Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
MICHAEL R. MCCOPPIN, et al., Appellants,
CAMARGO SPORTS AND APPAREL, et al., Appellees.
APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
W. Raines, for appellants
J. Allen and Camargo Sports and Apparel, Inc., appellees, pro
1} Plaintiffs-appellants, Michael McCoppin, et al.,
appeal the decision of the Butler County Court of Common
Pleas, awarding McCoppin $3, 100 in damages for breach of an
employment contract. For the reasons detailed below, we
2} Kenneth Cox and Jeffrey Lutes
("Shareholders"), along with McCoppin, are the
former shareholders of W.E. Michaels Sports Group Inc.
("W.E. Michaels"), a defunct Ohio corporation
formerly headquartered in Middletown. Camargo Sports &
Apparel, Inc. ("Camargo") is a defunct Ohio
corporation formerly headquartered in Cincinnati. Both
corporations sold sporting goods and apparel, mostly to high
school athletic teams. James Allen was the president of
Camargo during all relevant times.
3} On May 31, 2006, the parties executed an asset
purchase agreement whereby Camargo would purchase W.E.
Michaels for $202, 274. As part of this agreement, Camargo
also agreed to assume W.E. Michael's contract and lease
obligations, most notably, several pieces of equipment used
for embroidery and logo prints.
4} The purchase agreement further required Camargo
and McCoppin to execute an employment contract, which they
did shortly after the closing. Under the terms of the
employment contract, McCoppin was to remain an employee of
Camargo in exchange for $600 in weekly wages plus unspecified
5} Camargo was to continue operation at W.E.
Michaels' North Clinton Street location in Middletown.
Though Camargo took possession of the premises after
purchasing W.E. Michaels, the parties never executed a lease
6} Camargo faltered soon after purchasing W.E.
Michaels. The relationship between Allen and McCoppin also
quickly soured. At the time McCoppin terminated his
employment, Camargo owed him five weeks of wages, as well as
commissions for his entire tenure. In October 2006, Camargo
vacated the North Clinton Street address due to a water and
pest intrusion and relocated to another location in
Middletown. Following the closure, McCoppin opened an
athletic facility in the North Clinton Street property that
featured batting cages and weightlifting equipment.
7} Camargo ceased operations in 2008. In February
2011, McCoppin and the Shareholders filed this action against
Camargo, Allen, and Kathleen Barton, Allen's wife. The
complaint alleged that Camargo and Allen failed to assume the
equipment leases and wrongfully removed equipment from the
business premises in violation of the terms of the equipment
leases. McCoppin and the Shareholders further alleged that
Camargo and Allen unlawfully used W.E. Michaels' vendor
accounts to their detriment, and that McCoppin is owed back
wages and commissions.
8} Though Camargo had not yet filed an answer, the
record reflects that Allen and his wife attended a pretrial
conference, appearing pro se. A pretrial order dated August
22, 2011 states that plaintiffs and plaintiffs' counsel
did not appear. The notation further indicated that the court
would "send a 10 day notice of dismissal" to
plaintiffs and their counsel for failure to prosecute their
9} On December 17, 2012, McCoppin and the
Shareholders moved for summary judgment. The motion included
McCoppin's affidavit, which averred damages and breach of
contract allegations. On January 11, 2013, the trial court
granted the motion for summary judgment. The trial court
awarded McCoppin and the Shareholders $231, 711.76, plus
costs and interest. In addition, the trial court also awarded
McCoppin individually $11, 298 plus costs and interest. Over
a year later, the trial court entered an amended judgment
entry. The amended judgment entry maintained the prior
judgments against the parties and the respective damages.
10} On April 22, 2015, the Allens, now with counsel,
moved for relief from judgment pursuant to Civ.R. 60(B). In
affidavits, the Allens claimed they had no notice of the
motion for summary judgment or of the judgment entry against
them. McCoppin and the Shareholders filed a written motion in
opposition. However, at the hearing on the motion, McCoppin
and the Shareholders withdrew their opposition to the Civ.R.
60(B). On June 3, 2015, the trial court granted the Civ.R.
60(B) motion for relief from judgment. Following this