Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge has dismissed remaining counts in a forged signature dispute holding that the claims are time-barred.
Plaintiff Jane Childerson sued in April 2013 claiming her brother Kenneth R. Childerson, who died on Jan. 7, 2012, had forged her signature in a quit claim deed conveying her interest in property they jointly owned in Bond County to him.
In addition to suing her brother’s estate, Jane Childerson also blamed notary Phyllis Langenhorst for accepting as authentic her forged signature in 1992 which led to the release of her interest in the property. She also sued the Highland law firm Johannes & Marron PC, which employed Langenhorst.
Mudge had previously granted a defense motion to transfer and/or dismiss a claim related to the quit claim deed. Defense successfully argued that venue of the title claim must be decided in the county in which the real estate is located – Bond County.
In an order entered Jan. 22, Mudge dismissed claims against Langenhorst and Johannes & Marron, relying on the statute of repose.
Mudge cited a 2001 appellate court decision, Ferguson v. McKenzie.
“…[A] statute of repose extinguishes the action itself after a fixed period of time, regardless of when the action accrued. Unlike a statute of limitations, which begins running upon accrual of a cause of action, a statute of repose begins running when a specific event occurs, regardless of whether an action has accrued or whether any injury has resulted. A statute of repose gives effect to a policy different from that advanced by a statute of limitations; it is intended to terminate the possibility of liability after a defined period of time, regardless of a potential plaintiff's lack of knowledge of his or her cause of action.”
Mudge wrote that in this case the plaintiff learned of the forgery after Kenneth Childerson’s death in 2012, which would “make this action timely.”
“However, the applicable statute of repose provides that such an action cannot be commenced in any event more than 6 years after the date on which the act or omission occurred,” he wrote.
“Regardless of plaintiff’s lack of discovery of the alleged forgery until 2012 the statute of repose terminates the possibility of liability after 6 years. Since it is alleged that the act or omission occurred in 1992, these counts are time-barred.”
Roy C. Dripps represents Jane Childerson.
Barry S. Noeltner, Kent L. Plotner and Neil A. Schonert of Heyl Royster in Edwardsville represent the defendants.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-677