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Know your signature requirements: Failure to get union vote and two signatures voids $2.3 million judg­ment on real-estate lease

From the Illinois supreme court in 1550 MP Road LLC v. Teamsters Local No. 700, 2019 IL 123046 (Mar. 21, 2019): A landlord sued its defaulting tenant, a union local. The landlord won a $2.3 million judgment against the union in the trial court, only to see the award thrown out in the state supreme court. Why? Because in signing the lease, the union official had not complied with the requirements of a state statute that authorized unincorporated associations to lease or purchase real estate in their own names.

The statute required an unincorporated association to submit a proposed real-estate lease to vote of the membership, after advance written notice. The statute also required the lease to be signed by both the president and the secretary of the association. Neither of those requirements were met.

Holding that the lease was void ab initio, the supreme court reversed a judgment of $2.3 million in favor of the landlord and remanded with instructions to enter a take-nothing judgment in favor of the union.