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Lee v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

October 24, 2017

Shelton A. Lee Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Richard Jackson, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Municipal Court M.C. No. 2016 CVH 38049

          On brief: Percy Squire Co., LLC, and Percy Squire, for appellant. Argued: Percy Squire.

          DECISION

          HORTON, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Richard Jackson, appeals from the judgment entered in favor of plaintiff-appellee, Shelton A Lee, after the Franklin County Municipal Court denied Jackson's request to continue a trial date. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         {¶ 2} Lee filed suit against Jackson, alleging that a floor jack in Jackson's garage had damaged the oil pan on Lee's Mercedes Benz after being towed there for repairs. (Dec. 2, 2016 Compl.) Jackson answered and filed a counterclaim, alleging that the lawsuit was frivolous. (Dec. 29, 2016 Answer.) A pretrial conference was scheduled for February 23, 2017. (Jan. 5, 2017 Notice.) Trial was scheduled for March 23, 2017. (Feb. 23, 2017 Notice.)

          {¶ 3} Neither Jackson nor his attorney appeared for the pretrial conference. On March 21, 2017, Jackson's attorney filed a request for a continuance of the trial date. In support of the motion, Jackson's attorney stated:

This continuance is requested for the reason [that] the undersigned was required to appear in State of Maryland, Department of Commerce et al v. Claud Anderson (AP 15-00685), Greenbelt, Maryland on March 20, 2017 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In addition the undersigned has been required to be out of town extensively due to emergency medical issues concerning my 95 year old father. The undersigned is required to be [in] Youngstown, on March 21, 2017 to tend to the emergency medical needs of my father.

         {¶ 4} The next day, Jackson's attorney filed an amended request in which he cited a mediation in federal court on March 21, 2017 as an additional reason for the continuance. He also changed the date that he was required to be in Youngstown from March 21 to March 23, 2017. (Mar. 22, 2017 Am. Mot. to Continue.)

         {¶ 5} On the trial date of March 23, 2017, neither Jackson nor his attorney appeared. The trial court filed an entry and order noting that neither Jackson nor his attorney had appeared at the pretrial conference or the trial, and that Jackson's attorney had filed the motion for a continuance "out of rule." Accordingly, the motion was denied and judgment was entered in favor of Lee.

         {¶ 6} Jackson appeals and asserts the following assignment of error:

         The trial Court abused its discretion in denying Appellant's Motion to Continue the March 23, 2017 trial.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         {¶ 7} "A trial court has broad discretion when ruling on a motion for continuance, and an appellate court reviews the trial court's determination of a motion to continue a trial date for abuse of discretion." Morgan v. Ohio State Univ. College of Dentistry, 10th Dist. No. 13AP-287, 2014-Ohio-1846, ¶ 53, citing Townsend v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 10th Dist. No. 11AP-672, 2012-Ohio-2945, ΒΆ 55. An "unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable" ...


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