Adrian Mendoza and Russ Custer Defeat Claims of Slander of Title Against Condominium Association and Derivative Action Against Majority Owner

Lillig & Thorsness, Ltd. partners Adrian Mendoza and Russ Custer prevailed on a motion to dismiss a claim of slander of title and a purported derivative action brought by the former owner of a commercial condominium unit in a Chicago landmark building. The former owner had refused to pay special assessments to the Condominium Association in connection with a large-scale façade renovation. The Association subsequently filed a lien against the unit for the unpaid assessments and penalties and interest.

After selling the unit the former owner filed suit alleging that the Association had slandered the title to the unit by filing an unjustified lien and thus driving down its value. The former owner also asserted a derivative action on behalf of the Association against the majority owner of the building claiming that the majority owner had manipulated the Board of Directors in connection with the project so that the value of its own units would be enhanced through the renovation.

Mr. Mendoza and Mr. Custer sought to dismiss the claims on the grounds that the former owner lacked standing to assert slander of title because it no longer had a legal interest in the property. In addition, they argued that the former owner lacked standing to bring a derivative action on behalf of the Association because it was no longer a member of the Association. The Court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice.

Lillig & Thorsness, Ltd. is a general practice firm providing legal representation in business transactions, estate planning and administration, litigation, family law and commercial real estate.

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