Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois
Clanton v. Oakbrook Healthcare Centre, Ltd.
Jansen was a resident at a skilled nursing facility. Kotalik, with Jansen’s power of attorney for healthcare, signed a “Contract Between Resident and Facility” that provides all civil claims shall be resolved exclusively through mandatory mediation, and, if such mediation does not resolve the dispute, through binding arbitration. The contract waived claims for punitive damages and included a “termination upon death” provision. Jansen suffered several falls, resulting in injuries that contributed to or caused Jansen’s death. Her estate sued, arguing that the defendants had waived their right to mediate and/or arbitrate by participating in litigation for nearly a year, that the arbitration clause was procedurally and substantively unconscionable, and that Kotalik, as Jansen’s POA for healthcare, lacked the authority to execute an arbitration clause on Jansen’s behalf.The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the motion. By the express terms of the contract, once the resident died, the contract ceased to exist, including the forum provision. The court did not address the other arguments. View "Clanton v. Oakbrook Healthcare Centre, Ltd." on Justia Law
PML Development LLC v. Village of Hawthorn Woods
The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the appellate court reversing the judgment of the circuit court in favor of PML Development LLC on its action against the Village of Hawthorn Woods for breach of a development agreement between the parties and against the Village on its counterclaim for breach of the agreement, holding that the circuit court erred in granting judgment in favor of PML on the Village's breach of contract counterclaims.Following a bench trial, the circuit court found that both parties materially breached the agreement at issue but that the Village's first material breach excused PML from performing its contractual obligations. The appellate court reversed, concluding that neither the Village or PML could recover damages because each party materially breached the agreement. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the circuit court correctly entered judgment in favor of PML on its breach of contract claims; and (2) the circuit court erred in granting judgment in favor of PML on the Village's breach of contract counterclaims. View "PML Development LLC v. Village of Hawthorn Woods" on Justia Law
Village of Kirkland v. Kirkland Properties Holdings Co., LLC I
The Village alleged that the defendants breached a 2003 recorded annexation agreement executed by the Trustee that was then the legal owner of the property, which now consists of an annexed 114-acre subdivision. The Village alleged that the defendants were subject to the annexation agreement as successors to the Trustee when they purchased undeveloped portions of the property from Plank, which had acquired the property from the Trustee. The Village alleged that the defendants refused its request for a letter of credit in the amount proportionate to the number of lots the defendants owned in the subdivision, to secure the completion of roads in the subdivision.The defendants argued that, although the annexation agreement was a covenant that ran with the land, it did not confer successor status to an entity that purchased only a portion of the property subject to annexation, as opposed to the whole of the property. The Appellate Court reversed the dismissal of the action. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Reading the annexation agreement as a whole, the court found that its plain language required its provisions to be binding and enforceable on the parties’ successors. Defendants are successors in title to the landowner who agreed to those obligations. The obligations imposed upon any particular purchaser depend upon the obligations of the original developer that remain unsatisfied with respect to the specific parcel sold. View "Village of Kirkland v. Kirkland Properties Holdings Co., LLC I" on Justia Law
Ivey v. Transunion Rental Screening Solutions Inc.
TURSS provided background and credit screening services to property management professionals and landlords through its online platforms and undertook to build an online platform to sell customizable electronic lease forms. TURSS sent Helix a letter of intent that the platform would be completed in 2009. The companies entered into a five-year marketing agreement that required TURSS to provide the platform and Helix to provide the product. TURSS would receive 35% of the revenue generated from sales and Helix would receive 65%. The agreement was not exclusive. Helix provided electronic forms and supporting materials to TURSS but the platform was still not completed in 2015.Helix sued TURSS for“willful and intentional” breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and promissory estoppel. The court ultimately granted TURSS summary judgment. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court reversed, finding that Helix failed to present proof of its damages with reasonable certainty. Helix did not present evidence of revenues of a similar product or a similar business in a similar market. Where a plaintiff seeks lost profits for a new company, "without a track record of profit, attempting to sell a new and untested product to a new market,” the specter of impermissible speculation arises. View "Ivey v. Transunion Rental Screening Solutions Inc." on Justia Law
Walworth Investments-LG, LLC v. Mu Sigma, Inc.
Walworth, a former stockholder, sued Mu Sigma, a privately held data analytics company, and Rajaram, the company’s founder, CEO, and board chairman, alleging that after reaping the benefits of Walworth’s $1.5 million investment and reputational capital, the defendants embarked on a fraudulent scheme to oust Walworth of its substantial ownership interest in the company.The Cook County circuit court dismissed the complaint, citing the stock repurchase agreement (SRA), which included anti-reliance and general release provisions. The appellate court reversed, holding that the anti-reliance language was ambiguous. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal, stating that “the broad and comprehensive release agreed to by [Walworth], a sophisticated party represented by experienced counsel, unambiguously encompasses” the unjust enrichment and breach of contract claims. The bargained-for anti-reliance provisions reflected the understanding that there may be undisclosed information but that Walworth was satisfied by the information provided. Walworth had direct access to Rajaram to negotiate the arm’s-length transaction at issue and Rajaram was not acting as a fiduciary for Walworth. A corporation owes no fiduciary duty to its shareholder and Delaware law does not impose “an affirmative fiduciary duty of disclosure for individual transactions.” View "Walworth Investments-LG, LLC v. Mu Sigma, Inc." on Justia Law
Dent v. Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.
Dent and RLD (Petitioners) had several supply and marketing contracts with energy companies (Respondents). Respondents terminated the Petitioners' at-will consulting agreements. Petitioners filed an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 224 petition seeking disclosure from Respondents of the names and addresses of three unidentified individuals who might be responsible in damages to Petitioners, alleging that those individuals publicized false and defamatory statements about Dent that caused respondents to terminate their contractual relationships. Petitioners alleged that the unnamed individuals accused Dent of drunken conduct and of sexual misconduct. The appellate court reversed the dismissal of the petition, stating that the circuit court abused its discretion when it sua sponte dismissed the petition based upon its determination that Petitioners knew the identity of Respondents and their attorneys; Respondents and their attorneys were not potential defendants responsible in damages for defamation or breach of contract.The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal. The appellate court erred in holding that a section 2-615 motion to dismiss cannot consider affirmative defenses apparent on the face of the petition, such as the existence of qualified privilege. The existence of qualified privilege on the part of the unidentified individuals was apparent from the face of the petition. Respondents, having raised nothing more than a conclusory denial, failed to sufficiently allege abuse of that privilege. View "Dent v. Constellation NewEnergy, Inc." on Justia Law
Restore Construction Co., Inc. v. Board of Education of Proviso Township High Schools District 209
Restore was asked to mitigate and repair significant fire damage at Proviso East High School, having provided similar service to the District in the past. The District’s customary practice when contracting for repair and payment of losses covered by insurance was to proceed without a recorded vote of its Board. The fire loss was covered by insurance. The District’s superintendent executed contracts with Restore.The District was subject to the School District Financial Oversight Panel (FOP) and Emergency Financial Assistance Law (105 ILCS 5/1B-1) and the Financial Oversight Panel Law (105 ILCS 5/1H-1). The FOP’s chief fiscal officer attended construction meetings and approved numerous subcontracts, quotations, bids, sales orders, change orders, and invoices. Although there was no recorded vote, “a majority of the Proviso Board knew and informally approved" the work. Restore was paid by the insurers for all but $1,428,000. Restore sued, seeking recovery from the District based on quantum meruit. The District argued that it had no obligation to pay because the contracts had not been let out for bid and approved by a majority vote as required by the School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1).The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the reinstatement of the case following dismissal. The failure of a governmental unit to comply with required contracting methods is not fatal to a plaintiff’s right to recover based on quasi-contract or implied contract principles. The Board was subject to the FOP; the FOP was fully apprised of and approved the work. Any misconduct was on the part of the Board; allowing Restore to recover presents no “risk of a raid on the public treasury.” View "Restore Construction Co., Inc. v. Board of Education of Proviso Township High Schools District 209" on Justia Law
Hess v. Estate of TJay Klamm
Kiselewski was driving with his two granddaughters in the backseat. Klamm's vehicle crossed the center line and struck Kiselewski’s vehicle. Kiselewski, one granddaughter, and Klamm were killed. Klamm was insured under a Meridian policy issued to his mother that provides coverage for four vehicles. The policy contains an “antistacking clause” with respect to bodily injury liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. In a declaratory judgment action, the circuit court found that the policy, taken as a whole, was ambiguous and declared that Meridian had a duty under the policy to aggregate the bodily injury coverage limits for all four vehicles covered by the policy, resulting in coverage in the amount of $400,000 per person and $1.2 million per accident.The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. When the declarations are read together with the antistacking clause, there is no ambiguity. The policy provides bodily injury liability coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, regardless of the number of claims, insureds, covered vehicles, premiums, or vehicles involved in the accident. The policy does not list liability limits separately for each covered vehicle. It lists the limits once on the first page of the declarations, next to Autos 1, 2, and 3, and once on the second page, next to Auto 4. View "Hess v. Estate of TJay Klamm" on Justia Law
Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Co.
In 1994, based on doctored evidence from the City of Chicago Heights Police Department, Sanders was charged with murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery. Sanders was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for approximately 20 years before being exonerated in 2014. From November 2011 to November 2014, Chicago Heights obtained primary liability insurance from Illinois Union and excess liability insurance from Starr. The primary insurance policy covered damages arising out of the “offense” of “malicious prosecution.” The Illinois Supreme Court held that, although the cause of action for malicious prosecution did not arise until the exoneration, the underlying event that triggered the obligation to provide coverage occurred in 1994, not during the policy period. The court noted that a typical occurrence-based policy, containing multiple references to coverage for occurrences or offenses happening during the term of the policy, reflects the intent to insure only for the insured’s acts or omissions that happen during a policy period. If exoneration were deemed to trigger for coverage of a malicious prosecution insurance claim, liability could be shifted to a policy period in which none of the acts or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, which would violate the intent of the parties to an occurrence-based policy. View "Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Accettura v. Vacationland, Inc.
Plaintiffs purchased a recreational vehicle (RV) from Vacationland for $26,000.25. When it leaked during a rainstorm, they brought it in for repair. When it leaked again, causing extensive damage, they brought it back. A little more than two weeks after they dropped it off the second time and without a timetable for when the vehicle would be repaired, they told the seller that they no longer wanted the RV and asked for their money back. Plaintiffs sued, citing revocation of acceptance under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, 15 U.S.C. 2310(d); breach of implied warranty of merchantability under the Magnuson-Moss Act; revocation of acceptance and cancellation of contract under Illinois’s adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code; and return of purchase price under the UCC. Defendant argued that plaintiffs’ failure to give it a reasonable opportunity to cure was fatal to their claims. The circuit court granted the defendant summary judgment. The appellate court affirmed. Plaintiffs sought review of the revocation of acceptance claim under the UCC (810 ILCS 5/2- 608(1)(b)). The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. The plain language of subsection 2-608(1)(b) does not require that the buyer give the seller an opportunity to cure a substantial nonconformity before revoking acceptance. View "Accettura v. Vacationland, Inc." on Justia Law