Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Appeal from Common Pleas Court Trial Court Case No.
FREDRIC L. YOUNG, Atty. Reg. No. 0059544 and JONATHAN F.
HUNG, Atty. Reg. No. 0082434 Attorney for
D. BRANNON, Atty. Reg. No. 0021657 and MATTHEW C. SCHULTZ,
Atty. Reg. No. 0080142 Attorney for Defendants-Appellants.
1} Rodney and Lisa Trimbach and Performance Site
Development, LLC, ("PSD") appeal from a judgment of
the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, which granted
summary judgment to the law firm of Green & Green on its
claims for collection on account and unjust enrichment. For
the following reasons, the judgment of the trial court will
and Procedural History
2} On August 1, 2016, "Green & Green,
Lawyers" filed a complaint for collection on accounts
and unjust enrichment against Mr. and Mrs. Trimbach and PSD,
an Ohio limited liability company of which Mr. Trimbach is
the sole and managing member.
3} According to the engagement letter, which was
attached to the complaint, Green & Green was hired to
represent the Trimbachs and PSD in a pending foreclosure
action against the Trimbachs' residence and in a
malpractice action. Pursuant to an email sent from Green &
Green attorney Jonathan Hung to Mr. Trimbach a few days
later, which was also attached to the complaint, Mr. Trimbach
started a "third account" with Green & Green
after some discussions with the attorneys; the third account
was for dissolution of M&R, LLC, in which Mr. Trimbach
had a 50% interest. Several billing statements for the account
numbers associated with the two matters (the foreclosure and
dissolution of M&R) were also attached to the complaint.
4} The Trimbachs filed pro se motions to dismiss the
complaint against them, and Mr. Trimbach filed a motion to
dismiss on behalf of PSD. The motions to dismiss alleged that
the proper parties had not been named in Green &
Green's complaint and that some of the bills presented
were for matters about which the firm had "not provided
a signed contract for any such legal services." Green
& Green opposed the motions to dismiss.
5} On October 13, 2016, the trial court granted the
motion to dismiss Mrs. Trimbach from the claim for legal
services provided to M&R, on the basis that she was not a
member of M&R, and the complaint alleged only that Mr.
Trimbach had hired the firm to provide services dissolving
M&R (and protecting PSD's interests) and owed money
to the firm on behalf of M&R. The court did not dismiss
the claims against Mrs. Trimbach with respect to fees
incurred in the foreclosure action. Mr. Trimbach's motion
to dismiss was overruled in its entirety, and his motion on
behalf on PSD was stricken because, as a non-attorney, he was
not permitted to file a pleading on behalf of a corporation
or similar entity.
6} After the motions to dismiss were resolved,
neither the Trimbachs nor PSD filed an answer to Green &
7} On January 18, 2017, Green & Green filed a
Motion for Default Judgment and Summary Judgment against the
Trimbachs and PSD for the fees owed in the foreclosure and
M&R dissolution (accounts 27893 and 27894, respectively).
The firm sought default judgment on the question of the
Trimbachs' and PSD's liability, because they had not
filed answers, and the firm sought summary judgment on the
amount of damages, asserting that there was no genuine issue
of material fact as to the amount owed or the reasonableness
of its fees. The Trimbachs and PSD opposed the motion for
default and summary judgment.
8} On March 17, 2017, the trial court granted in
part and denied in part Green & Green's motion for
default judgment and summary judgment. The trial court denied
the motion for default judgment, noting that Green &
Green had conceded that default judgment "may not be
warranted, " and finding that, although no answers were
filed, the Trimbachs' motions to dismiss constituted an
effort, under Civ.R. 55(A), to "otherwise defend"
against Green & Green's claim. The trial court
granted Green & Green's motion for summary judgment
on the Trimbachs' and PSD's liability for payment of
its fees and on the reasonableness of the fees.
9} The Trimbachs and PSD appeal, raising one
assignment of error. They challenge the trial court's
decision granting summary judgment to Green & Green for
the fees owed on their accounts. Specifically, they challenge
whether any fees were owed by PSD and whether sufficient
evidence was presented to establish the reasonableness of all
the claimed ...