Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's order confirming the sale of Homeowners' property after the trial court entered a foreclosure decree in favor of Bank, holding that the foreclosure decree was a final, appealable order. Homeowners challenged the trial court's entry of a foreclosure decree in favor Bank. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of a final, appealable order because the foreclosure decree did not state the amounts owed to two other lienholders. During the appeal, Homeowners' property was sold at a sheriff's sale. Homeowners' second appeal challenged the trial court's order confirming the sale of the property. The court of appeals concluded that the law-of-the-case doctrine required adherence to its earlier decision that the foreclosure decree was not a final, appealable order, and therefore, the trial court had no authority to confirm the sale. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the trial court's confirmation of sale, holding that the foreclosure decree against Homeowners was a final, appealable order that fully addressed the rights and responsibilities of all parties. View "Farmers State Bank v. Sponaugle" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's petition for a writ of prohibition to bar East Cleveland Municipal Court Judge William Dawson from continuing to preside over Euclid Lake Properties, LLC. v. Tri Eagle Fuels, LLC, East Cleveland M.C. case No. 17CVG01000, holding that jurisdiction was not patently and unambiguously lacking in the municipal court. Lessee signed a commercial lease to rent certain property from Lessor for fifteen years. After Lessor alleged that Lessee was in default of the lease and served Lessee with a notice to vacate the premises Lessee filed suit alleging that Lessor, in fact, had breached the lease. Before Lessor filed an answer it filed a forcible-entry-and-detainer (FE&D) action against Lessee. The case was assigned to Judge Dawson. Lessee filed an original action for a writ of prohibition alleging that Judge Dawson lacked jurisdiction to proceed in the municipal court case based on the jurisdictional priority rule. The court of appeals denied the writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Judge Dawson was not deprived of jurisdiction over the FE&D action. View "State ex rel. Tri Eagle Fuels, LLC v. Dawson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Appellee's motion to dismiss Appellant's appeal from the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that denied Appellant's claim for property-tax exemption for several parcels of land it owned, holding that Appellant timely perfected its appeal. As support for its motion to dismiss, Appellee argued that because Appellant did not initiate service by certified mail within the thirty-day period prescribed by Ohio Rev. Code 5717.04 for filing its notice of appeal, the Supreme Court must dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court rejected Appellee's argument, holding that section 5717.04 does not state a timeline for the certified-mail service of the notice of appeal on the appellees, and it is not disputed that the notice of appeal was properly served on Appellee by certified mail. View "The City of Upper Arlington v. McClain" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writs of prohibition and mandamus sought by Relators to order the Warren County Board of Elections to remove from the May 7 ballot a referendum on a 2018 resolution adopted by the Wayne Township Board of Trustees relating to property on which Relators sought to construct a housing development, holding that the board of elections did not abuse its discretion or clearly disregard applicable law. The resolution adopted by the township trustees amended the zoning district for the subject properties from residence single family zone to village transition PUD. Relators submitted a protest on the referendum. The board rejected the protest. Relators then filed this action seeking a writ of prohibition and a writ of mandamus ordering the board to sustain Relators’ protest of the referendum. The Supreme Court denied the writs, holding that Relators were not entitled to either writ. View "State ex rel. Federle v. Warren County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by the St. Clair Township Board of Trustees (St. Clair) seeking to compel the City of Hamilton and its officers (Hamilton) to calculate and pay lost tax revenue associated with territory that was annexed to the city before March 27, 2002 but not excluded from the township until 2016, holding that St. Clair was not entitled to relief. On March 27, 2002, S.B. 5 became effective. Under Ohio Rev. Code 709.19(B), as amended by S.B. 5, a municipality was to pay a township for lost tax revenue associated with the municipality’s annexation of territory of any township only when territory had been annexed and excluded as prescribed by Ohio Rev. Code 503.07, with the payments commencing upon exclusion. In 2016, the General Assembly repealed the S.B. 5 version of section 709.19. After the current version of section 709.19 took effect, the city created Hamilton Township, which consisted of the parts of the townships, including St. Clair, that the city annexed before the effective date of S.B. 5. Thereafter, St. Clair sought lost-tax-revenue payments from Hamilton. Hamilton refused to pay. St. Clair sought a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that St. Clear did not establish a clear legal right to the relief requested. View "State ex rel. St. Clair Township Board of Trustees v. Hamilton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that reduced the taxable value of a piece of property for tax year 2015, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to consider a portion of this appeal and that the remainder of the challenge had merit. The BTA reduced the taxable value of the property from $66,000 to $48,000 and then imposed an additional ten percent reduction to arrive at a value of $43,210. The Cuyahoga County Board of Revision (BOR) and the Cuyahoga County fiscal officer (collectively, the county) appealed. The Supreme Court held (1) because the county did not challenge the initial reduction to $48,000 in its notice of appeal, the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the county’s challenge to that reduction advanced in the county’s briefing; and (2) the record provided no basis for the BTA to apply an additional ten percent reduction to the property value. View "Yanega v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant’s complaint for a writ of mandamus against Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Lou A. D’Apolito, holding that the court of appeals correctly concluded that Appellant had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. In his complaint for a writ of mandamus Appellant sought to vacate a default judgment and a foreclosure judgment foreclosing on his property. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the trial court had personal jurisdiction over Appellant before the entry of the default judgment and the foreclosure decree, Appellant had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law by a direct appeal of those orders. View "State ex rel. Washington v. D'Apolito" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court answered two state-law questions from the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by holding that the failure to identify a person who has initialed, signed, and acknowledged a mortgage agreement by name in the body of the agreement does not render the agreement unenforceable as a matter of law against that signatory. The panel specifically asked whether a mortgage is invalid and unenforceable against a signatory who is not identified by name in the body of the mortgage agreement. The Supreme Court answered in the negative, holding that, as a matter of general contract interpretation, it is possible for a person who is not identified in the body of the mortgage, but who has signed and initiated the mortgage, to be a mortgagor of her interest. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. Rhiel" on Justia Law

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At issue was what type of reference within a chain of title is sufficient to preserve an earlier-created interest under Ohio’s Marketable Title Act, which generally allows a landowner who has an unbroken chain of title to land for a forty-year period to transfer title free of interests that existed prior to the beginning of the chain of title unless sufficient reference is made to interests within that chain of title. Landowners sought to extinguish an oil-and-gas royalty interest created in 1915. Landowners argued that a reference in a deed in their chain of title to the royalty interest, as well as the original holder of the interest, was not sufficient to preserve the interest because it did not include either the volume and page number of the record in which the interest was recorded or the date on which the interest was recorded. The court of appeals concluded that Landowners’ title remained subject to the royalty interest. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a reference that includes the type of interest created and to whom the interest was granted is sufficiently specific to preserve the interest in the record title. View "Blackstone v. Moore" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this defamation case to the trial court for further proceedings, holding that the cap in Ohio Rev. Code 2315.18 that applies to tort actions seeking noneconomic loss as a result of an alleged injury or loss to a person or property also applies to defamation. Plaintiff filed this civil complaint against Defendant, alleging several claims. At trial, the only claim submitted to the jury was for defamation. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff and awarded her $800,000 in compensatory damages and $750,000 in punitive damages. Defendant appealed, arguing that the amount awarded in damages was in excess of the applicable caps on damages set forth in section 2315.18(B)(2). The appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the cap on damages for noneconomic loss set forth in section 2315.18(B)(2) unambiguously caps the noneconomic damages that can be recovered as a result of defamation. View "Wayt v. DHSC, LLC" on Justia Law