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Lisk v. Lisk

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

January 6, 2020

BILLY W. LISK, by Power of Attorney for Property Brought by Pamela L. Johnson, and PEGGY W. LISK, by Power of Attorney for Property Brought by Pamela L. Johnson, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
DALE W. LISK and TAMMY L. LISK, Husband and Wife Each the Spouse of the Other, Defendants-Appellees.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Schuyler County, No. 17-L-4; the Hon. Michael L. Atterberry, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: Edward B. Tucker, of Mt. Sterling, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Jeremy S. Karlin, of Barash & Everett, LLC, of Galesburg, for appellee.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Turner and Holder White concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN, PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In December 2016, plaintiffs, Billy and Peggy Lisk, sued defendant Dale Lisk and codefendant Tammy Lisk (collectively, defendants), alleging that defendants owed plaintiffs money related to Dale's farming operation. Throughout the proceedings in this case, Dale and Tammy Lisk were involved in a pending divorce case in Schuyler County.

         ¶ 2 After plaintiffs' initial complaint had been transferred from Morgan County to Schuyler County, they filed first, second, and third amended complaints, each of which was dismissed for failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Their fourth amended complaint was filed in September 2018, and in October 2018, Tammy, individually, filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2016)) for failure to state a cause of action against her. In February 2019, she also filed a supplemental motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code (id. § 2-619).

         ¶ 3 In May 2019, the trial court conducted a hearing on the motions to dismiss and concluded that the fourth amended complaint suffered from similar defects as the previous complaints. The court then (1) dismissed the fourth amended complaint for failure to state a cause of action against Tammy, (2) granted the supplemental motion to dismiss on the basis that the issues surrounding any debt were currently being litigated in the divorce action, (3) dismissed the complaint without prejudice, and (4) ordered a stay in the proceedings until the divorce action concluded.

         ¶ 4 Plaintiff appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by staying the proceedings in this case until the divorce case is resolved. We disagree and affirm.

         ¶ 5 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 6 A. The Complaints

         ¶ 7 In December 2016, plaintiffs, Billy and Peggy Lisk, sued defendants, Dale and Tammy Lisk, alleging that defendants owed plaintiffs money related to Dale's farming operation. Throughout the proceedings in this case, Dale and Tammy Lisk were parties to a pending divorce case in Schuyler County.

         ¶ 8 Between December 2016 and July 2018, plaintiffs filed several complaints, each of which were dismissed. In July 2018, the trial court dismissed the counts of the third amended complaint related to Tammy without prejudice. At that time, the court permitted the plaintiffs to conduct limited discovery.

         ¶ 9 In September 2018, plaintiffs filed their fourth amended complaint against defendants. In October 2018, Tammy filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code (id. ยง 2-615). In December 2018, plaintiffs filed a motion to compel, alleging that Tammy failed to comply with ...


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