PHILLIP D. ALWARD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
JACOB HOLDING OF ONTARIO LLC, GRANT P. ALWARD, and CARRIE M. ALWARD, Defendants Jacob Holding of Ontario L.L.C., Defendant-Appellee.
from the Circuit Court of Christian County. No. 16-CH-25
Honorable J. Marc Kelly, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant Scott E. Garwood, Craig W. Runyon,
Samuels, Miller, Schroeder, Jackson & Sly, LLP.
Attorneys for Appellee Brad A. Elward, Michael T. Kokal,
Craig L. Unrath, Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C.
BARBERIS JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Chapman and Cates concurred in the judgment
1 Plaintiff, Phillip D. Alward, brought an action to quiet
title to property located in Christian County, Illinois.
Plaintiff had previously executed a quitclaim deed purporting
to convey title to his son, Grant Alward, and
daughter-in-law, Carrie Alward (the Alwards). The agreement
stated that the Alwards were responsible for the principal
balance on the loan. Although the original loan was secured
by a recorded mortgage through Chase Bank, the Alwards
subsequently entered into a loan agreement secured by a
recorded mortgage with the appellee, Jacob Holding of Ontario
L.L.C. (Jacob Holding).
2 Plaintiff later averred that he had mistakenly forgotten
that the property was held in an Illinois land trust. Thus,
plaintiff did not have legal authority to convey title to the
Alwards when he executed the quitclaim deed in his individual
capacity. Consequently, plaintiff asserted that the quitclaim
deed was invalid and the title transfer was ineffective
because Chicago Title and Land Trust Company (Chicago Title),
as successor trustee, had sole authority to convey title.
Plaintiff, claiming superior title, dissolved the land trust
and asserted that the quitclaim deed and the subsequent
mortgage constituted a cloud on title. Plaintiff and Jacob
Holding filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The circuit
court granted Jacob Holding's motion for summary judgment
and denied plaintiffs motion for summary judgment. This
3 I. Background
4 Plaintiff was the sole surviving beneficiary of an Illinois
land trust, recorded in 1996, for property located in
Christian County, Illinois. The following language gave
plaintiff, as beneficiary, the power to direct the trustee to
"(b) The interest of any person or beneficiary hereunder
shall consist solely of the power of direction over the title
to said property and the right to receive the proceeds from
rentals, mortgages, sales or other dispositions of said
property or rights therein.
(g) The beneficiary or beneficiaries hereunder shall have the
full management and control of said property and of the
selling, renting, and handling thereof, including collection
of rent and proceeds of sale, and the payment of taxes,
assessments, insurance and other expenses in connection
5 On March 5, 2012, plaintiff executed a quitclaim deed
purporting to convey title to the Alwards in exchange for
paying the principal balance of the loan to Chase Bank. The
quitclaim deed included the following language:
"Grantor does hereby grant, bargain and sell all of the
Grantor's rights, title, and Interest in and to the above
described property and premises to the Grantee(s); and to the
Grantee(s) heirs and assigns forever, so that neither
Grantor(s) nor Grantor's heirs, legal representatives or
assigns shall have, claim or demand any right or title to the
property, premises, or appurtenances, or any part
quitclaim deed provided the parcel number, address, and legal
description of the property, but it did not designate
plaintiff as a beneficiary or specify that the property was
held in a land trust. Although plaintiff intended to transfer
ownership to the Alwards, which he believed took place when
he executed the quitclaim deed, he acknowledged that he
overlooked that the property was held in a land trust.
6 On April 12, 2012, the Alwards recorded the quitclaim deed,
even though the last recorded deed indicated that the
property had been in a land trust since 1996.
7 From May 26, 2015, to June 1, 2015, plaintiffs legal
counsel corresponded via e-mail with Macon County Title, the
real estate closing agent; Chase Bank, the mortgagor; and
Chicago Title, the successor trustee of the land trust.