Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Divison
from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 2017-P-003934; the
Hon. Karen L. O'Malley, Judge, presiding.
E. Stevens Jr., of Stevens and Stevens, of Chicago, for
Lawrence M. Karlin, of Karlin Associates LLC, of Chicago, for
¶ 1 The
claimant, Paul D. Heck, appeals from an order of the circuit
court of Cook County which dismissed, as time-barred, the
claim he filed against the Estate of Thomas John Heck Jr.,
deceased (estate), based upon a promissory note executed by
the decedent. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
¶ 2 On
June 14, 1988, Thomas John Heck Jr. executed a note promising
to pay the claimant $51,000 at 7% interest compounded
annually (note). The note contains the following payment
terms: "Perpetual 90 day note[.] Borrower shall make a
single payment on demand within 90 days of demand letter. If
payment is not demanded or paid by borrower[,] this note will
renew automatically in full force of the terms until said
note is paid."
¶ 3 On
November 7, 2016, Thomas John Heck Jr. died. During his life,
the decedent never made a payment on the note and the
claimant never made a demand for payment. On December 8,
2017, the claimant made a written demand upon the estate for
payment of the note.
¶ 4 The
estate did not pay the note, and on January 3, 2018, the
claimant filed a claim against the estate for $362,886.62 due
on the note, plus interest, attorney fees, and costs. On May
14, 2018, Robert B. Heck, as executor of the estate
(respondent), filed a motion pursuant to section 2-619(a)(5)
of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(5)
(West 2016)) to dismiss the claim as time-barred. On October
15, 2018, the circuit court found that the note is a demand
note and, relying upon the 10-year limitations period
contained in section 13-206 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/13-206
(West 2016)), granted the motion and dismissed the claim as
time-barred. This appeal followed, invoking our jurisdiction
under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(b)(1) (eff. Mar. 8,
¶ 5 In
urging reversal, the claimant argues that the circuit court
erred when it determined that the note is a demand note and
that his claim is barred by a 10-year statute of limitations.
He maintains that the note renewed in perpetuity and is not
subject to a 10-year statute of limitations. We disagree.
Since the trial court dismissed the claimant's claim in
response to a motion pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code,
our review is de novo. Lawler v. University of Chicago
Medical Center, 2017 IL 120745, ¶ 11, 423 Ill.Dec. 1,
104 N.E.3d 1090. In resolving this appeal, we are required to
construe the note and determine the applicable limitations
period; both of which are issues of law subject to de
novo review. People v. Jackson, 2013 IL 113986,
¶ 15, 368 Ill.Dec. 223, 983 N.E.2d 1027 (purely legal
questions are reviewed de novo ); Northern
Illinois Medical Center v. Home State Bank of Crystal
Lake, 136 Ill.App.3d 129, 142, 90 Ill.Dec. 802, 482
N.E.2d 1085 (1985) (construction and legal effect of an
instrument raises a question of law); Travelers Casualty
& Surety Co. v. Bowman, 229 Ill.2d 461, 466, 323
Ill.Dec. 311, 893 N.E.2d 583 (2008) (the applicability of a
statute of limitations to a cause of action presents a
question of law).
¶ 7 A
note is a demand note if it states that it is payable on
demand, otherwise indicates that it is payable at the will of
the holder, or does not state a definite time for payment.
810 ILCS 5/3-108 (West 2016) (formerly ...