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Swift Transportation Co., Inc. v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

February 27, 2018

Swift Transportation Co., Inc., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Alvon Williams, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 16CV-12267

          On brief: Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, and William W. Emley, Sr., for appellee.

          On brief: Alvon Williams, pro se.

          DECISION

          KLATT, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Alvon Williams, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting plaintiff-appellee, Swift Transportation Co., Inc., summary judgment. Because Swift has failed to establish that there are no material issues of fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, we reverse.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} On August 26, 2014, Williams and Swift entered into an "Enrollment Contract/Driving Academy" ("contract"). The contract required Swift to provide truck driving training in exchange for Williams' promise to pay specified tuition and lodging costs. Williams began his course of training with Swift on March 30, 2015, and completed his training on April 23, 2015. Williams received his commercial driver's license on June 11, 2015. Williams began his employment as a truck driver on June 18, 2015, and terminated that employment on July 31, 2015. Williams has not paid the amount specified in the contract.[1]

         {¶ 3} On June 30, 2016, Swift filed a complaint against Williams alleging that Williams "is in default of the payments required under said contract and there is due and owing to [Swift] the sum of $4, 400." (Dec. 30, 2016 Compl. at ¶ 2.) On February 14, 2017, Swift filed a motion for default due to Williams' failure to timely respond to the complaint. Shortly thereafter, Williams, appearing pro se, filed an untitled document requesting that the trial court not grant default judgment against him. On March 27, 2017, Williams filed a letter again requesting the trial court to deny default judgment to Swift.

         {¶ 4} Thereafter, Swift served on Williams requests for admissions. Williams did not timely submit responses to the requests for admissions. On May 31, 2017, Swift filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there were no issues of material fact and that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law based principally upon Williams' failure to timely respond to Swift's requests for admissions, which by rule were deemed admitted. Swift also attached the affidavit of Lisa Summers, a client services representative for Partner Financial Services. Summers states that she "is in possession of the business records of the company as they relate to an account with Williams." Summers states:

1. That said note is in default according to its terms;
2. That the Defendant, has failed to make all payments required in the terms of said note in a timely fashion;
3. That the company, as a result of the default of the Defendant, has accelerated the terms of the note and demanded the entire balance;
4. That there is owing the sum of $4, 400.00 plus costs and interest at the rate of 3% per annum from the date of Judgment and ...

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