A St. Louis County condominium seeks to transfer a tenant’s suit alleging a 2008 earthquake caused damages to her unit.
Plaintiff Denise Edwards filed the suit on Oct. 6, 2017, against Royal Pines Condominium Association.
In her complaint, Edwards alleges an earthquake occurred in Illinois on April 18, 2008, causing damage to the foundation of the condominium over several years, which in turn, caused damage to the plaintiff’s unit.
She alleges that between 2011 and 2016, she continued to report worsening cracks in the walls, ceiling, door and window frames and kitchen cabinets in her unit. She claims they were caused by the condo’s foundation settling.
Edwards alleges Royal Pines failed and refused to take responsibility for the damages to her unit and failed to make the required necessary repairs to the interior of her unit.
Royal Pines filed a motion to transfer for improper venue on April 18 through attorney Jack Kiley of Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson & Walsh Ltd. in Decatur, Ill.
The defendant argues that St. Clair County is not the proper venue because it is not a resident of the county and no part of the transaction at issue occurred there.
The defendant is a non-profit condominium association in St. Louis County, the motion states.
“It appears from the complaint that the plaintiff is alleging that because an earthquake occurred in St. Clair County and elsewhere in 2008, that St. Clair County is a proper venue for this action,” the motion states.
Royal Pines alleges Edwards seeks to attach venue through the “transactional prong,” but the earthquake cannot be considered part of the “transaction” for venue purposes.
“In determining venue, the site where part of the transaction occurred includes the place where any significant negotiations were carried on between parties and where agreement was signed.
“The plaintiff does not allege that the contract at issue was negotiated in Illinois, that any breach of the contract occurred in St. Clair County, or that the plaintiff incurred contractual damages in St. Clair County,” the motion states.
Royal Pines had previously sought dismissal, arguing that Illinois lacks personal jurisdiction.
Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson denied Royal Pines’ motion to dismiss on March 20.
He scheduled a status conference for June 25 at 9 a.m.
Edwards is represented by Joseph Nassif of Nassif Law Firm in Creve Coeur, Mo., and Bernard Ysursa of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin Ltd. in Bellville.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-581