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Bond Filing Absolutely Must Precede Attachment Order Under Illinois Attachment Act, Appeals Court Rules

In a business fraud lawsuit pitting a bank against its security vendor, the Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District ruled May 1 that an attachment order must be voided under the Illinois Attachment Act if plaintiffs fail to file an attachment bond beforehand. In ABN Amro Services Company, Inc. v. Navarrete Industries, Inc., No. 1-07-0089 (Ill. App. 2008), the appeals court voided such an order and remanded it to the trial court.

The case arose from alleged fraud by INS, which provided security for multiple Chicago-area La Salle Bank branches. A fraud investigator discovered that Armando Navarrete of INS was fraudulently overbilling the banks by an alleged $15.9 million, then paying kickbacks to the banks’ vice president for security, George Konjuch. The bank filed a lawsuit in September of 2006 against INS, Konjuch, Navarrete and another INS employee, alleging fraud, civil conspiracy and constructive trust, plus breach of fiduciary duty against Konjuch. (Konjuch and Navarrete have since been indicted by a federal grand jury for the scheme.)

At the same time, plaintiffs asked for a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and an order of statutory prejudgment attachment, all of which were attempts to keep the alleged conspirators from absconding with the money. Upon receiving notice of these filings, defendants immediately filed motions to void the restraining order and the prejudgment attachment. After hearings, the trial court dissolved the restraining order and denied the preliminary injunction, but declined to vacate the attachment order. Both sides appealed.

On appeal, the First District considered only Konjuch’s motion to vacate the attachment order. Using the plain language of the Illinois Attachment Act, the court concluded that plaintiffs are absolutely required to file a bond before they may be granted an attachment order:

Unfortunately, the result of declaring the order void results in a waste of resources in this case. While plaintiffs clearly attempted to comply with the statute, they failed to do so. This issue could not be resolved by simple amendment because of the absolute mandatory command of the statute, therefore the mootness and aider by verdict doctrines do not apply. The order is simply void. A liberal construction of the Act cannot cure this defect and the order must be dismissed.

Thus, the three-judge majority reversed and remanded the case to the Circuit Court of Cook County.