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Thrasher v. Watts

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

June 21, 2013

HEIDI J. THRASHER, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
DALLAS H. WATTS, Defendant-Appellee

Civil appeal from Common Pleas Court T.C. NO. 09CV397.

THERESA A. BAKER, Atty. Reg. No. 0059122, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellant.

MICHAEL A. MAYER, Atty. Reg. No. 0064079, Attorney for Defendant-Appellee.

OPINION

DONOVAN, J.

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant Heidi J. Thrasher appeals a judgment of the Clark County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, awarding her ownership of a parcel of real property jointly owned by the parties, but ordering her to pay defendant-appellee Dallas H. Watts the sum of $81, 000.00, that being half of the appraised value of the property. Thrasher filed a timely notice of appeal with this Court on July 11, 2012.

{¶ 2} We set forth the history of the case in State v. Thrasher, 193 Ohio App.3d 569, 2011-Ohio-2844, 952 N.E.2d 1207, ¶s 2-13 (2d Dist.) (hereinafter "Thrasher I), and repeat it herein in pertinent part:

In February 2008, during the course of their relationship, Watts and Thrasher purchased the home located at 8441 Haddix Road in Fairborn, Ohio, as joint tenants with right of survivorship. The purchase price for the home was $100, 000. At closing, the parties made a down payment of approximately $40, 000, obtained a mortgage from Countrywide Home Loans for the balance, and paid off certain personal bills. Thrasher provided the vast majority of the funds for the downpayment.
Between February and September, the parties did substantial renovations to the home, including creating a master bedroom and bathroom, renovating other bathrooms, installing tile, replacing doors and framing, repairing drywall, and painting. Thrasher paid for much of the materials for the renovations. A large portion of the work was done by Kevin Reynolds, a family friend who resided at the home in exchange for his labor. The parties and their families also contributed labor to the renovations. The trial court found that Watts, with some help from his father, "did a considerable amount of plumbing, bathroom remodeling, electric, and drywall, but he was essentially receiving free room and board in exchange for that labor."
On September 14, 2008, the roof to the house was significantly damaged by a wind storm. Encompass Insurance issued two checks totaling $11, 779 to Watts for repairs. Most of the proceeds were used to pay for household bills, repairs to Thrasher's vehicle, and materials so that the parties could repair the roof themselves.
The parties' relationship deteriorated, and in November 2008, they each obtained a civil protection order against the other. Watts and Thrasher informally agreed to move from the residence. On November 19, 2008, Thrasher went to the house to retrieve her personal property. Thrasher took a substantial portion of the items in the house, and she acknowledged that she inadvertently took some of Watts's items.
While the house was unoccupied, Watts began work on the roof, but he did not complete the repairs and some of the materials were stolen. In addition, the house was vandalized on one or more occasions. On New Year's Eve, Reynolds and relatives of Thrasher repaired the roof "to the point where it was in good enough condition to get it through that winter."
The house remained unoccupied until April 2009, when Thrasher moved back into the house. Since then, Thrasher has brought the mortgage payments current and has continued to pay the mortgage, partially with funds borrowed from her relatives.
In late March 2009, Thrasher filed a complaint against Watts for partition and conversion. Thrasher alleged that Watts had wrongfully converted the insurance claim proceeds and items of her personal property. She sought the return of her personal items or damages for the value of that property, payment of the insurance proceeds so that she could repair the property, and an order "requiring that either said real estate be partitioned and plaintiff's interest be set off in severalty; or in the event that plaintiff's interest in said real estate may not be set off in severalty, that said real estate be sold and plaintiff be entitled to all the proceeds from the sale."
Watts denied Thrasher's claims and brought a counterclaim for conversion of his own personal property. Watts's prayer for relief included a request for damages and for either partition of the property ...

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