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CTM Legal Group Secures Appellate Victory for Tenant after Lengthy Court Battle

Posted by CTM Legal Group | Apr 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

In a case demonstrating the unwavering commitment of CTM Legal Group to tenants' rights, the firm has secured a hard-fought victory for a former Chicago renter after years of legal wrangling. The case underscores CTM's dogged persistence in ensuring landlords who violate housing laws and regulations are held accountable.

The dispute began when the tenant rented an apartment from a landlord who refused to address a hole in the unit's wall despite repeated requests over several months. Adding insult to injury, when the tenant vacated the property, the landlord unlawfully withheld the $1,350 security deposit - a violation of Illinois law and the Illinois Security Deposit Return Act.

"Our client tried resolving this himself, but the landlord dismissed his rightful claims," said Bill Tasch, Managing Partner of CTM Legal Group. "That's when he turned to us to be a forceful advocate on his behalf."

The first step was to attempt negotiating a fair settlement, but the landlord rebuffed all overtures. Left with no alternative, CTM filed a lawsuit - setting in motion an unnecessarily protracted five-year legal saga.

"The landlord was extraordinarily successful at achieving a massive delay through the legal system," Tasch stated. "It was a callous attempt to grind our client down, but we would not be deterred." 

The landlord also filed a countersuit. In the countersuit, the landlord argued that his lease form required tenants to be responsible for all upkeep and maintenance costs for his property. Thus, he argued it was the tenant's responsibility to repair the hole in the wall. But in Illinois, landlords are responsible for general property upkeep; no published Illinois decision has ever held otherwise. Nonetheless, the landlord persisted with his counterclaim and outrageously demanded the tenant pay him $30,000 in upkeep costs for his property, plus his attorney fees. 

CTM's perseverance ultimately prevailed when the case finally came for trial, five years after it was filed. Instead of finally facing a trial for his conduct, the landlord and his attorney skipped the trial and asked for yet another delay in the case. But the court denied their attempt and dismissed the landlord's countersuit. The court awarded the tenant all of the damages he was seeking, approximately $10,000, plus more than $70,000 to recoup legal fees and costs stemming from the landlord's vexatious conduct.

However, the landlord opted to appeal the decision, prolonging the case for nearly two more years before the Appellate Court finally dismissed the appeal in December 2023, vindicating CTM's client once and for all. 

"This case epitomizes why tenants need relentless legal advocates like our team at CTM," Tasch concluded. "We will vigorously fight for each client's rights, even when landlords engaged in scorched-earth tactics. This ruling puts unscrupulous landlords on notice that we won't be cowed into surrendering what is lawfully owed to our clients."

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