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BMW Financial Services v. Felice

2017 Ill. App. 2d 160397, 75 N.E.3d 368, 412 Ill. Dec. 388 (2017)

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BMW Financial Services v. Felice

Illinois Appellate Court

2017 Ill. App. 2d 160397, 75 N.E.3d 368, 412 Ill. Dec. 388 (2017)

Facts

Bruce Grant purchased a Porsche Panamera and executed a retail installment contract for the purchase. The contract granted BMW Financial Service, N.A., LLC (BMW) (plaintiff) a security interest in the vehicle. The Illinois secretary of state issued a certificate of title to Grant, naming BMW as the first lienholder. Grant later submitted a fraudulent lien-release letter to the secretary of state, which BMW did not execute or authorize. The secretary of state issued Grant a duplicate certificate of title that did not list BMW as a lienholder but that included language stating that the title could be subject to the rights of a person under the original certificate. Grant sold the Porsche to Auto Showcase, Inc. (defendant) and executed assignment of title on the duplicate certificate. Auto Showcase searched the secretary of state’s records for liens but found none. Auto Showcase sold the vehicle to Richard Felice (defendant). BMW contacted the secretary of state, asserting that Grant’s lien release was fraudulent and that any future attempts to grant title for the Porsche without showing BMW’s lien should be denied. Auto Showcase filed suit in Illinois state court to compel the secretary of state to list Felice as the Porsche’s owner. The trial court ruled in favor of Auto Showcase, and the secretary of state issued title to Felice. BMW filed a replevin action in Illinois state court against Felice and Auto Showcase, seeking possession of the Porsche. Felice was dismissed from the suit when Auto Showcase repurchased the Porsche from him. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of BMW, and Auto Showcase appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hudson, J.)

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