Seaphus v. Lilly

Decision Date06 July 1988
Docket NumberNo. 87 C 10085.,87 C 10085.
Citation691 F. Supp. 127
PartiesGregory SEAPHUS, Plaintiff, v. John LILLY, Rebecca Lilly, Susan O'Rourke (also known as Susan Stockton), Lawrence O'Rourke, Collectively d/b/a: "The 1940 West Greenleaf Condominium Association", Talman Home Mortgage Corporation, and the Talman Home Federal Savings and Loan Association of Illinois, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois


Gregory Seaphus, Chicago, Ill., pro se.

Robert E. Davy, Jr., Mark F. Baggio, Lison & Associates, Chicago, Ill., for defendant John Lilly.

Terrence Hutton, Howe & Hutton, Ltd., Chicago, Ill., for defendant Susan O'Rourke.

James E. Trausch, John F. Brennan, Jaros, Tittle & O'Toole, Chicago, Ill., for defendant Talman Home Mortg. Corp.


BUA, District Judge.

This order concerns defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's pro se complaint for failure to state a cause of action. For the reasons stated herein, defendants' motion to dismiss is granted. Plaintiff is given leave to file an amended complaint (within 45 days of the date of this order) under conditions set forth below. An order appointing plaintiff counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 will follow.

Plaintiff filed a 55-page pro se complaint in late 1987 alleging a litany of purported state and federal claims against individuals who at one time lived in neighboring units of a condominium complex where plaintiff resided and the financial institution which held a mortgage on plaintiff's residence. The complaint begins by describing various disputes which plaintiff encountered with other owners in the condominium complex. The complaint then relates events occurring after foreclosure and eviction proceedings were initiated by plaintiff's mortgagee.

Plaintiff's complaint is divided into thirteen "counts" which attempt to articulate separate claims for relief against defendants.1 Although construing plaintiff's complaint in an extremely liberal manner, this court is compelled to recognize that several of plaintiff's "counts" are simply devoid of any legally significant facts. Thus, the following summary focuses on only those factual assertions having some possible relevance to a cognizable claim under federal or state law.


In 1977, plaintiff purchased Unit C in a three-unit condominium development located at 1940 West Greenleaf in Chicago, Illinois. Defendants John and Rebecca Lilly (the "Lillys") owned Unit B in the development, and defendants Lawrence and Susan O'Rourke (the "O'Rourkes") owned Unit A. Plaintiff's first encounter with the Lillys and O'Rourkes occurred while plaintiff was contemplating purchasing Unit C. The Lillys and O'Rourkes obtained plaintiff's unlisted phone number from an architect of the complex and telephoned plaintiff to invite him to a meeting which took place in January 1978. At the meeting, the Lillys and O'Rourkes asked plaintiff to delay purchasing Unit C to pressure the developer into making certain modifications to Units A and B. Plaintiff apparently ignored defendants' request and closed on his prospective residence during late May 1978. Defendant Talman Home Mortgage Corporation and the Talman Home Federal Savings and Loan Association of Illinois ("Talman Home") provided mortgage financing for the purchase.

Months after moving in, plaintiff was informed by his neighboring owners that he would be expected to attend the "1940 West Greenleaf Condominium Association" meetings. Plaintiff attended the meetings and agreed to pay assessments ostensibly for the maintenance and care of the development's common elements. Rebecca Lilly collected plaintiff's assessments on a monthly basis. In early October 1979, plaintiff informed the Lillys and O'Rourkes that he would stop paying the assessment amount until proper safeguards and controls were put in place to ensure that plaintiff's assessments were being used appropriately. In response, Susan O'Rourke subsequently filed a lien against plaintiff's property for the unpaid assessments.

In September 1982, the garage located behind the complex was damaged. Apparently, the damage restricted plaintiff's use of his assigned garage space. The insurance company providing coverage for the garage was contacted, and a claim adjuster was dispatched to inspect the damage. After completing the inspection, the adjuster instructed plaintiff that two written repair estimates were needed before the claim could be processed. After the necessary documentation was submitted, plaintiff was informed that a check would be issued to him for the lower of the two estimates. Prior to payment of the insurance claim, plaintiff hired a contractor to repair the garage and paid him with personal funds. Unknown to plaintiff, Susan O'Rourke called the adjuster and requested the check be issued to her rather than plaintiff. The adjuster agreed and forwarded payment for the claim to her instead of plaintiff. Upon learning that the insurance funds had gone to Susan O'Rourke, plaintiff demanded that he receive the proceeds of the check. Susan O'Rourke, however, refused.

In 1974, plaintiff developed certain motivational learning programs for use in primary and secondary schools. The programs focused on helping disadvantaged children excel scholastically through the use of various motivational techniques. Plaintiff began to market his motivational programs to Chicago Public School officials. Letters from certain schools in the Chicago Public School System indicated an interest in plaintiff's program ideas. While plaintiff's programs were being considered, John Lilly contacted school officials and made derogatory comments about plaintiff's character. Although the substance of the comments are not indicated, plaintiff classifies Lilly's conduct as "defamatory." As a result of the derogatory statements, sales of the plaintiff's educational materials were impaired. Plaintiff also asserts that John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke made "defamatory" comments about plaintiff to their family and friends. Once again, details concerning the alleged statements are not provided.

In July of 1984, the Lillys and O'Rourkes changed the lock on the common door to the garage and did not give plaintiff a key. This prevented plaintiff access to his garage space. Soon after, plaintiff changed the lock on the common door and gave keys to the Lillys and O'Rourkes. A few weeks later, the Lillys and O'Rourkes changed the lock to the common door again and failed to give plaintiff a key.

In addition to the lock changes, defendants John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke damaged plaintiff's personal property beginning in 1981 and continuing to 1986. Plaintiff alleges that on November 21, 1984, John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke slashed the passenger-side tires of his car. During November 1984 to March 1986, John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke poured foreign substances into plaintiff's gas tank, damaged the paint, and committed other acts to plaintiff's car which rendered it inoperable. In April of 1985 plaintiff asserts he lost his teaching job at a community college located 50 miles from his home because he was left without transportation.

Plaintiff alleges that during 1982 to 1986 defendants John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke damaged plaintiff's real property by attempting to set fire to the door and entrance way of plaintiff's home, and placing "heavy objects" and barricades on plaintiff's patio and walkway.

On May 3, 1985, plaintiff alleges that John Lilly removed a delivery notice placed on plaintiff's front door. In addition, plaintiff alleges that on June 17, 1985, John Lilly opened a letter from Illinois Bell addressed to plaintiff and returned the letter more than a week later.

Plaintiff alleges four different "assaults" in his complaint. Plaintiff first alleges that in October 1984 defendant John Lilly altered the condominium's common water pipes so that he could regulate the water flow in plaintiff's unit. Apparently while altering plaintiff's plumbing, John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke placed foreign substances into plaintiff's water supply which made plaintiff ill. Second, in May of 1985, plaintiff asserts John Lilly "assaulted him in a public place in Schaumburg, Illinois." Plaintiff's complaint, however, does not state further facts describing this incident. Third, on November 20, 1985, John Lilly intentionally struck plaintiff with his car injuring plaintiff's legs. Finally, on March 9, 1986, John Lilly allegedly "assaulted" plaintiff from behind while plaintiff entered his home. Plaintiff's complaint again does not detail any specific facts surrounding the March 1986 event.

Plaintiff alleges that all defendants, along with their attorneys, conspired to defraud and injure him. Plaintiff lost his job as a technician in September 1978 and was unable to find other employment. As a result, plaintiff incurred financial difficulties. In 1981, defendant Talman Home initiated foreclosure proceedings on plaintiff's home. Plaintiff alleges that upon notification of the foreclosure action he paid the amount in default and an additional $2,000 in attorneys' fees Talman Home had incurred initiating legal proceedings. Plaintiff asserts that the $2,000 in attorneys' fees was unjustified because Talman Home's attorneys did not perform any services.

In 1982, plaintiff filed bankruptcy. He alleges that his years of unemployment combined with having to pay Talman Home $2,000 in attorneys' fees forced him to file bankruptcy. On June 1, 1983, attorneys representing John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke filed a claim in bankruptcy court against plaintiff's estate. The claim stated plaintiff owed defendants unpaid assessment fees and attorney fees. Plaintiff alleges that John Lilly and Susan O'Rourke's attorneys continued to file claims in bankruptcy court against plaintiff and at times acted as advocates for Talman Home.

Plaintiff concludes his 55-page complaint by realleging all the defendants' acts stated in the complaint were racially...

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1 books & journal articles
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