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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
Bohem, Kurtz & Lowry v. Evans Landscaping, Inc. C-140597DEFAULT JUDGMENT - PROCEDURE/RULES: Where defendant had filed an answer, the trial court erred in granting plaintiff a default judgment under Civ.R. 55 without requiring plaintiff to present a prima facie case. Because the trial court was without authority to enter the Civ.R. 55 default judgment in favor of plaintiff, it is void and may be collaterally attacked at any time without defendant showing entitlement to relief from judgment under Civ.R. 60(B).FischerHamilton 7/2/2015 7/2/2015 2015-Ohio-2692
State v. Carr C-140172APPELLATE REVIEW/CRIMINAL - SENTENCING: When the record certified for review can fairly be read to indicate that a criminal defendant challenging the imposition of a prison term has completed that period of incarceration and has been released from prison, an appellate court cannot afford the defendant meaningful relief in the form of an order affecting the imposition or duration of the prison term he challenges. The concept of mootness on appeal is that there is no meaningful remedy that the appellate court can provide in the event of a reversal; in the criminal sentence context, it is a recognition that once the defendant has been released from prison on a sentence that is challenged on appeal, there is no way the court of appeals can give him back the time served in prison, and thus the court has no duty to decide an assignment of error that is moot in the sense that the court cannot provide the appellant with any meaningful relief.CunninghamHamilton 6/26/2015 6/26/2015 2015-Ohio-2529
Zang v. Cones C-140274WRONGFUL DEATH - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - EVIDENCE - SUMMARY JUDGMENT: In a wrongful-death action brought by the executors of the estate of a deceased firefighter who died while fighting a home fire, the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee Motorola, Inc., on the portion of the plaintiffs' products-liability claim alleging that Motorola's digital trunked radio system was defective in design, because the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a feasible alternative design. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the portion of the plaintiffs' products-liability claim alleging that the emergency button on Motorola's portable hand-held radios was defectively designed: expert testimony was not required to establish the design-defect claim because the design of the emergency button was not overly complex and was within the knowledge and comprehension of a layperson, and genuine issues of material fact existed with respect to whether the benefits exceeded the foreseeable risks of the emergency button's design. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee Morning Pride, LLC, on the plaintiffs' products-liability claim alleging that Morning Pride had failed to adequately warn users about the limitations of its personal protective equipment, because the plaintiffs failed to introduce any opposing evidence to counter that offered by Morning Pride that its warnings were adequate. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee homeowners on the basis of the Firefighter's Rule, because genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether their conduct in engaging in a clandestine marijuana-growing operation was willful and wanton.HendonHamilton 6/26/2015 6/26/2015 2015-Ohio-2530
Bank of New York Mellon v. Martin C-140314APPELLATE REVIEW/CIVIL - PROCEDURE/RULES - REAL PROPERTY - RES JUDICATA/ESTOPPPEL: To succeed on a motion for relief from judgment under Civ.R. 60(B), a movant must establish (1) a meritorious defense, (2) entitlement to relief under one of the grounds set forth in the rule, and (3) that the motion was made within a reasonable time; all three prongs must be met before relief from judgment can be granted. An appellate court reviews a trial court's decision to grant or deny relief from judgment under an abuse-of-discretion standard; reversal is warranted only when the court's decision was unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable. Lack of standing to bring an action in foreclosure is an issue that is cognizable on appeal, and therefore it cannot be used to collaterally attack a judgment in foreclosure. While a party's lack of standing to bring a foreclosure action can be challenged in the course of the proceedings themselves or on direct appeal of the judgment, res judicata bars a party from asserting a lack of standing in a collateral attack on a final judgment in foreclosure. When a party challenging a foreclosure action has repeatedly raised the question of standing in the trial court, the court has found its arguments unavailing, and the party could have pursued a direct appeal but chose not to, the doctrine of res judicata bars the party from challenging standing by means of a collateral attack on the final judgment.CunninghamHamilton 6/26/2015 6/26/2015 2015-Ohio-2531
Bank of Am., N.A. v. Kenney C-140484FORECLOSURE - REAL PROPERTY: The plaintiff in a foreclosure action that is the holder of the promissory note and assignee of the mortgage does not need to demonstrate that it is also in physical possession of the mortgage.DeWineHamilton 6/24/2015 6/24/2015 2015-Ohio-2485
State v. Woodruff C-140256, C-140257SEX OFFENSES - JOINDER - EVIDENCE/WITNESS/TRIAL - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW/CRIMINAL - HEARSAY - SENTENCING: Where defendant was charged with rape and gross sexual imposition against two child victims, illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and pandering sexually-oriented material, the trial court did not err in refusing to sever the counts, because the evidence of each offense was separate and uncomplicated. The trial court did not err in refusing to allow defendant to question the child victims about a purported false allegation of sexual abuse against one of the victim's father where the court concluded that no false allegation had been made. The trial court did not err in allowing the victims' interviews with social workers to be played in their entirety. There was no Confrontation Clause violation because both victims testified at trial. Further, the circumstances supported a finding that the statements were admissible under the hearsay exception for statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment. The admission of an investigator's report containing multiple sexually-explicit images of women, girls and cartoon figures found on defendant's computer was not error, because the images were relevant to whether defendant knew they were on his computer. The trial court erred when it failed to make the required findings before ordering that the sentences be served consecutively and to incorporate those findings in its sentencing entry.DeWineHamilton 6/19/2015 6/19/2015 2015-Ohio-2417
Hallman v. Zipperer-Davis C-140589CONTRACTS - DAMAGES: In a breach-of-contract case, the trial court did not err in overruling the plaintiff's motion for prejudgment interest under R.C. 1343.03(A), where the jury's general verdict, which explicitly included interest, was in apparent conflict with a jury interrogatory, which stated that the plaintiff was not entitled to interest: by waiting until after the jury had been discharged to object to the inconsistency, the plaintiff waived any claim of error under Civ.R. 49(B).FischerHamilton 6/17/2015 6/17/2015 2015-Ohio-2345
State v. Smith C-140391, C-140408DIVORCE AND DISSOLUTION - PROCEDURES/RULES: In a divorce action, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when, in granting wife's Civ.R. 60(B) motion for relief from judgment that sought to include husband's pension, which had been inadvertently omitted as a marital asset, it treated husband's pension as an asset instead of income, ordered it to be divided equally between the parties without reconsidering the parties' property division, and named wife as an alternate payee with survival rights in the pension. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying husband's spousal-support obligation from $1500 a month to $1 a year effective February 1, 2013, where the record reflects that husband had experienced a substantial change in circumstances following his retirement from the United States Postal Service.FischerHamilton 6/12/2015 6/12/2015 2015-Ohio-2258
State v. Foreman C-140560, C-140561COUNSEL - PLEAS: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel may be presumed where, at the hearing on defendant's motions to withdraw his guilty pleas, counsel represented competing interests and defendant was denied the right to cross-examination. Defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel where the same counsel represented defendant at his plea hearing and at the hearing on his motions to withdraw his guilty pleas, and one of the bases for the motion to withdraw was the allegation that the pleas were involuntary because counsel had lied to defendant: counsel could not reasonably be expected to argue that he had lied to defendant, and defendant was without an advocate for purposes of cross-examination.StautbergHamilton 6/12/2015 6/12/2015 2015-Ohio-2259
State v. Ward C-140721ASSAULT - COUNSEL - ID/PHOTOS - JURY INSTRUCTIONS: The trial court did not err in failing to suppress the victim's testimony identifying the defendant as his attacker, because the identification was reliable under the totality of the circumstances: the victim saw the defendant at close range in a well-lit area before and during the assault; the victim's description to police proved to accurately describe the defendant who was apprehended within 20 minutes of the assault only several blocks away, and the victim was able to identify the defendant with certainty. The defendant was not denied the effective assistance of counsel, despite his claim that counsel had failed to timely file a notice of alibi pursuant to Crim.R. 12.1, where counsel's conduct could be construed to be a trial strategy and where the defendant failed to demonstrate resulting prejudice. The defendant's assault conviction was not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the state presented evidence that the defendant had punched the victim several times, causing physical harm. The trial court's admonitions to the jury that an eyewitness-identification procedure used by police was neither inherently improper nor unconstitutional and that the jurors were the exclusive judges of the facts were proper where the remarks clarified that the legality of the procedure was a matter for the trial court and that the jury would have to decide whether the eyewitness identification was reliable, and where the admonitions were a reasonable response to defense counsel's apparent defiance in continuing to impugn the police procedure during closing argument despite the court's explicit ruling on the matter.HendonHamilton 6/12/2015 6/12/2015 2015-Ohio-2260