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McArdle v. Christensen

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

September 25, 2019

PHILLIP McARDLE, as Successor Trustee of the Barbara M. McArdle Trust, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TAD CHRISTENSEN, as Trustee of the Raymond H. Christensen Irrevocable Trust and as Trustee of the Beverly J. Christensen Irrevocable Trust, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial Circuit, Grundy County, Illinois. Circuit No. 17-CH-69 The Honorable Lance R. Peterson, Judge, presiding.

          Brett R. Geiger, of Malmquist, Geiger & Durkee LCC, of Morris, for appellant.

          Amanda N. King, of Hynds, Yohnka, Bzdill & McInerney, LLC, of Morris, for appellee.

          JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Schmidt and Justice O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          McDADE JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 After a real estate purchase agreement failed to close, the plaintiff, Phillip McArdle (McArdle), in his capacity as trustee of the Barbara M. McArdle Trust (McArdle Trust), filed a breach of contract and quiet title action against Tad Christensen (Christensen) in his representative capacity as trustee of the Raymond H. Christensen Trust and Beverly J. Christensen Trust (collectively, Christensen Trusts). A summons was issued, and substitute service was completed at the address held out on earnest-money checks as that of the two Christensen Trusts. Christensen neither appeared nor responded, and a default judgment was entered. Christensen filed a motion to quash service of process, alleging that he was not properly served and that the circuit court never obtained personal jurisdiction over him. The circuit court disagreed and denied the motion; Christensen appealed.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On January 28, 2015, the McArdle Trust, through McArdle as trustee, entered into a contract to sell a 31.53-acre parcel of unimproved agricultural land to the Beverly J. Christensen Trust, through Christensen as trustee, for $197, 063. Christensen did not list an address beneath his signature on the contract although a line was provided for that purpose. He did, however, sign two separate checks, one from each of the Christensen Trusts, each in the amount of $5000. Each check listed the address of the issuing trust as 7339 W. 154th Place, Orland Park, Illinois. More, specifically, the following information was printed in the upper left hand corners of the checks:

"Raymond H. Christensen Irrevocable Trust
Tad Christensen TRTEE
U/A 08/19/2003
7339 W. 154th Pl.
Orland Park, IL 60462"
"Beverly J. Christensen Irrevocable ...

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