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Snouffer v. Snouffer

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Morgan

May 12, 2017

MICHELLE D. SNOUFFER Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JOSHUA P. SNOUFFER, et al. Defendants-Appellants

         Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 14 CV 0153

          For Plaintiff-Appellee D. JOE GRIFFITH, DAGGER, JOHNSTON, MILLER, OGILVIE & HAMPSON LLP.

          For Defendants-Appellants Sundays, BRIAN W. BENBOW, BENBOW LAW OFFICE.

          JUDGES: Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          WISE, JOHN, J.

         {¶1} Appellants Terry and Brenda Sunday appeal two decisions of the Court of Common Pleas, Morgan County, one granting judgment in favor of Appellee Michelle D. Snouffer in a lease dispute and the other subsequently denying their motion to void or vacate the first judgment. The relevant procedural facts leading to this appeal are as follows:

         {¶2} The present dispute centers on certain agreements pertaining to a 181-acre farm located in York Township, Morgan County, owned during the pertinent time frames by Appellee Michelle D. Snouffer and Appellant Joshua P. Snouffer.[1] In January 2013, Michelle and Joshua entered into a "Cash Farm Lease Agreement" with Appellants Terry and Brenda Sunday for the aforesaid farm property.[2] Said lease, by its terms, was to terminate on January 1, 2014. However, in May 2013, just a few months after the signing of the January 2013 agreement, Terry purportedly approached Joshua with a proposed addendum to the lease which in essence sought to extend the agreement three additional "crop years, " i.e., into early 2017. Joshua signed the addendum, but Michelle did not.

         {¶3} On September 12, 2014, Michelle filed a complaint against Joshua, as well as Terry and Brenda Sunday, in the Morgan County Court of Common Pleas, seeking inter alia a declaratory judgment that the lease addendum was void and/or voidable.

         {¶4} On October 8, 2014, Joshua filed an answer to the complaint and a cross-claim against Terry and Brenda. The gist of the cross-claim was that he had been damaged by the alleged delay of potential sales of the farm property and by the alleged refusal of Terry and Brenda "to allow access to the subject real estate for inspection for prospective buyers."

         {¶5} Michelle filed an amended complaint on November 4, 2014.

         {¶6} Terry and Brenda filed an answer to the amended complaint, along with a cross-claim against Joshua and a counterclaim against Michelle, on November 13, 2014. Terry and Brenda also filed an answer to Joshua's cross-claim on November 13, 2014.

         {¶7} On November 19, 2014, Michelle filed a reply to the counterclaim of Terry and Brenda.

         {¶8} On December 11, 2014, Joshua fax-filed an answer to the cross-claim of Terry and Brenda.

         {¶9} On February 19, 2015, Michelle filed a motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") and for a preliminary and permanent injunction. Terry and Brenda filed a memorandum in opposition to said motion on March 2, 2015. Michelle filed a motion in reply on March 4, 2015.

         {¶10} In the meantime, on February 26, 2015, following leave from the trial court, Michelle filed a second amended complaint. Terry and Brenda filed an answer thereto on March 4, 2015.

         {¶11} On March 10, 2015, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order ("TRO"), which prevented Terry and Brenda from growing crops on the farm property. Terry and Brenda apparently ...


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