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Ettayem v. State Auto Insurance Companies

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

November 7, 2017

Ashraf A. Ettayem, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
State Auto Insurance Companies, Defendant-Appellee.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 16CV-795

         On brief:

          Ashraf A. Ettayem, pro se.

          Garvey Shearer Nordstrom, PSC, Jennifer K. Nordstrom and David W. Zahniser, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Ashraf A. Ettayem.

          David W. Zahniser.

          DECISION

          KLATT, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Ashraf A Ettayem, appeals a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that enforced an alleged settlement agreement between Ettayem and defendant-appellee, State Auto Insurance Companies ("State Auto"). Because we lack jurisdiction over this appeal, we dismiss it.

         {¶ 2} On January 25, 2016, Ettayem filed a complaint against State Auto, the insurer of two of Ettayem's automobiles. Prior to filing suit, Ettayem had made claims under his insurance policy for damage to both automobiles. Ettayem alleged in his complaint that State Auto had not performed its obligations under the insurance policy with regard to either automobile. Ettayem also alleged that State Auto had failed to fairly negotiate settlements of Ettayem's insurance claims. Based on these allegations, Ettayem asserted claims against State Auto for breach of contract and bad faith.

         {¶ 3} After Ettayem filed suit, Ettayem and State Auto engaged in settlement negotiations. On January 8, 2017, State Auto moved for an order enforcing a settlement agreement it alleged the parties had reached in July 2016. In response, Ettayem contended that no settlement agreement existed because the parties never concurred on the terms of a release.

         {¶ 4} The trial court granted State Auto's motion. In an order issued April 25, 2017, the trial court required Ettayem to (1) furnish State Auto with salvage titles for both automobiles involved in the case and (2) execute the release State Auto had filed with the court on March 6, 2017. The trial court also ordered State Auto to pay Ettayem $9, 500 once it received the salvage titles and a signed, notarized release. Finally, the trial court stated, "Upon payment to [Ettayem] by [State Auto], [State Auto's] attorney shall notify the Court, and the Court will enter a dismissal order, with prejudice, of the lawsuit." (Apr. 25, 2017 Order Enforcing Settlement at ¶ 4.) Ettayem now appeals the April 25, 2017 order.

         {¶ 5} Although neither party has questioned our jurisdiction over this appeal, our review of the April 25, 2017 order has prompted this court to suspect that we do not have a final, appealable order before us. In such a situation, we must sua sponte consider whether we possess the jurisdiction necessary to hear this appeal. State ex rel. White v. Cuyahoga Metro. Hous. Auth., 79 Ohio St.3d 543, 544 (1997); Leonard v. Huntington Bancshares, Inc., 10th Dist. No. 13AP-843, 2014-Ohio-2421, ¶ 8.

         {¶ 6} Article IV, Section 3(B)(2) of the Ohio Constitution establishes that courts of appeals "have such jurisdiction as may be provided by law to review and affirm, modify, or reverse judgments or final orders of the courts of record inferior to the court of appeals within the district." If the appealed judgment does not constitute a final, appealable order, an appellate court lacks jurisdiction to review it. Gehm v. Timberline Post & Frame,112 Ohio St.3d 514, 2007-Ohio-607, ΒΆ 14. Consequently, in the absence of a final, ...


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