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Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Verdict for J&B Client in Boat Dispute

June 11, 2024

Today, the Appellate Court issued an opinion in Rocha v. Munson Ski et al. that affirmed a 2022 judgment in favor of Johnson & Bell’s clients. The case involved the sale of a Chaparral boat to a first-time boat owner. The owner claimed steering problems after her purchase, which Munson Ski attributed to user error. Then, while in the Lake Michigan “play pen” the owner ran over a dock line that became entangled in the boat’s prop. Repair work was completed under warranty but was delayed due to supply chain issues. Plaintiff remained dissatisfied, revoked her acceptance of the boat, and filed suit against Defendants. After Plaintiff filed suit, Munson Ski resold the boat and sale proceeds above Plaintiff’s loan amounts were kept in escrow.

Steve Ellenbecker successfully tried warranty, common law fraud, and consumer fraud counts before a jury. Remaining counts related to the escrow funds were decided by the bench. The trial court divided the escrow funds evenly between Plaintiff and Defendants.

Plaintiff appealed. Garrett Boehm handled the appeal. Defendants argued that Plaintiff’s appeal of the jury verdict was untimely. Instead of filing a posttrial motion within 30 days of entry of judgment on the jury verdict, Plaintiff waited to file a posttrial motion until after the escrow counts were resolved months later. The Appellate Court held it lacked jurisdiction to consider appeal of the jury verdict because Plaintiff failed to timely file a posttrial motion. With regard to the escrow funds, the Appellate Court held that the trial court’s division of escrow funds was not an abuse of discretion.

Congratulations to Steve and Garrett.

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