Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. Gallagher

November 26, 2008

JOHN G. BROWN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JASON GALLAGHER, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



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

DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

{¶1} Plaintiff-Appellant, John Brown, appeals the decision of the Chillicothe Municipal Court granting a motion to dismiss his complaint against Defendant-Appellee, Jason Gallagher. Appellant contends the trial court erred when it held that his complaint, founded on the indemnification provisions of a release of all claims executed by Appellee, failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Because there is no clear public policy in Ohio that would prevent the enforcement of the indemnification, we find the trial court's dismissal under Civ.R. 12(B) was improper.

Accordingly, we sustain Appellant's assignment of error and overrule the decision of the trial court.

I. Facts

{¶2} This appeal is predicated upon a settlement agreement the parties entered into as a result of an auto accident. In 2002, Appellant's vehicle collided into Appellee in Union Township, Ross County. At the time, Appellee was employed as a Deputy Sheriff with the Ross County Sheriff's Department. As a result of injuries he sustained in the incident, Appellant brought suit against Appellee. Before the case came on for trial, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. As part of that agreement, and in consideration of $87,500.00, Appellee executed a document entitled Release of All Claims, in which he agreed to indemnify Appellant for " * * * any and all claims, liability, and expense, including attorney's fees, for any claim or demand of any party, and any claim or demand of any third party * * * " resulting from the auto collision. That indemnification agreement is at the center of the current appeal.

{¶3} Subsequent to the civil settlement, Appellant plead guilty to a charge of vehicular assault in the criminal case which arose from the same incident. The trial court sentenced him to seventeen months in prison, though he was granted judicial release after serving only two. The court further ordered Appellant to pay $7,923.44 in restitution to the Ross County Sheriff's Department for leave payments the Department made to Appellee during his convalescence.

{¶4} As a result of being ordered to pay restitution to the Sheriff's Department in the criminal case, Appellant filed a complaint against Appellee in the Chillicothe Municipal Court for $7,923.44, based on the indemnification provisions of their settlement agreement. Appellee then filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted under Civ.R. 12(B). Appellant failed to respond to Appellee's motion. The trial court subsequently granted Appellee's Civ.R 12(B) motion and dismissed the complaint. Appellant now appeals that decision.

II. Assignment of Error

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT A CLAIM BASED UPON THE INDEMNIFICATION PROVISIONS OF A RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS AGREEMENT FAILED TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF COULD BE GRANTED UNDER CIVIL RULE 512(B) [sic].

III. Standard of Review

{¶5} In his sole assignment of error, Appellant argues the trial court erred in granting Appellee's motion under Civ.R. 12(B). Because it presents a question of law, we review a trial court's decision regarding a motion to dismiss independently and without deference to the trial court's determination. See Roll v. Edwards, 156 Ohio App.3d 227, 235, 805 N.E.2d 162; Noe v. Smith (2000), 143 Ohio App.3d 215, 218, 757 N.E.2d 1164. "A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is procedural and tests the sufficiency of the complaint." State ex rel. Hanson v. Guernsey Cty. Bd. of Commrs. (1992), 65 Ohio St.3d 545, 548, 605 N.E.2d 378. A trial court may not grant a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted unless it appears "beyond a doubt from the complaint that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling him to recovery." O'Brien v. Univ. Community Tenants Union (1975), 42 Ohio St.2d 242, 327 N.E.2d 753, syllabus; see, also, Greeley v. Miami Valley Maintenance Contractors, Inc. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 228, 551 N.E.2d 981.

{¶6} Furthermore, when considering a Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss, the trial court must review only the complaint, accepting all factual allegations as true and making every reasonable inference in favor of the nonmoving party. Sprouse v. Miller (Aug. 22, 2007), 4th Dist. No. 06CA37, 2007-Ohio-4397 at ¶5; see, also, JNS Enterprises, Inc. v. Sturgell (Jun. 15, 2005), 4th Dist. No. 05CA2814, 2005-Ohio-3200.

IV. Legal Analysis

{ΒΆ7} Appellant states the following in supporting his claim that Appellee is obligated to indemnify him for the court-ordered restitution: (1) that he and Appellee had previously entered into a settlement agreement concerning the injuries and damages suffered by the Appellee as the result of the collision; (2) that as a result of that settlement, Appellee agreed to indemnify Appellant for any claims asserted against him as a result of the accident; (3) that Appellant was subsequently convicted of a crime arising from the accident; (4) that his sentence included an order to pay restitution in the amount of $7,923.44 to the Ross County Sheriff's Department for injury leave payments made to the Appellee as a consequence of injuries he sustained in the accident; and, (5) that the settlement agreement obligated Appellee to indemnify Appellant against ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.