Civil Procedure Keyed to Cound
Hansberry v. Lee
ProfessorBrittany L. Raposa
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Plaintiffs, class of landowners, brought suit in Illinois state court to enforce a restrictive covenant. The covenant provided that it was not effective unless it was signed by 95% of the owners of the frontage. Defendant Hansberry, an African American, purchased some of the land from an owner who had signed the agreement. The suit was brought to enjoin the sale as a breach of the covenant. An earlier Illinois state court action established that 95% of the owners had signed the covenant. Defendant argued that res judicata did not bind Defendant by this judgment because they were not parties to the action nor were they in privity with the parties or successors in interest. Defendant also argued that it would deny them due process if the prior decision was binding. The Circuit Court held that the issue was binding even though they found that only 54% of the owners had actually signed it. Although the stipulation was untrue, it was not fraudulent or collusive. The Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed, saying that it was a class action and therefore was binding on all the class members unless reversed or set aside in direct proceedings. Because the sellers of the land to Defendant were members of the class, Defendant was bound by the decision as well. Defendant appealed.
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