 2018, orders. The trial court denied the motion.
12 Access subsequently appealed the January 18, 2018, and
February 1, 2018, orders, as well as the order ...