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City of Mentor v. Molk

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District

September 16, 2013

CITY OF MENTOR, Plaintiff-Appellee,
MATHEW S. MOLK, et al., Defendant-Appellant.

Civil Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 11CV002511.

Richard A. Henning, Mentor City Law Director, and Joseph P. Szeman, Mentor City Assistant Law Director, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

Mathew S. Molk, pro se, (Defendant-Appellant).



(¶1} Appellant, Mathew S. Molk, appeals the agreed judgment entry of November 9, 2012, settling the issues raised in the complaint for injunctive relief, filed by appellee, the city of Mentor, against appellant and his wife, Diana J. Molk.[1] Pursuant to the judgment, the Molks were ordered to remove all vehicles, other than properly licensed, functioning, legally parked non-commercial vehicles; auto parts; tires; and all other materials, including fencing, from their residential property by April 1, 2013. Further, the Molks were ordered to maintain their property in accord with the Codified Ordinances of the city of Mentor. The Molks were also permanently enjoined from any use of their property in violation of said ordinances.

(¶2} Appellee sought injunctive relief to abate various violations related to real property located within the city and owned by the Molks. In the complaint, appellee stated that because the property is located in an R-4 zoning district, commercial use is not permitted, pursuant to the Mentor Code of Ordinances. Appellee averred that the property has been used as an "office location for an otherwise lawful non-conforming commercial use, " to wit: "for non-office commercial activities inclusive of storage and/or disposal of commercial materials and equipment, for parking and/or storage of commercial vehicles, and such other unlawful uses as may be ascertained through the course of discovery." Further, appellee maintained the property contained refuse within its rear yard, has been used for the parking and/or storage of vehicles, and the exterior constitutes a blighting factor, all in contravention to the Mentor Code of Ordinances.

(¶3} The parties engaged in discovery. On the day of trial, the parties entered into an Agreed Judgment Entry. The following, inter alia, was read into the record:

As set forth in the agreed judgment entry we have a full compliance date April 1, 2013 wherein the Molks have agreed to remove from the exterior of the property all of the items as specified in the entry. We have a city's right of inspection that was also filed in April 2nd, 2013. And as certified for purposes of ensured compliance without any further notice city inspectors will be allowed to enter the property. Everything else was preprinted - oh, I'm sorry, we did fill in one blank which is this fencing, the border fencing will be removed as well.

(¶4} The court then inquired of appellant whether he had the opportunity to engage in the settlement discussions and read the document. Appellant responded in the affirmative. Additionally, the court inquired whether appellant agreed to all the terms in the agreement; appellant responded, "yes." The trial court then asked whether there have been any promises that enticed or caused appellant to make the agreement; appellant responded, "none whatsoever." The trial court then instructed appellant to read the entire agreement, check each page, and "make sure it's as you understand it to be and that you've read it. Take as much time as you need." Ms. Molk was also present and likewise expressed her consent to these terms.

(¶5} The agreed judgment entry was executed. Pursuant to the agreed judgment entry, the court reporter was to maintain 48 photographs taken depicting the exterior of the subject property. These photographs illustrated old tires, sheet metal, metal boxes, fuel storage tanks, tow lifts, various junk vehicles, pipes, and other miscellaneous items strewn on appellant's property.

(¶6} Appellant filed a notice of appeal from the agreed judgment entry and assigns the following errors, which we address in a consolidated fashion:

[1.] The agreed judgment entry is invalid due to fraudulent misrepresentation made to appellants.
[2.] The agreed judgment entry is invalid due to uncosentual [sic] alteration.
[3.] The Trial Court abused it's discertion [sic] by accepting and journalizing the ...

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