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Whipps v. Ryan

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

October 3, 2013

Edward F. Whipps, Trustee, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
James M. Ryan, Defendant-Appellant. Sky Bank et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
Michael F. Colley et al., Defendants-Appellees, James M. Ryan, Defendant-Appellant

APPEALS from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. Nos. 05CVH-10-11685, 06CVH-01-1244

James M. Ryan, pro se.

DECISION

CONNOR, J.

(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, James M. Ryan ("Ryan"), appeals from the August 1, 2012 orders of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas declaring Ryan a vexatious litigator pursuant to R.C. 2323.52. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

(¶ 2} The underlying dispute in this case concerns several parcels of land located on East Main Street in Columbus, Ohio ("the property"). The dispute over the property has spanned several years and has been extensively examined by our prior decisions. See Whipps v. Ryan, 10th Dist. No. 07AP-231, 2008-Ohio-1216; Whipps v. Ryan, 10th Dist. No. 08AP-838, 2009-Ohio-2228; Whipps v. Ryan, 10th Dist. No. 10AP-167, 2011-Ohio-3300; and Whipps v. Ryan, 10th Dist. No. 12AP-509, 2013-Ohio-4334 ("Whipps I"). Although the case has a long history involving several parties, the instant appeal concerns only the trial court's orders declaring Ryan a vexatious litigator. As such, we will briefly summarize the facts relevant to the instant appeal.

(¶ 3} The litigation in the case began in October 2005 when Edward F. Whipps, as trustee, filed a complaint for partition against Ryan. Ryan filed a counterclaim to the partition action. In January 2006, Sky Bank filed a complaint for money damages against Ryan and Michael F. Colley. Sky Bank's complaint concerned a promissory note executed by Ryan and Colley which was secured by the property. Ryan and Colley each filed cross-claims against each other in the money damages action.

(¶ 4} On February 7, 2006, Sky Bank filed a motion to intervene in the partition action, noting that it held a mortgage on the property which was the subject of the partition action. The trial court granted Sky Bank's motion to intervene, and Sky Bank filed an answer to the partition complaint, as well as a cross-claim and counterclaim for foreclosure. On August 3, 2006, Sky Bank moved to consolidate the partition/foreclosure action and the money damages action. The trial court granted Sky Bank's motion to consolidate. Thereafter, the court granted Sky Bank's motion for summary judgment and issued a decree of foreclosure and order of sale.

(¶ 5} On May 23, 2008, Sky Bank moved to substitute DB Midwest, LLC ("DB Midwest"), noting that DB Midwest had purchased the loans which were the subject of the action. On June 18, 2012, DB Midwest filed a motion under R.C. 2323.52, asking the court to declare Ryan a vexatious litigator. In response, Ryan filed a Civ.R. 12(E) motion for a definite statement.

(¶ 6} On August 1, 2012, the trial court granted DB Midwest's motion and entered orders declaring Ryan a vexatious litigator under R.C. 2323.52. In accordance with R.C. 2323.52(D)(1)(a) through (c), the court ordered that Ryan must request and obtain leave of court before instituting legal proceedings in certain courts.

(¶ 7} On August 15, 2012, Ryan filed an application, pursuant to R.C. 2323.52(F)(2), asking this court to grant him leave to proceed with his appeal from the orders declaring him a vexatious litigator. On August 16, 2012, this court granted Ryan's motion for leave to appeal the vexatious litigator orders.

II. ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

(¶ 8} Ryan appeals, assigning the following errors:

[I.] The Trial Court Erred in granting DB Midwest LLC's Motion to Declare Defendant, James M. Ryan, A Vexatious Litigator.r-334. and docketing its Order Declaring James M. Ryan a Vexatious Litigator r-332/255 as the Trial Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case and personal jurisdiction over James M. Ryan as the case was on appeal to the Tenth ...

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