Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

G. Lieu, Inc. v. E. Construction & Remodeling, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

January 9, 2018

G. Lieu, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
E. Construction & Remodeling, LLC et al., Defendants-Appellees.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 10CV-16929)

         On brief:

          Sam S. Law, for appellant.

          Johrendt & Holford, and Andrew M. Holford, for appellee Ernest Chen.

         Argued:

          Sam S. Law.

          Argued: Andrew M. Holford.

          DECISION

          HORTON, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, G. Lieu, Inc., appeals from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas decisions of October 3, 2016, granting defendant-appellee, Ernest Chen's motion to vacate a default judgment, and of October 5, 2016, granting appellee's motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} The basic facts are as follows. On July 15, 2010, a written contract was entered into by Thai Asian Bistro and E. Construction & Remodeling, LLC ("ECR"), whose sole member is appellee, Ernest Chen. Thai Asian Bistro is a restaurant operated and owned by appellant, G. Lieu, Inc. The contract was signed by Tai Van Lieu on behalf of Thai Asian Bistro, and appellee Chen on behalf of ECR. The contract shows ECR's business address as 1594 Fallhaven Dr., Columbus, Ohio ("Fallhaven address").

         {¶ 3} The project called for the construction of a patio area to the existing restaurant at a total cost of $82, 000, with appellant to pay an initial payment of $30, 000. The initial payment was made via bank check payable to ECR. ECR commenced work, but left the job within two weeks of commencement. The parties dispute who was at fault for the breakdown of the project.

         {¶ 4} On November 17, 2010, appellant filed a complaint in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas against ECR and appellee, collectively denominated as the "defendants." Appellant alleged breach of contract, conversion, and unjust enrichment against the defendants. Initially, service of process was requested on both defendants at the Fallhaven address, and service failed as to each. Upon that failure, appellant requested service by certified mail, and that service was returned to the clerk of courts as refused by both defendants on February 8, 2011. Appellant, pursuant to Civ.R. 4.6(C), then requested ordinary mail service, and proof of service was filed by the clerk on February 24, 2011.

         {¶ 5} On April 21, 2011, an amended complaint was filed asserting the same three claims against the defendants. Appellant again requested ordinary mail service on both defendants at the Fallhaven address, and proof of service was filed by the clerk on April 27, 2011. No answer was filed and, on July 15, 2011, appellant moved for a default judgment. A hearing was held in which the defendants did not appear, and the trial court granted a default judgment against the defendants in the amount of $65, 000, plus interest.

         {¶ 6} On March 25, 2014, ECR and appellee filed a motion to vacate a void default judgment, arguing that the judgment was void for lack of jurisdiction. Attached to the motion was the affidavit of appellee and a decree of dissolution and separation agreement involving himself and his now ex-wife which provided evidence that he had moved out of the family home which was the Fallhaven address by August 5, 2009. When it became the residence of his now ex-wife he stopped conducting ECR's business at that address. The decree of dissolution was filed on September 10, 2011, approximately ten months prior to the contract between appellant and ECR. In addition, appellee denied ever receiving any paperwork, including the summons, complaint, and motion for default judgment, and claimed that he only became aware of the judgment in March of 2014.

         {¶ 7} The matter was referred to a magistrate for an evidentiary hearing that was held on September 15, 2014. In addition to appellee's testimony, he introduced as exhibits the separation agreement and divorce decree, pay stubs, W-2s, and a school tuition statement showing his addresses in Columbus (none of which were the Fallhaven address), Zanesville, and Dayton, for the time period of 2010-11. Specifically, the magistrate found the testimony of appellee to be credible and that the documentary evidence presented on his behalf clearly established that the judgment against him was void.

         {¶ 8} As such, on September 18, 2014, the magistrate found the motion to vacate the judgment well-founded and timely, and granted the same as to appellee. The magistrate denied the motion to vacate as to ECR. ECR did not file objections to the magistrate's decision. On September 30, 2014, the trial court approved and adopted the magistrate's decision as its own in its entirety.

         {¶ 9} On October 2, 2014, appellant filed three objections to the magistrate's decision. In the same document, appellant twice asked the trial court for leave to file supplemental objections upon receipt of the hearing transcript, which had been ordered. The transcript was filed on October 23, 2014.

         {¶ 10} On August 28, 2015, appellee filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that he was not a party to the contract and, therefore, can have no liability for any alleged breach. Appellee also argued that the conversion and unjust enrichment claims fail as a matter of law. In response, appellant contended that the amended complaint stated sufficient facts to state a claim for piercing the corporate veil.

         {¶ 11} On August 30, 2015, appellant, not having received a ruling on its motion to file supplemental objections that was included with the initial objections to the magistrate's decision, filed supplemental objections without leave of court. On September 14, 2015, appellee filed a motion to strike the supplemental objections.

         {¶ 12} On October 3, 2016, the trial court filed a decision and entry overruling appellant's initial objections to the magistrate's decision, granting appellee's motion to strike appellant's supplemental objections, and reaffirming its decision and entry approving and adopting the magistrate's decision. On October 5, 2016, the trial court filed a decision granting appellee's motion for summary judgment. The trial court filed the journal entry of dismissal on October 13, 2016. Appellant filed a notice of appeal on November 11, 2016.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.