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Stowe v. Chuck's Automotive Repair, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

February 14, 2018

JOHN R. STOWE Appellant
v.
CHUCK'S AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR, LLC Appellee

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE BARBERTON MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CVF 1501913

          DANIEL M. WALPOLE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          TERRENCE UFHOLZ, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          TEODOSIO, JUDGE.

         {¶1} John R. Stowe appeals the judgment entered on June 12, 2017, by the Barberton Municipal Court. We affirm in part, and reverse and remand in part.

         I.

         {¶2} Beginning in February 2013, Mr. Stowe entered into a commercial lease agreement with Chuck's Automotive Repair LLC ("Chuck's Automotive") whereby Chuck's Automotive provided him with storage and warehouse space in one of the buildings it owned. Mr. Stowe filed a complaint against Chuck's Automotive in October 2015, and an amended complaint in December 2015, stating a claim for damage to Mr. Stowe's pickup truck allegedly caused by shingles that had come from the roof of the storage space, as well as a consumer sales practices claim pursuant to R.C. 1345.03. Chuck's Automotive filed an answer to the amended complaint and asserted a counterclaim for Mr. Stowe's alleged failure to pay for automotive repairs. A trial was conducted in May 2016, and on August 2, 2016, a magistrate's decision was entered in favor of Chuck's Automotive as to Mr. Stowe's amended complaint and dismissing the counterclaim.

         {¶3} On August 16, 2016, Mr. Stowe filed his objections to the magistrate's decision, stating:

Plaintiff objects to the [magistrate's] finding that:
1. Plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his truck was damaged by shingles which fell from the roof of Defendant's building;
2. Plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant was negligent in his upkeep and/or repair of the roof;
3. Defendant failed to claim, argue, or offer any proof that the damage to Plaintiff s truck was from an act of God;
4. Repairs to Plaintiffs wife's automobile were not a "Consumer Transaction" and therefore not subject to [R.C.] 1345.02 et seq.

         Mr. Stowe noted he would supplement his objections with specific references to testimony and exhibits after being provided with the transcript of the proceedings. Mr. Stowe's supplement, filed on October 28, 2016, does not state any additional objections to the magistrate's decision, not does it address the four original objections separately; rather, the supplement is divided into a section setting forth the background of the case, a section offering a statement of facts, and a section captioned "LAW AND ARGUMENT."

         {¶4} On January 3, 2017, the trial court overruled Mr. Stowe's objections "with the exception of the 'act of God' finding, " which it struck from the magistrate's decision on the grounds that such a defense was neither plead nor argued. An attempted appeal of that order was dismissed by this Court because the trial court had failed to independently enter a judgment. Subsequently, on June ...


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