Does Failure to Respond to Notices Urging Redemption Constitute Negligence ?

In Garcia v. Rosewell, 43 Ill. App. 3d 512, 517, 357 N.E.2d 559, 2 Ill. Dec. 392 (1976), the plaintiff had nine children and a husband, who was sick and unable to work. The plaintiff could not work because she had to take care of the children and she could not pay her 1969 and 1970 tax bills. The property, which was a single-family residence, was sold. Another person then obtained possession of the tax certificate for the sale, but not the tax deed. This person began to extort payments from the plaintiff under the representation that he owned the house and would sell it back to her. During that time, an entity, which was the rightful owner of the tax deed, sent the plaintiff notices urging redemption under the proper statutory procedures. Ultimately, the plaintiff did not redeem the property from the rightful owner of the tax deed. There, the plaintiff filed a petition for indemnity and the trial court found that the plaintiff's failure to pursue the notices sent from the rightful owner of the tax deed constituted negligence. The appellate court considered whether the plaintiff's failure to respond to the notices urging redemption constituted fault or negligence under the statute. Citing Glover v. Glover, 132 Ill. App. 2d 284, 268 N.E.2d 218 (1971), the court held the meaning of "without fault or negligence" should be interpreted similarly to the words "without fault," where a party "need not be totally blameless, but the person claiming the asserted right must not have purposefully failed in a duty or engaged in conduct that materially contributed to the problem complained of." Garcia, 43 Ill. App. 3d at 517. The court further emphasized that each case must be decided on its own facts. Garcia, 43 Ill. App. 3d at 517.