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Bennett v. American Electric Power Service Corp.

September 27, 2001

BRUCE H. BENNETT ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER SERVICE CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Deshler, J.

(REGULAR CALENDAR)

DECISION

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

Plaintiffs-appellants Bruce H. Bennett, Claude William Frishette, II, and Michael Bahleda, appeal from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment for defendant-appellee, American Electric Power Service Corporation ("AEP").

Appellants initiated this action seeking rescission of a contract assigning to AEP their rights in a patented product and process known under the trademarked name Flash Fill. AEP answered asserting that the assignment was enforceable, and in addition brought a counterclaim for indemnification.

The matter was decided by the trial court on cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court found that various letters exchanged between the parties and agreements entered into between the parties constituted a binding contract, that AEP had not breached the contract of assignment, and that even if breach were shown, appellants had so delayed bringing their action that rescission was no longer an appropriate remedy. The trial court therefore entered judgment in favor of AEP on appellants' claims. AEP voluntarily dismissed its counterclaim without prejudice.

Appellants have timely appealed and bring the following assignments of error:

ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR:

1. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE SEPTEMBER 11, 1990, LETTERS ARE THE CON-TROLLING AGREEMENTS[.]

2. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DEFENDANT/APPELLEE WAS NOT IN BREACH OF THE ASSIGNMENT[.]

3. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT RECISION [sic] WAS NOT AN APPROPRIATE REMEDY FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS[.]

4. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING DEFENDANT/APPELLEE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLANTIFFS/APPELLANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT[.]

Appellants' four assignments of error present interrelated issues and will be addressed together. The present matter was decided on summary judgment. Civ.R. 56(C) states that summary judgment shall be granted if:

*** [T]he pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written stipulations of fact, if any, timely filed in the action, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and ...


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