JOLIET, IL — A pair of newlyweds from Mokena have filed a civil lawsuit at the Will County Courthouse against the Haley Mansion in Joliet, accusing the well-known wedding reception venue of keeping the couple's security deposit of $7,900 and refusing to give the money back amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kathryn Rapaport and Nicholas Hawkinson are being represented by long-time attorney Andrew Horberg of the Tinley Park law firm of LeVine, Ehrman & Horberg.
The plaintiff's lawyer told Joliet Patch that his clients ultimately got married this year in a small backyard ceremony that followed coronavirus guidelines regarding crowd size. Nonetheless, representatives of Joliet's Haley Mansion on South Center Street have refused to refund the newlyweds with their original deposit of nearly $8,000, their lawyer told Patch.
Their wedding at Haley Mansion "did not take place and they were greatly disappointed," their lawyer told Patch on Monday afternoon. "But now they just want their money back. They just want to be made whole," Horberg said.
Horberg said that as a result of Monday's lawsuit article in the Joliet Patch, one additional couple has contacted his Tinley Park law firm saying they had a similar experience with Haley Mansion and have yet to receive their money back despite not being able to hold their wedding at the Haley Mansion.
Horberg also told Patch he had warned the lawyers for the Haley Mansion that filing a lawsuit could generate "bad publicity" for the Haley Mansion, which relies on the goodwill of the public in order to thrive and grow their business.
Joliet Patch reached out to Haley Mansion on Monday for comment about the Mokena couple's Will County lawsuit, but did not hear back from lawyers defending the Joliet business.
On June 23, 2019, both sides agreed to terms for the use of the Haley Mansion in Joliet as the venue for the wedding reception of Hawkinson and Rapaport, the lawsuit states. The plaintiffs provided the Haley Mansion with a security deposit of $7,900 last year.
Their wedding reception was set to occur on April 11, 2020, court records show.
"Subsequent to the making of the deposits and agreeing to terms, and prior to April 11, 2020, the United States of America and more specifically the state of Illinois was subject to and continues to suffer from a pandemic from the COVID-19 virus," the Tinley Park law firm argues.
As a result of the coronavirus in Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker issued an executive order prohibiting the gatherings of 10 or more people outside of their households, the lawsuit states.
"On or about April 10, 2020, and July 8, 2020, demand was made to the Mansion for the return of the security deposit," the Mokena couple's lawsuit states. "As of the date of the filing of this complaint (October 13, 2020), defendant has failed and refused to return any monies to the plaintiffs."
For that reason, the Tinley Park law firm has asked that a Will County judge to declare and order the Mokena plaintiffs' agreement with the Haley Mansion in Joliet is rescinded.
"Due to said Executive Orders neither party could enjoy the benefit of their bargain without violating the law or endangering the health of the participants and staff at the Mansion," last week's Will County lawsuit argues.
Secondly, Haley Mansion needs to be ordered to repay the Mokena newlyweds their original deposit of $7,900 plus their legal costs of bringing this lawsuit, their lawyer argues.
So far, representatives of Haley Mansion have not responded to the lawsuit.
Located at 17 South Center St., the Haley Mansion shows an impressive 4.5 rating out of 5 stars for its 223 Google Reviews.
The website for the Haley Mansion proclaims the venue in Joliet is "Exquisite Cuisine in a Historic Setting."
"Overall The Haley Mansion serves as a beautiful event site, serving banquets, corporate events and receptions. As a result it is the most recognized and convenient historic wedding venue in the Southwest suburbs and all of Chicagoland," its website proclaims.