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Baryak v. Lange

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull

December 29, 2017

JOHN R. BARYAK, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
WERNER LANGE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

         Civil Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. Case No. 2016 CV 00455. Judgment: Affirmed.

          John H. Large, (For Plaintiff-Appellant).

          Werner Lange, pro se, (Defendant-Appellee).

          Erin E Kelly, and Eric J. Williams, Pelini, Campbell & Williams, LLC, (For Defendant-Appellee Bruce Moore).

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, John R. Baryak, appeals from the March 24, 2017 judgment of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. The trial court granted monetary sanctions in favor of appellees Werner Lange and Bruce Moore against appellant and his attorney. The trial court's judgment is affirmed for the following reasons.

         {¶2} On December 14, 2014, appellant filed a complaint in the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas against Lange and Moore (case No. 2014 CV 02269). On November 1, 2015, appellant voluntarily dismissed the action pursuant to Civ.R. 41(A)(1)(a).

         {¶3} Appellant re-filed his complaint on March 15, 2016 (case No. 2016 CV 00455). The complaint alleged abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with business, and libel. Appellant requested compensatory damages in excess of $100, 000.00, punitive damages, attorney fees, the cost of the action, and other fair and equitable relief.

         {¶4} On March 22, 2016, Lange filed a pro se answer and motion to dismiss, arguing the re-filed complaint was frivolous. Lange requested the trial court dismiss the action with prejudice, order appellant to cease filing baseless lawsuits, and grant any fair and equitable monetary relief. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss.

         {¶5} Moore filed an answer on April 18, 2016, through counsel. As an affirmative defense, he alleged appellant's complaint should be dismissed with prejudice as a frivolous action pursuant to Civ.R. 11 and R.C. 2323.51. Moore requested he be awarded his attorney fees, the costs of the action, and any other fair and equitable relief.

         {¶6} Lange filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and for summary judgment on June 23, 2016. In his motion, Lange requested the action be declared frivolous and he be awarded compensation for the time and expense imposed on him by appellant's "meritless lawsuits." Appellant did not file a response.

         {¶7} Moore filed a motion for summary judgment on September 26, 2016. In his motion for summary judgment, Moore requested sanctions and attorney fees pursuant to R.C. 2323.51 due to appellant's frivolous conduct. Appellant did not file a response.

         {¶8} Appellant voluntarily dismissed case No. 2016 CV 00455 on October 4, 2016, pursuant to Civ.R. "41(A)."

         {¶9} On November 28, 2016, Moore filed a motion for sanctions and attorney fees pursuant to R.C. 2323.51. Appellant did not file a response to the motion or appear at the December 20, 2016 hearing on the motion. The trial court granted the motion on January 4, 2017, awarding Moore his reasonable expenses and attorney fees. The trial court set a damages hearing for February 14, 2017.

         {¶10} On January 10, 2017, Lange filed a pro se motion requesting sanctions and that the court declare appellant a ...


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