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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
United States Fire Ins. v. Am. Bonding Co., Inc. C-160307, C-160317APPELLATE REVIEW/CIVIL - CONTRACTS - ATTORNEY FEES - DAMAGES: In an appeal from a civil bench trial, appellate courts generally review the trial court's judgment under a manifest-weight standard of review, weighing the evidence and all reasonable inferences, considering the credibility of the witnesses, and determining whether in resolving conflicts in the evidence, the trial court clearly lost its way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that its judgment must be reversed and a new trial ordered; where, however, the trial court's judgment is based upon a question of law, the appellate court reviews the trial court's determination de novo. A contract of adhesion is a standardized form contract prepared by one party, and offered to a weaker party, usually a consumer, who has no realistic choice as to the contract terms; a determination of whether a written agreement is a contract of adhesion and thus unconscionable is an issue of law reviewed de novo. Standardized contracts are not in every instance unconscionable; a standardized contract is not a contract of adhesion where the terms of the contract between two sophisticated business entities are not on their face unconscionable, the parties have entered similar agreements before, there is no severe imbalance of bargaining power between the parties, and the parties were free to enter agreements with other parties. Generally, the injured party in a breach-of-contract action has a duty to mitigate damages, meaning that the injured party cannot recover damages that it could have prevented by reasonable affirmative action; but where the terms of the contract are clear, and require full indemnification, the injured party is under no obligation to mitigate its damages. Ohio courts follow the "American rule," which requires that each party involved in litigation pay his or her own attorney fees; but contractual fee-shifting provisions are enforceable so long as the fees awarded are fair, just, and reasonable as determined by the trial court upon a full consideration of all of the circumstances of the case; an appellate court reviews de novo the trial court's interpretation of the fee-shifting provisions, and absent ambiguity in the language of the contract, the parties' intent to award fees to prevailing parties must be determined from the plain language of the document.CunninghamHamilton 12/2/2016 12/2/2016 2016-Ohio-7968
State v. Stacy C-150730SEXUAL IMPOSITION - EVIDENCE - CORROBORATION - SEX OFFENSES - REGISTRATION - NOTIFICATION: Where defendant was convicted of sexual imposition under R.C. 2907.06, evidence that the 16-year-old victim immediately went to her mother's bedroom to report what defendant had done, the victim was upset and crying, the victim called her stepmother and her boyfriend to tell them what had happened, the victim, according to a police officer, looked as if "something had happened to her," and defendant stated that he might have "accidentally" touched the victim while reaching for her dog was sufficient to meet the corroboration requirement of R.C. 2907.06(B). Where the trial court informed defendant that he was a Tier I sex offender and that he would have to register for 15 years and would have to register with the sheriff of his county of residence within three days after his release from jail, but delegated the task of providing defendant with specific notice about his registration duties to the "Clerk's Office or the Sheriff's Department," and where there is no indication in the record that the trial court provided the defendant with the notification form required by R.C. 2950.03, the trial court erred in failing to provide defendant the notification required by R.C. 2950.03 of his registration duties and the cause must be remanded for the trial court to properly notify defendant of his sex-offender registration requirements.StautbergHamilton 12/2/2016 12/2/2016 2016-Ohio-7977
State v. Grant C-150608, C-150609JURISDICTION-COMMUNITY CONTROL REVOCATION-MOOT-SENTENCE: The municipal court was not demonstrably without jurisdiction to revoke defendant's community control: the appeals court must presume the regularity of the proceedings below, when defendant was a concurrent-supervision offender pursuant to R.C. 2951.022, and the record does not demonstrate that a longer sentence was imposed for his felony conviction. An assignment of error challenging the revocation of defendant's community control and the imposition of a sentence of incarceration was moot, despite defendant's motion to stay his sentence, because defendant had completed the sentence, and thus the appeals court could not provide him with any meaningful relief.StautbergHamilton 11/23/2016 11/23/2016 2016-Ohio-7857
State v. Reece C-160228, C-160229JURISDICTION - SEX OFFENSES - REGISTRATION - RES JUDICATA: Defendant had no duty under former R.C. 2950.04(A)(1)(a) to register as a sex offender, when the 1993 judgment convicting him of gross sexual imposition did not impose a prison sentence, and therefore, he was not serving a sentence for a sexually oriented offense on or after July 1, 1997, when former R.C. Chapter 2950, Megan's Law, was enacted, even though he was, after July 1, 1997, serving time on an unrelated aggravated-burglary offense. The common pleas court had no jurisdiction to rule upon, and the court of appeals had no jurisdiction to review the common pleas court's entry overruling, defendant's 2006 "motion," filed in his 1993 gross-sexual-imposition case, challenging, under the Ohio Supreme Court's 2005 decision in State v. Champion, 106 Ohio St.3d 120, 2005-Ohio-4098, 832 N.E.2d 718, his duty to register as a sex offender. The trial court erred in applying the doctrine of res judicata to overrule defendant's motion to dismiss his 2015 indictment for failing to verify his current address: the common pleas court had no jurisdiction to entertain defendant's 2006 "motion" challenging his duty to register as a sex offender; therefore, the court's entry overruling that motion was not res judicata on the issue of whether defendant had a duty to register as a sex offender.StautbergHamilton 11/23/2016 11/23/2016 2016-Ohio-7858
State v. Pewett C-150668APPELLATE REVIEW - EXPUNGEMENT: An order under R.C. 2953.52 granting an application to seal the record of a criminal case following an acquittal is a final, appealable order, to which the doctrine of res judicata applies. The trial court's order granting the state's motion to reconsider its previous decision under R.C. 2953.52 to seal the record in a criminal case was a nullity, and therefore, it was not a final, appealable order.MockHamilton 11/16/2016 11/16/2016 2016-Ohio-7757
Troja v. Pleatman C-160447, C-160460REAL PROPERTY - REAL-ESTATE AGENT - DUTY TO DISCLOSE - APPELLATE REVIEW/CIVIL - JURISDICTION: A real-estate agent did not owe a duty to disclose to buyers that a convicted criminal lived next door to the sale property, because it was not a material defect. The trial court did not err in overruling the buyers' motion for reconsideration of the court's decision granting summary judgment to the real-estate agent based on the trial testimony of a vice president of the real-estate company in the trial between the buyers and the seller, because the testimony did not change the fact that the agent had no duty to disclose a nonmaterial defect on property not involved in the transaction. The trial court's decision granting a motion for sanctions against the buyers for frivolous conduct was a final, appealable order, and where the buyers did not appeal that order within 30 days, the appellate court has no jurisdiction to review issues related to the granting of that motion.MockHamilton 11/10/2016 11/10/2016 2016-Ohio-7683
State v. Pleatman C-16-234TELECOMMUNICATIONS HARASSMENT - EVIDENCE - APPELLATE REVIEW/CRIMINAL - WAIVER: The trial court did not err when it excluded evidence of an underlying civil dispute that was irrelevant under the telecommunications-harassment statute to the question of defendant's intent in sending an email to the victim. There was sufficient evidence that defendant intended to threaten or harass the victim where defendant sent him an email that contained an implied threat to harm a business relationship of the victim. The defendant waived her argument that R.C. 2917.21(B) violated her First Amendment rights because she did not raise the issue in the trial court.DeWineHamilton 11/9/2016 11/9/2016 2016-Ohio-7659
In re N.D. C-160206JUVENILE - PROCEDURE/RULES: The trial court erred when it dismissed the juvenile's objections to the magistrate's decision adjudicating him delinquent rather than conducting an independent review and ruling on the objected matters as required by Juv.R. 40(D)(4)(d).StautbergHamilton 11/4/2016 11/4/2016 2016-Ohio-7620
Fox Consulting v. Spartan Warehouse & Distrib., Inc. C-160251SUMMARY JUDGMENT - ACCORD AND SATISFACTION: Accord and satisfaction is an affirmative defense to a claim for money damages; in cases of accord and satisfaction involving a negotiable instrument, R.C. 1303.40 (UCC 3-311) applies. The trial court did not err in applying the defense of accord and satisfaction to a bona fide dispute regarding future monies due under a contract. The trial court did not err in holding that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendant's check to plaintiff was accompanied by a conspicuous statement to the effect that the check was tendered as full satisfaction of plaintiff's claim against defendant where on the face of the check defendant had written "final settlement and termination per attached," and the check was accompanied by an email stating that the check was being offered to resolve the parties' dispute over past and future obligations under a contract. The trial court did not err by finding that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to the existence of a bona fide dispute where plaintiff believed approximately $27,000 was due under the contract and defendant believed it was entitled to a refund of monies paid.StautbergHamilton 11/4/2016 11/4/2016 2016-Ohio-7621
State v. Wang C-150487APPELLATE REVIEW-JURISDICTION-POSTCONVICTION: The jointly recommended consecutive prison sentences imposed upon defendant's guilty pleas to aggravated trafficking and trafficking were not subject to review on direct appeal, because the sentences were authorized by law: R.C. 2925.03(C)(1)(e) required a prison term for his aggravated-trafficking offense, and R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) did not require findings to support the jointly recommended consecutive sentences. R.C. 2953.08(D)(1). The common pleas court had no jurisdiction to entertain defendant's postconviction motion seeking resentencing for alleged errors in the imposition of mandatory prison time and consecutive sentences without the R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) findings: the motion was not reviewable under R.C. 2953.21 et seq. as a postconviction petition because it did not allege a constitutional violation, under Crim.R. 33 as a motion for a new trial or under Crim.R. 32.1 as a motion to withdraw guilty pleas because the conviction was upon guilty pleas and the motion did not seek withdrawal of those pleas, or under R.C. Chapter 2731 as a petition for a writ of mandamus, under R.C. Chapter 2721 as a declaratory judgment action, or under R.C. Chapter 2725 as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, because the motion did not satisfy those statutes' procedural requirements. See R.C. 2731.04, 2721.12(A), and 2725.04. Defendant's appeal, taken from the common pleas court's judgment overruling his postconviction motion seeking resentencing for alleged errors in the imposition of mandatory prison time and consecutive sentences without the R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) findings, was subject to dismissal for lack of jurisdiction: because the motion was not reviewable by the common pleas court under R.C. 2953.21 et seq., the judgment overruling the motion was not reviewable by the court of appeals under the jurisdiction conferred by R.C. 2953.23(B) to review an order denying postconviction relief; because the judgment was not a "final order," it was not reviewable by the court of appeals under the jurisdiction conferred by R.C. 2505.03(A) to review, affirm, modify, or reverse a "final order, judgment or decree"; and because mandatory prison time was required for defendant's aggravated-trafficking offense and R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) findings were not required for the jointly recommended consecutive sentences, the judgment of conviction was not subject to correction by either the common pleas court or the court of appeals under the jurisdiction to correct a void judgment.MockHamilton 11/2/2016 11/2/2016 2016-Ohio-7578
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