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McCauley v. LaYacona

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

July 26, 2013

ROBERT J. McCAULEY, et al. Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
MARK J. LaYACONA, et al. Defendants-Appellees

Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 11-CIV-250

For Plaintiffs-Appellants: CHARLES A. KENNEDY KENNEDY, CICCONETTI, KNOWLTON & BUYTENDYK.

For Defendant-Appellee Layacona: TIMOTHY E. POTTS GOOD & POTTS.

For Defendants-Appellees Meyers:ANDREW A. KABAT HABER POLK KABAT.

JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P. J., Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J., Hon. John W. Wise, J.

OPINION

Wise, J.

{¶1} Plaintiffs-Appellants Robert J. McCauley and Cynthia L. McCauley appeal the decision entered in the Ashland Common Pleas Court granting summary judgment in favor of Appellees Mark LaYacona, Tiffany Meyer and J.C. Meyer Co., Inc.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

{¶2} Mark J. LaYacona ("LaYacona") was the owner of certain real property located at 819 Twp. Road 2414, Loudonville, Ashland County, Ohio ("the Property"). The Property included an updated farmhouse built in 1920 with approximately 2904 square feet, 201 acres, a bank barn, a horse barn, and a shop with an attached pole barn.

{¶3} Tiffany Meyer ("Meyer") is a licensed real estate broker with her own personal company, J.C. Meyer Realtors. In January of 2007, she franchised with Howard Hanna.

{¶4} In the Spring of 2007, Meyer listed LaYacona's property for sale. She had previously listed the same property in about 2004 and still had information about the property in her files, including a survey. Meyer used the information from her files to prepare a brochure about the property, along with tax records and information she received directly from LaYacona. She also sent a professional photographer for up-to-date photographs. Additionally, she did a walk-through of the house and took nine room measurements herself.

{¶5} On December 13, 2007, Robert and Cynthia McCauley purchased the property "as-is" for $1, 060, 000.00 cash, and waived all relevant inspections. The McCauleys were represented in this real estate transaction by real estate agent, Shirley Dillon of Landes & Landes.

{¶6} Prior to purchasing the property, Mr. McCauley visited the Property on five separate occasions, spending approximately 15 to 20 hours examining the subject property during these visits. (R. McCauley depo. at 30-31). Mr. McCauley walked the property and looked throughout the home and out buildings. (Id. at 31). Mr. McCauley testified that some "conditions and circumstances" prevented him from examining certain parts of the subject property but further stated that no one from Meyer prevented him from fully examining same. (R. McCauley Depo. at 35). The McCauleys never spoke directly with Meyer or LaYacona.

{¶7} Appellants contend that after the transaction closed, they learned from Ron Flickinger, the farmer who had been farming/leasing portions of the tillable land from Mr. LaYacona, that only 38 acres of the land was currently being farmed. (R. McCauley Depo. at 50). Appellants also contend that they learned from Mr. LaYacona that the barn did not have a separate, operational septic system, only a tank in the ground placed there without a permit. (Id. at 44). Appellants further contend that they discovered defects relative to the condition of the home and barn. (Id. at 138-144). Appellants claim the roof has a leak, the basement has an issue with water backing up into it because of a drain line connecting it to a pond, and further that the bank barn has a hole in the floor.

{¶8} Appellants filed a Complaint alleging a claim of fraud against Appellees J.C. Meyer Co., Inc. and Tiffany Meyer.

{¶9} Specifically, Appellants contend that Meyer made the following misrepresentations:

{¶10} 1. The property had "60 acres being farmed at $65 per acre."

{¶11} 2. The barn floor was in good shape.

{¶12} 3. There was a septic system for the workshop/pole building.

{¶13} 4. The residence of the property did not leak, no water intrusion or any water problems.

{¶14} On August 31, 2012, LaYacona and Meyer both separately moved the trial court for summary judgment on ...


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