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FDIC as Receiver for Ravenswood Bank v. Republic Title – implied waiver and laches

FDIC as Receiver for Ravenswood Bank v. Republic Title – implied waiver and laches

On April 20, 2011, The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois stated in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as Receiver for Ravenswood Bank v. Republic Title Company (2011 WL 1526817) as follows:

In regards to Implied Waivers:

Waiver is defined by Illinois law as “the intentional relinquishment of a known right.” Ryder v. Bank of Hickory Hills, 146 Ill.2d 98, 165 Ill.Dec. 650, 585 N.E.2d 46, 49 (Ill.1991). Waiver may be demonstrated by an express agreement or it may be “implied from the conduct of the party who is alleged to have waived a right.” Id. The implied waiver of a legal right must be proved by “a clear, unequivocal, and decisive act of the party who is alleged to have committed waiver.” Id. “An implied waiver may arise where a person against whom the waiver is asserted has pursued such a course of conduct as to sufficiently evidence an intention to waive a right or where his conduct is inconsistent with any other intention than to waive it.” Id.

In regards to Laches:

The doctrine of laches is grounded in the principle that courts are reluctant to come to the aid of a party who knowingly slept on its rights to the detriment of another party. Monson v. County of Grundy, 394 Ill.App.3d 1091, 334 Ill.Dec. 205, 916 N.E.2d 620, 623 (Ill.App.3d Dist.2009). Laches is “the neglect or omission to assert a right which, taken in conjunction with a lapse of time and circumstances causing prejudice to the opposite party, will operate as a bar to a suit.” Bill v. Bd. of Educ. of Cicero Sch. Dist. 99, 351 Ill.App.3d 47, 285 Ill.Dec. 784, 812 N.E.2d 604, 610 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2004). To invoke the defense of laches, the defendant must establish that the plaintiff has exhibited an unreasonable delay in asserting a claim and that it has suffered a prejudice as a result of the delay. Monson, 334 Ill.Dec. 205, 916 N.E.2d at 623. It is not enough simply to point to the passage of time. Marsaw v. Richards, 368 Ill.App.3d 418, 306 Ill.Dec. 395, 857 N.E.2d 794, 804 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2006). Rather, laches depends on some change in the condition or relation of the property and the parties. Renth v. Krausz, 219 Ill.App.3d 120, 161 Ill.Dec. 754, 579 N.E.2d 11, 13 (Ill.App. 5th Dist.1991). The element of prejudice is critical, and Illinois courts have in some circumstances imposed laches to bar suits brought before the statute of limitations has expired. Id; see also Maksym v. Loesch, 937 F.2d 1237,1248 (7th Cir.1991) (stating that laches is “really a doctrine of estoppel rather than a substitute for a statute of limitations”); The Nature Conservancy v. Wilder Corp., No. 06–1096, 2009 WL 1492177 (C.D.Ill. May 28, 2009).
*5 Traditionally, the doctrine of laches only applied in suits in equity and was unavailable in suits at law. In 1991, the Seventh Circuit observed in Maksym that every case that its research had located in which the court had said that laches is a defense at law as well as equity turned out to be quasi-equitable and not a pure damages suit. Maksym, 937 F.2d at 1248. The following year, however, the Illinois appellate court concluded (albeit in a statement not necessary to the disposition) that laches defeated a claim for money damages. Kotsias v. Continental Bank, N.A., 235 Ill.App.3d 472, 176 Ill.Dec. 487, 601 N.E.2d 1185, 1189–90 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.1992). Recently, the Illinois appellate court concluded that Illinois courts routinely apply laches in lawsuits simultaneously seeking both legal and equitable remedies, but there is still disagreement among Illinois courts as to whether laches is an appropriate defense to suits seeking only monetary damages. Valdovinos v. Tomita, 394 Ill.App.3d 14, 333 Ill.Dec. 14, 914 N.E.2d 221, 226 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2009) ( citing, inter alia, Kotsias, 176 Ill.Dec. 487, 601 N.E.2d at 1189–90).

 

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