In A.J. Smith Federal Savings Bank v. Sabuco, 2013 IL App (3d) 120578, the Illinois Appellate Court held that a court order denying a debtor relief from a judgment underlying a wage deduction proceeding was merely interlocutory and not appealable. Id. ¶ 13. The holding in Sabuco serves as a helpful reminder that an order remains interlocutory unless it disposes of the parties’ rights in the entire controversy or a separate part thereof. Absent an applicable exception, interlocutory orders are not appealable.
In Sabuco, the plaintiff bank made a loan to the defendant, which was secured by a mortgage on a commercial office building. Id. ¶ 2. The defendant executed an assignment of rents from any lessee of the office building in favor of the plaintiff. Id. When the defendant failed to make payments on the mortgage loan, the plaintiff filed a complaint for mortgage foreclosure and a petition for possession of the property. Id. ¶ 3.
The trial court entered an order granting the plaintiff possession of the property and a judgment of foreclosure and a deficiency judgment against the defendant. Id. ¶ 6. The plaintiff then served an affidavit for a wage deduction order, a wage deduction notice, and a wage deduction summons in an attempt to satisfy the deficiency judgment. Id. Prior to the wage deduction hearing, the defendant filed a motion for entry of release and satisfaction of judgment, claiming that the rental payments the plaintiff received as a result of the assignment of rents could satisfy the deficiency judgment. Id. ¶ 7. The trial court denied the motion and scheduled a wage deduction hearing. Id. ¶ 8. The defendant appealed from the denial of his motion for release and satisfaction prior to the trial court conducting a wage deduction hearing. Id.
The reviewing court noted that it only had jurisdiction to review orders that were final and appealable, which were orders that terminated the litigation between the parties on the merits or disposed of the rights of the parties, either on the entire controversy or a separate part thereof. Id. ¶ 14. “When a debtor files a motion contesting the validity of the judgment underlying a wage deduction proceeding prior to a wage deduction hearing, a trial court’s denial of such a motion is not final and appealable because ‘the same attack could later be made at the wage reduction hearing.’ ” Id. ¶ 13 (quoting Felton v. Shead, 6 Ill. App. 3d 123, 126 (1972)). The order denying the debtor relief was merely interlocutory and not appealable because the issue of the validity of the underlying judgment would not be finally decided until the wage deduction hearing. Sabuco, 2013 IL App (3d) 120578, ¶ 13. Thus, the trial court’s judgment would not be final and appealable until after the wage deduction hearing. Id.
The application of the above principles to the facts in Sabuco
was simple and straightforward. The defendant filed a motion for release and satisfaction from the deficiency judgment, which the trial court denied. Id.
¶ 15. The defendant appealed the trial court’s order before the wage deduction hearing. Id.
The defendant’s motion was an attack on the judgment underlying the wage deduction proceeding, which could have also been made at the wage deduction hearing. Id.
Thus, the trial court’s order was merely interlocutory and not appealable because the validity of the underlying judgment would not be finally decided until the wage deduction hearing. Id.
Accordingly, the reviewing court dismissed the appeal because it lacked jurisdiction to consider the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion for entry of release and satisfaction. Id.
Recommended Citation: Shannon R. Burke, Order Denying Motion for Release and Satisfaction of Judgment in Wage Deduction Proceeding Not Final and Appealable, The Brief, (January 26, 2014), http://applawyers-thebrief.blogspot.com/2014/01/order-denying-motion-for-release-and.html.