FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE STOW MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2013 CVI 2305
E. RICKEY, Attorney at Law, for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
T. STIMLER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee/Cross-Appellants.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. TEODOSIO, JUDGE.
Jim Ruschak, Progressive Realty Associates of Ohio, Inc.
("Progressive Realty"), and Brett A. Slagle appeal
the March 21, 2016, order of the Stow Municipal Court. We
dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
On September 11, 2013, John Peto filed a complaint against
Jim Ruschak, Progressive Realty, and Brett A. Slagle,
alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and
fraud, stemming from the potential sale of a condominium from
Mr. Peto to Mr. Slagle. Mr. Ruschak and Progressive Realty
were identified as Mr. Slagle's realtors, and the
complaint alleged fraud against all three of the defendants.
A hearing was held before the magistrate in October 2013,
resulting in a decision in favor of the defendants. In
December 2013, the trial court supplemented the
magistrate's decision, overruled Mr. Peto's
objection, and awarded judgment in favor of the defendants.
On January 17, 2014, Mr. Ruschak and Progressive Realty filed
"defendants' motion for an award of reasonable
attorney's fees against plaintiff and plaintiffs
counsel." The motion states:
Although Defendant Slagle did not participate in engaging the
Stimler Law Office to pursue this Motion for An Award of
Attorney Fees for economic reasons, the Court may nonetheless
assess against Attorney [June] Rickey and Plaintiff Peto and
make an award to Defendant Slagle as a party to the civil
action who was adversely affected by their frivolous conduct
under [R.C.] 2323.51 because Defendant Slagle has incurred
reasonable attorney's fees for the trial before the
Magistrate and the preparation of the Defendants' Brief
In Support Of Magistrate's Decision in conjunction with
Defendants Ruschak and Progressive.
that Attorney Stimler had represented Mr. Slagle throughout
the matter. The motion also specifically requested that the
trial court "award Defendants Ruschak, Progressive and
Slagle money damages against Plaintiff Peto and Attorney
Rickey * * *."
The order of the trial court entered on November 10, 2014,
which granted the motion, provided: "Based on the above,
plaintiff and plaintiffs counsel engaged in frivolous conduct
under [R.C.] 2323.51. Further, the court finds plaintiff and
plaintiffs counsel willfully violated [Civ.R.] 11, in that
they did not have good grounds to support the complaint or
objections." The trial court awarded "attorney fees
in the amount of $11, 280.00 and reasonable expenses of
expert services in the amount of $2, 349.00 against plaintiff
and plaintiffs counsel." The order does not specify that
the award is made in favor of a particular defendant or
particular defendants, nor does it identify the defendants by
name. Rather, the order repeatedly refers to the
An appeal of the November 2014 order was heard by this Court,
and by an entry dated December 31, 2015, we reversed the
trial court in part, concluding that "just because Mr.
Peto lost at trial on his breach of contract and breach of
fiduciary claims does not mean that he willfully violated
Rule 11 or engaged in frivolous conduct under Section
2323.51." With regard to his fraud claim, we remanded
the case to the trial court "to consider the amount Mr.
Peto should be sanctioned for improperly alleging fraud in
Upon remand, the trial court held a hearing on March 18,
2016, a transcript of which is not before this Court. By an
order dated March 21, 2016, the trial court awarded "the
defendant attorney fees in the amount of $4, 649.91 and
reasonable expenses of expert services in the amount of
$783.00 against the plaintiff for the reasons set forth on
the court's official record." Mr. Ruschak, Mr.
Slagle, and Progressive Realty subsequently filed a motion
asking the trial court to correct the award to reflect that
it was in favor of the "defendants" (plural) and
against both "plaintiff and plaintiffs ...