Manistee Apartments, LLC v. City of Chicago, No. 15-3113 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The City of Chicago obtained a default administrative judgment of $3,540 against Plaintiff (Manistee Apartments), based upon a ﬁnding of code violations. The city registered the judgment and imposed a lien against plaintiﬀ’s real estate. Plaintiﬀ contends that it ﬁrst received actual notice of the lien during routine title insurance review while it was preparing to sell its properties. In response to plaintiff’s effort to settle the matter, the city demanded $5,655.16, reflecting $720.34 in statutory interest plus $1,394.82 in collection costs and attorneys’ fees. Plaintiff conveyed its property, paid $5,655.16 under protest, and ﬁled a federal class action, alleging due process violations. The court dismissed, stating that the plaintiﬀ failed to allege facts that plausibly supported the assertion that it paid the demand under duress; because its payment was voluntary, plaintiff was not deprived of a constitutionally-protected property interest under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, stating that the claim was more appropriate for small claims court and questioning: why would such a small amount cause the plaintiﬀ to exert so much time and eﬀort? The court stated that it suspected that only lawyers stood to benefit.