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Jackson v. PNC Bank, N.A.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 21, 2017

DELORES JACKSON PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
PNC BANK, N.A. DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-16-861775

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Richard A. Oviatt

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Lisa Babish Forbes Lindsay Doss Spillman Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, L.L.P.

          BEFORE: Boyle, P.J., S. Gallagher, J., and Jones, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY J. BOYLE, P.J.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-appellant Delores Jackson appeals the trial court's grant of defendant-appellee PNC Bank N.A.'s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. On appeal, she raises the following for review:

1. Whether Plaintiff Jackson is contesting the validity of a trust.
2. Whether filing a motion for leave to amend her complaint to include a cause of action for fraud extends the statute of limitations to four years and thereby brings Jackson within the time constraints for filing her lawsuit.

         {¶2} Finding no merit to her appeal, we affirm.

         I. Procedural History and Factual Background

         {¶3} On April 12, 2016, Jackson filed a complaint against PNC seeking funds allegedly owed to her as a beneficiary of the Malcolm Zucker trust. In her complaint, Jackson alleged that she was a housekeeper for Zucker and his family for over 30 years and that prior to her retirement, Zucker provided her with a single page of his trust instrument that indicated Jackson was a beneficiary and would receive $150, 000 upon his death. Zucker died on October 18, 2013. Jackson attempted to contact Zucker's children after his death concerning her interests in the trust, but received no response. Jackson then contacted PNC, the trustee, who informed Jackson that the trust instrument had been amended and that she was no longer a beneficiary. Jackson asked PNC for a copy of the amended trust instrument. PNC informed Jackson that it would provide her an opportunity to view the instrument, but required her to sign a confidentiality agreement beforehand. Jackson refused to sign the agreement, and as a result, PNC refused to give Jackson a copy of the instrument. Jackson then filed this suit.

         {¶4} On May 12, 2016, PNC moved to dismiss Jackson's complaint under Civ.R. 12(B)(6), claiming that she failed to set forth a claim upon which relief could be granted because the statute of limitations barred her suit. Specifically, PNC alleged that Jackson's claim contested the validity of the trust and that claim was not timely filed within two years of Zucker's death.

         {¶5} During this time, Jackson sought a copy of the amended trust instrument from PNC through the discovery process. In response, PNC objected and sought a protective order, requiring Jackson to keep the information within the trust document confidential.

         {¶6} On November 4, 2016, Jackson moved the court for leave to file an amended complaint pursuant to Civ.R. 15, ...


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