Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
NANCY PARMELEE, et al. PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS
GENE SCHNADER, et al. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Mahoning County, Ohio
Case No. 2015 CV 1919
Plaintiffs-Appellants: Atty. Anthony J. Farris Atty. Jennifer
Defendants-Appellees: Atty. Gregory A. Beck Atty. Tonya J.
Rogers Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley & Mathews.
JUDGES: Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Carol
OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Plaintiffs-Appellants Nancy Parmelee and Amy Sloan appeal a
decision of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court granting
summary judgment in favor of Defendants-Appellees Steven
Kotheimer, Goshen Police District, and Goshen Township.
Appellees have filed a motion to dismiss, arguing this Court
lacks jurisdiction because the appeal is premature. We
conclude that the judgment entry appealed from constitutes a
final appealable order.
This case arises from a property dispute in 2014 between
Appellants and codefendant Gene Schnader. Appellants alleged
that they were tenants at a residential property owned by
Schnader in Goshen Township, and were attempting to retrieve
some personal property from the residence. Schnader
purportedly would not allow Appellants access to the
property. Defendant-Appellee Steven Kotheimer, a police
officer with the Goshen Police District, was dispatched to
the property due to the dispute between the parties.
Appellants sued Appellees in 2015 setting forth sixteen
claims. The first twelve claims were directed primarily
against Schnader only. They included actions for conversion
and violations of R.C. Chapter 5321, Ohio's
Landlord-Tenant Act, and provisions governing forcible entry
and detainer set forth in R.C. Chapter 1923. Appellants
alleged they were Schnader's tenants, that he unlawfully
evicted them, and that he continued to retain some of their
personal belongings. The remaining four claims were directed
against Appellees only. In addition to the claims they made
against Schnader, they included claims against Appellees for
violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983. They alleged that Appellees
deprived them of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment due
process rights by assisting in the unlawful eviction.
Appellees filed a motion for summary judgment asserting
immunity. Appellants filed a memorandum in opposition and
Appellees filed a reply brief in support of their summary
On October 19, 2016, the trial court granted Appellees'
motion for summary judgment. The court found that Appellee
Officer Kotheimer acted in an objectively reasonable manner
and was entitled to qualified immunity. As to Appellee Goshen
Police District, the court found that a township police
department is not sui juris and therefore does not
have the legal capacity to be sued. As for Appellee Goshen
Township, the court determined that it was entitled to
summary judgment because there was no evidence demonstrating
Approximately three months later, on January 25, 2017, the
trial court filed an amended judgment entry which was nearly
identical to the entry it filed on October 19, 2016. In this
entry, however, the court included "no just reason for
delay" language pursuant to Civ.R. 54(B) (Judgment upon
multiple claims or involving multiple parties).
This appeal followed. Appellees have filed a motion to
dismiss, arguing the appeal is premature as numerous claims
remain pending against codefendant Schnader. Appellants have
responded with a motion in opposition asserting that the
requirements of Civ.R. 54(B) have been met to transform the
entry appealed into a final appealable order. Appellants have
also requested a thirty-day extension to file their merit
Appellate courts review a purported final order that disposes
of some, but not all claims in an action by applying a
two-step analysis. Wisintainer v. Elcen Power Strut
Co., 67 Ohio St.3d 352, 354, 617 N.E.2d 1136 (1993). The
first inquiry involves the predominantly legal question of
whether the order sought to be appealed is a final appealable
order as defined by R.C. 2505.02 (i.e., affects a substantial
right and in effect determines an action and prevents a
judgment.) If so, the second question entails review of
whether the trial court's invocation of the Civ.R. 54(B)
language, a primarily factual determination, was supported by
some competent and credible evidence. Id. at 356,
617 N.E.2d 1136.
Regarding our first inquiry, Appellees suggest that simply by
virtue of the fact that the trial court's judgment entry
does not address the remaining twelve claims against
codefendant Schnader the entry does not satisfy R.C.
2505.02(B)(1)'s requirement that it "in effect
determines the action." However, the Ohio Supreme Court
has specifically held that when a trial court grants summary
judgment to only some parties and not others, the entry still
determines the action as to the parties who were granted
summary judgment. Thus, together with the appropriate ...