Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
KELLER & KEHOE, L.L.P. N.K.A. KEHOE & ASSOCIATES, L.L.C. PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
DENNIS C. BLAEUER DEFENDANT-APPELLEE
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Robert D. Kehoe Kevin P. Shannon
Kehoe & Associates, L.L.C.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Dennis C. Blaeuer, pro se.
BEFORE: E.A. Gallagher, J., Keough, A.J., and S. Gallagher,
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. GALLAGHER, J.
Plaintiff-appellant Keller & Kehoe, L.L.P. n.k.a. Kehoe
& Associates, L.L.C. appeals from default judgment
granted in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas against
defendant-appellee Dennis Blaeuer in the amount of $527,
096.06 for legal services performed under contract. For the
following reasons, we affirm in part, and reverse in part.
and Procedural Background
The background facts of this fee collection case were fully
set forth by this court in Keller & Kehoe, L.L.P. v.
Smart Media of Delaware, Inc., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
103607, 2016-Ohio-5409 ("Keller & Kehoe I
"). In 2014, appellant sued appellee and related
parties for breach of contract seeking unpaid legal fees for
which the parties were jointly and severally liable.
Appellant obtained default judgment against all parties
except for Blaeuer, who was dismissed from the case due to
appellant's failure to obtain service on him. The trial
court awarded appellant judgment against the remaining
parties in the amount of $527, 096.06 plus statutory interest
from the date of judgment and court costs. Appellant appealed
that judgment to this court in Keller & Kehoe I.
We affirmed the amount of the award but reversed the trial
court's judgment as to statutory interest and remanded
for the court to assess and award prejudgment interest.
Id. at ¶ 41.
In 2015, appellant refiled the present case against Blaeuer,
obtained service and default judgment in the amount of $527,
096.06 plus statutory interest from the date of judgment and
court costs. Appellant appeals presenting substantially the
same arguments pertaining to the amount of the judgment and
prejudgment interest that were addressed in Keller &
Appellant's first assignment of error asserts that the
trial court erred in failing to award prejudgment interest.
Consistent with our resolution of this issue in Keller
& Kehoe I, we agree and remand for proper
calculation of prejudgment interest by the trial court.
Id. . at ¶ 36.
Pursuant to Waina v. Abdallah, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga
No. 86629, 2006-Ohio-2090, the award of prejudgment interest
is not discretionary once liability for breach of contract
has been established. R.C. 1343.03(A) provides that: "
when money becomes due and payable upon any bond, bill, note,
or other instrument of writing, * * * for the payment of
money arising out of * * * a contract or other transaction,
the creditor is entitled to interest at the rate per annum
determined pursuant to section 5703.47 of the Revised Code *
This court has consistently recognized that in a breach of
contract case between private parties where liability is
established, "the trial court does not have discretion
in awarding prejudgment interest." Fiorilli Constr.,
Inc. v. A. Bonamase Contracting Inc., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga
No. 94719, 2011-Ohio-107, ¶ 57, citing Waina, supra;
Reminger & Reminger Co. L.P.A. v. Fred Siegel Co.,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 77712, 2001 Ohio App. LEXIS 760 (Mar.
1, 2001). Indeed, "where a party has been granted