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Denver G. Sturgill v. Jp Morgan Chase & Co.

February 19, 2013

DENVER G. STURGILL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE & CO. DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



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

Cite as

Sturgill v. JP Morgan Chase Bank,

DECISION AND JUDGMENT : ENTRY

{¶1} This is an appeal from a Hocking County Court of Common Pleas judgment entry upholding a settlement agreement between Appellant, Denver Sturgill, and Appellee, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and dismissing Appellant's complaint with prejudice. On appeal, Appellant contends that 1) the trial court erred as a matter of law in concluding that a settlement had been reached among the parties; and 2) the trial court erred as a matter of law in considering the August 5, 2010, agreement without allowing any discussion about the agreement at issue, which Appellant contends provided for a cooling off period during which consent to settlement could be withdrawn. In light of our determination that Appellant's cashing of the settlement check forfeited his right to appeal and has rendered the issues raised herein moot, we dismiss Appellant's appeal.

FACTS

{¶2} Appellant filed a pro se complaint on May 4, 2009, against

Appellee alleging that it improperly paid several checks Appellant claimed had been forged. The trial court referred the matter to civil mediation. At the end of mediation, which was held on August 5, 2010, the parties executed a handwritten settlement agreement, which essentially provided that Appellant would accept the payment of $8,300.00 as full settlement; however, Appellant later questioned the existence and enforceability of the settlement agreement and refused to sign a release.

{¶3} The trial court held a hearing on September 24, 2010, regarding whether the agreement was enforceable and concluded it was. That same day, the trial court issued a judgment entry finding the parties agreed to settle all claims on the terms set forth in the handwritten settlement agreement and therefore upheld the August 5, 2010, settlement agreement, finding it to be valid and binding on all parties, and dismissed the matter with prejudice. Specifically, the trial court's judgment entry included the following language:

"All claims in this matter having been resolved by said settlement agreement of the parties, this matter is hereby dismissed with prejudice upon payment of the settlement amount;*fn1 each party to bear their own costs. This Order is a final order. The clerk of courts should designate this case as terminated."

Further, the entry bears a stamp indicating it was a final, appealable order.

{¶4} Appellant filed a notice of appeal from the September 24, 2010, judgment entry; however upon motion of Appellee, this Court dismissed Appellant's original appeal for lack of a final, appealable order. In reaching this decision, we determined that because the judgment entry anticipated further action from Appellee - the payment of the settlement amount - the entry appealed from was not a final, appealable order, relying on Colbert v. Realty X Corp., 8th Dist. No. 86151, 2005-Ohio-6726, in support.

{¶5} After accepting delivery of the settlement check on February 15, 2011,*fn2 Appellant filed a second notice of appeal on March 8, 2011.

However, this Court once again dismissed Appellant's appeal for lack of a final, appealable order, based upon our reasoning that the judgment entry expressly required the parties to refer to another document, namely the August 5, 2010, settlement agreement itself, to determine their respective rights and obligations. After that dismissal, the trial court held a status conference and on May 15 2012, filed a Final Judgment Entry which found that the parties' August 5, 2010, settlement agreement was valid and binding.

{ΒΆ6} The entry further found that Appellant had agreed to settle and release all claims against Appellee in exchange for the agreed upon settlement amount of $8,300.00, that Appellee had delivered to Appellant its settlement check in that amount, that Appellee had received the check and further cashed the check, and that as such, the August 5, 2010, settlement agreement had been fully completed. Based upon these findings, the trial court dismissed Appellant's complaint with prejudice, concluded its order was final, and stated that there was no just cause for delay in ...


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