Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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In 2011, Henderson Square Condominium Association sued, alleging: breach of the implied warranty of habitability, fraud, negligence, breach of the Chicago Municipal Code’s prohibition against misrepresenting material facts in marketing and selling real estate, and breach of a fiduciary duty. The defendants were developers that entered into a contract with the city for a mixed use project, the Lincoln-Belmont-Ashland Redevelopment Project. Sales in the project had begun in 1996. The trial court dismissed, finding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead the Chicago Municipal Code violation and breach of fiduciary duty and that counts were time-barred under the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/13-214). The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. A condominium association generally has standing to pursue claims that affect the unit owners or the common elements. A question of fact remains as to whether defendants’ failure to speak about construction deficiencies or to adequately fund reserves, coupled with earlier alleged misrepresentations, amounted to fraudulent concealment for purposes of exceptions to the limitation and repose periods. It is possible that minor repairs, along with the limited nature of water infiltration, reasonably delayed plaintiffs’ hiring of professional contractors to open the wall and discover latent defects. The date when plaintiffs reasonably should have known that an injury occurred and that it was wrongfully caused was a question of fact. View "Henderson Square Condo. Ass'n v. LAB Townhomes, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2010, plaintiff filed a complaint and sought class certification, alleging that defendant sent unsolicited fax advertisement, violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.C. 227) and the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/2) and constituting common-law conversion of toner and paper. Each count included class allegations indicating that plaintiff was filing on behalf of a class estimated at over 40 individuals. Defendant unsuccessfully sought summary judgment solely on count I (federal Act), alleging that on three separate occasions it tendered an unconditional offer of payment exceeding the total recoverable damages, rendering the claim moot. The court reasoned that defendant did not offer tender on count I before plaintiff moved for class certification and rejected defendant’s argument that the motion was merely a “shell” motion. The appellate court affirmed certification of the class on counts II and III but reversed class certification on count I, agreeing that plaintiff’s initial motion for class certification, filed concurrently with its complaint, was an insufficient “shell” motion. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the trial court decision, holding that its precedent did not impose any explicit requirements on the motion for class certification, let alone a heightened evidentiary or factual basis for the motion. View "Ballard RN Center, Inc. v. Kohll's Pharmacy & Homecare, Inc." on Justia Law

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LVNV collection agency bought Trice’s unpaid debt and filed suit. Trice later sought to vacate a judgment against him on the ground that LVNV was not an Illinois registered agency. The circuit court of Cook County declared sections of the Collection Agency Act (225 ILCS 425/4.5, 14, 14b) unconstitutional. The appellate court remanded after holding that “a complaint filed by an unregistered collection agency is … a nullity, and any judgment entered on such a complaint is void/” The circuit court then found the penalty provisions unconstitutional on grounds of due process, equal protection and vagueness, but held that though LVNV was unlicensed when it filed suit, the resulting judgment should have been “voidable rather than void.” The Illinois Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s findings, rejected the analysis of the appellate court, and remanded. The circuit court’s initial denial of Trice’s petition was correct, LVNV has been granted relief on a nonconstitutional ground. Failure to comply with a statutory requirement or prerequisite does not negate the circuit court’s subject matter jurisdiction or constitute a nonwaivable condition precedent to that jurisdiction, so there was no need for the circuit court to address the Act’s constitutionality. View "LVNV Funding, LLC v. Trice" on Justia Law

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The trial court dismissed a third amended class action complaint filed in connection with power outages during severe storms. The complaint alleged negligence, breach of contract, and violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/1). The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The electric utility's tariff precludes an award of damages; even if such claims were not barred, jurisdiction over matters relating to the utility's service and infrastructure lies with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The Consumer Fraud Act claim alleged that that the company knew or should have known that it failed to sufficiently establish policies and procedures to prevent controllable interruptions of power and to timely respond to those interruptions, in order to protect the health, safety, comfort and convenience of its customers, including those on the life support registry. The claim failed because the company is not required to prioritize those on the life support registry and does not intend that those on the registry rely on it doing so. View "Sheffler v. Commonwealth Edison Co." on Justia Law

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Based on faxes received in 2002, advertising discount travel, plaintiff filed a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 U.S.C. 227. The trial court denied motions to dismiss, but certified questions to the appellate court. On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the TCPA forms part of the law enforceable in Illinois courts without the need for the Illinois General Assembly to enact enabling legislation to permit private claims. The appellate court's discussion of the assignability of TCPA claims amounted to an advisory opinion because the amended complaint under discussion alleged that the plaintiff at issue had, itself, received junk faxes from the defendant. The court remanded for consideration of whether the claim is subject to the Illinois two-year limitations period for actions including personal injuries and statutory penalties (735 ILCS 5/13-202) or the four-year limitations period for federal civil actions (28 U.S.C. 1658). View "Italia Foods, Inc. v. Sun Tours, Inc." on Justia Law