Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeals From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Trial No.
Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Douglas J. Feichter and Andrew B.
Cassady, for Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant,
Hochscheid & Associates, LLC, and Tabitha M. Hochscheid,
Defendants-appellants/cross-appellees Matt Witter and Tracey
Reeser (the "Witters") and
plaintiff-appellee/cross-appellant Mills Fence Co., Inc.,
("Mills Fence") appeal from the trial court's
judgment entered after a bench trial. The trial court's
judgment ordered the clerk of courts to disburse funds held
by the court in satisfaction of the judgment. Because the
record shows that the clerk disbursed the funds in
satisfaction of the judgment, and neither the Witters nor
Mills Fence moved to stay the execution of the judgment, the
judgment has been voluntarily satisfied, and the appeals from
that judgment are moot.
The Witters entered into a contract with Mills Fence to
install a fence on the Witters' property. The Witters
were dissatisfied with the work performed by Mills
Fence's subcontractor, particularly with regard to damage
to their yard and with regard to the uneven level of the
fence. Mills Fence employees attempted to address the
Witters' concerns, nevertheless the Witters refused to
pay Mills Fence $4, 300 of the contracted price. As a result,
Mills Fence placed a mechanic's lien on the Witters'
property for $4, 300.
Mills Fence sued the Witters for breach of contract and
requested attorneys' fees. The Witters filed
counterclaims, alleging violations of Ohio's Consumer
Sales Practices Act ("CSPA"), breach of contract,
trespass, negligence, and fraudulent mechanic's lien. The
Witters moved the court to accept a bond in the amount of $8,
600, twice the amount of the mechanic's lien, and release
the lien. Mills Fence did not oppose the bond request, and
the trial court ordered the Witters to post $8, 600 with the
clerk of courts as a bond, which they did.
The matter proceeded to a bench trial. The trial court
determined that the Witters had breached the contract with
Mills Fence by withholding $4, 300. However, the trial court
also determined that Mills Fence had violated the CSPA by
including a one-sided, fee-shifting provision in the
contract. The trial court's judgment awarded the Witters
$200, plus a statutory award of attorneys' fees in the
amount of $3, 120. The judgment ordered the clerk of courts
to disburse $980 of the bond amount to Mills Fence, and
ordered that the remainder of the bond, $7, 620, be disbursed
to the Witters in satisfaction of the judgment. The certified
copy of the trial court's docket and journal entries
reflects that on January 13, 2017, the clerk of courts issued
a check to Mills Fence for $980 and a check to the Witters
for $7, 620.
The Witters filed an appeal from the trial court's
judgment, and Mills Fence filed a cross-appeal.
"It is a well-established principle of law that a
satisfaction of judgment renders an appeal from that judgment
moot." Blodgett v. Blodgett, 49 Ohio St.3d 243,
245, 551 N.E.2d 1249 (1990). " 'Where the court
rendering judgment has jurisdiction of the subject-matter of
the action and of the parties, and fraud has not intervened,
and the judgment is voluntarily paid and satisfied, such
payment puts an end to the controversy, and takes away from
the defendant the right to appeal or prosecute error or even
to move for vacation of judgment.' " Id.,
quoting Rauch v. Noble, 169 Ohio St. 314, 316, 159
N.E.2d 451 (1959). This court has dismissed appeals as moot
in civil cases where the record shows that an appealing party
failed to seek a stay of the trial court's judgment and
the judgment was satisfied. See Wiest v. Wiegele,
170 Ohio App.3d 700, 2006-Ohio-5348, 868 N.E.2d 1040, ¶
12-14 (1st Dist.); Art's Rental Equip., Inc. v. Bear
Creek Constr., LLC, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos. C-110544,
C-110555, C-110558, C-110559, C-110564, C-110785, C-110792,
C-110797, C-110798, C-110799, C-110800, C-110801, C-110808
and C-120309, 2012-Ohio-5371, ¶ 7; Queensgate
Terminals, LLC v. Cincinnati, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos.
C-110653 and C-110671, 2013-Ohio-4219, ¶ 13; Baird
v. L.A.D. Holdings, LLC, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos.
C-160265 and C-160409, 2017-Ohio-2953, ¶ 17.
In Queensgate Terminals, LLC, the trial court
ordered the city of Cincinnati to deposit over $1.5 million
with the court as security in an appropriation proceeding as
anticipated damages in favor of Queensgate Terminals, LLC,
("Queensgate") for the city's taking. After a
jury trial, the jury returned a verdict for Queensgate for
$500, 000. The same day, the trial court issued an order to
distribute the city's funds held by the court. Queensgate
received its judgment plus interest, and the city received
the remainder of the funds. Both Queensgate and the city
appealed the trial court's judgment. This court dismissed
both appeals as moot, determining that neither party had
sought a stay of the trial court's judgment or order of
distribution, and the judgment had been satisfied.
Queensgate Terminals, LLC at ¶ 13.
More recently, in Baird, this court dismissed
appeals on mootness grounds where the record showed that the
trial court had ordered escrowed funds to be disbursed to a
party in satisfaction of the court's judgment, and the
appealing party had failed to seek a stay of the trial
court's judgment. Baird at ¶ 17; see
Slovak v. Univ. Off-Campus Housing, 4th Dist. Athens No.
99 CA 50, 2000 WL 680479 (May 19, 2000) (dismissing the
appeal as moot after the clerk of courts had satisfied the
judgment by distributing escrowed funds in accordance with
the trial court's judgment); Capitol Communications,
Inc. v. GBS Corp., 10th Dist. Franklin Nos. 10AP-08 and
10AP-09, 2010-Ohio-5964, ¶ 15 (dismissing ...