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Pflanz v. Sinclair

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

March 2, 2018

LEONARD F. PFLANZ, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KENNETH A. SINCLAIR, Defendant-Appellee.

         Civil Appeal From Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO. A-1601386

          Timothy P. Nolan, for Plaintiff-Appellant,

          Robbins, Kelly, Patterson & Tucker, Robert M. Ernst and Daniel J. Temming, for Defendant-Appellee.

          OPINION

          Cunningham, Judge

         {¶1} Leonard F. Pflanz appeals from the trial court's entry of summary judgment for Kenneth A. Sinclair in Pflanz's action for injunctive relief, declaratory judgment, and damages related to an easement of ingress and egress that Pflanz claimed over Sinclair's real property. Because collateral estoppel bars Pflanz from relitigating the issue of the easement after it was decided against him in a foreclosure action, and Sinclair is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, we affirm.

         Background Facts

         {¶2} Pflanz owns real estate that abuts real estate owned by Sinclair ("the Sinclair Property" or "the property") in the Northside area of Cincinnati. Sinclair purchased the property at a foreclosure sale in December 2011 "free and clear" of any easement claimed by Pflanz, who, along with his wife, had been made parties to the foreclosure action. Before the issuance of the order of foreclosure and sale, the Pflanzes had unsuccessfully challenged the mortgagee Bank of Kentucky's ("Bank") summary-judgment motion requesting that the property be sold to any purchaser free of any easement claimed by the Pflanzes in part because the Bank was a bona fide mortgagee.

         {¶3} The magistrate's decision on summary judgment provided that Judgment is hereby rendered in favor of Plaintiff The Bank of Kentucky, Inc. and against Defendant Davis Family Properties, LLC, and Amanda Davis, jointly and severally on the Note * * * Defendants Leonard F. Pflanz and Della M. Pflanz possess no easement of any kind in or over the Property, and the purchaser at any sale shall take same free and clear of any such claimed easement. If this decision is adopted by the trial court, Plaintiff shall be permitted to file its praecipe for sale and proceed consistent with the laws of this state.

         {¶4} The Pflanzes objected to the magistrate's finding that the Bank had gained the status of bona fide mortgagee. On October 12, 2011, the foreclosure court overruled the Pflanzes' objection and adopted the magistrate's decision granting summary judgment to the Bank. The Pflanzes filed a notice of appeal from this decision but later dismissed the appeal.

         {¶5} On October 28, 2011, consistent with its adoption of the magistrate's decision, the foreclosure court journalized the order of foreclosure that also ordered the sale of the property. In relevant part, this order stated

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, AJUDGED AND DECREED that unless the sums hereinabove found due, together with the costs of this action, be fully paid within three (3) days from the date of the entry of this decree, the equity of redemption, dower and any lease interest of all Defendants, in and to said premises, shall be forever barred and foreclosed, and said premises sold; free and clear of the interests of all parties herein[;] * * *.

(Emphasis added.) The order did not except the Pflanzes' claimed easement from this mandate.

         {¶6} After Sinclair purchased the property, the foreclosure court journalized an entry confirming the sale. That January 27, 2012 order indicated, consistent with the order of foreclosure, that Sinclair had purchased the property free of any easement claimed by the Pflanzes. The Pflanzes moved for partial relief from the order under Civ.R. 60(A) due to an "an apparent oversight." They asserted in part that their claimed interest in the property remained unresolved because the Bank did not purchase the property. Sinclair, who was not a party, was not served with the motion. Ultimately, the foreclosure court amended the confirmation order two times, and both amendments reflected the changes requested by the Pflanzes in their Civ.R. 60(A) motion.

         {¶7} After the foreclosure court issued the first amended order, the Pflanzes withdrew their Civ.R. 60(A) motion and dismissed an appeal they had taken from the decision issued by the foreclosure court in the first ...


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