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Premier Homes, Inc. v. Hanna Commercial, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark

March 20, 2018

PREMIER HOMES, INC., ET AL. Plaintiffs
v.
HANNA COMMERCIAL, LLC, ET AL. Defendants-Cross-Claim Defendants-Appellants and LAURI M. WEINFELD LIVING TRUST, LAURI M. WEINFELD AND IRWIN J. WEINFELD, M.D., AS CO-TRUSTEES, ET AL. Defendants-Cross-Claim Plaintiffs-Appellees

          Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016CV00019

          For Cross-Claim Defendants-Appellants MICHAEL S. GRUBER JASON N. BING KARL H. SCHNEIDER.

          For Cross-Claim Plaintiffs-Appellees SCOTT M. ZURAKOWSKI JOSEPH J. PASQUARELLA.

          Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Wise, Earle, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendants-Cross-Claim Defendants-Appellants, Hanna Commercial, LLC, Chartwell Auctions, LLC, Joel D. Dutton, and Jared E. Dutton, along with Third-Party Defendant-Appellant Jack C. Davis, appeal the June 6, 2017 judgment entry of the Court of Common Pleas of Stark County, Ohio, denying their motions to stay the claims against them pending arbitration. Defendants-Cross-Claim Plaintiffs-Third Party Plaintiffs-Appellees are Lauri M. Weinfeld Living Trust, Lauri M. Weinfeld and Irwin J. Weinfeld, M.D., as co-trustees and individually, and Dee Mar Lake Properties, LLC.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} On November 11, 2015, appellants and appellees entered into an auction agreement whereby appellees hired appellants to auction off their real property consisting of a home and a banquet center. The auction agreement included an arbitration provision in the event of a dispute arising from the agreement. The auction bids were accepted using a multi-parcel method. First the properties were offered separately, then they were offered together. The home was sold to plaintiffs, Premier Homes, Inc., Johannes Schlabach, and Rebecca Gingerich, and the banquet center was sold to another party. This other party did not go through with the purchase of the banquet center. As a result, appellants re-auctioned and resold both properties to Leo and Carol Soehnlen, even though the home had already been purchased by plaintiffs. A dispute arose over the true owners of the properties.

         {¶ 3} On January 5, 2016, plaintiffs filed a complaint against several of the appellants and appellees seeking specific performance. Amended complaints were filed on April 14, and June 6, 2016, to include all of the named appellants and appellees. Plaintiffs asserted claims for specific performance or in the alternative, breach of contract, or in the alternative, promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation, violations of R.C. Chapter 4707 governing auctioneers, and intentional interference with contractual or prospective contractual relationships.

         {¶ 4} On February 8, 2016, appellees filed a cross-claim against appellants for indemnification and/or contribution (except for Mr. Davis).

         {¶ 5} On April 27, 2016, appellants filed a motion to stay the cross-claim pending arbitration pursuant to the arbitration provision in the auction agreement and R.C. 2711.02(B).

         {¶ 6} On May 16, 2016, appellees filed an amended cross-claim against appellants, adding claims for breach of contract, breach of good faith, fraudulent inducement/misrepresentation, violations of R.C. Chapters 4707 and 4735, breach of common law fiduciary duty, professional negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and promissory estoppel. In addition, appellees filed a third-party complaint against Mr. Davis for the identical claims, and a third-party complaint against the Soehnlens for declaratory judgment.

         {¶ 7} On May 23, 2016, plaintiffs filed a motion to bifurcate the trial, separating their specific performance claim from their other legal causes of action. Plaintiffs also filed a memorandum in opposition to appellants' motion to stay appellees' cross-claim pending arbitration.

         {¶ 8} On June 20, 2016, the Soehnlens filed a counterclaim against appellees alleging specific performance, breach of contract, abuse of process, frivolous complaint, and respondeat superior. Also, the Soehnlens filed a cross-claim against plaintiffs alleging statute of frauds, abuse of ...


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