Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
MYOCARE NURSING HOME, INC. PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
WILLIAM HOHMANN, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Stephen D. Dodd Stephen D. Dodd Co.,
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For William Hohmann David Ross
Reminger Co., L.P.A.
Kenneth Boukis Matthew B. Barbara Taft Stettinius &
M. Wilson Reminger Co., L.P.A.
BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Laster Mays, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE
Myocare Nursing Home, Inc. ("Myocare"), appeals the
judgment entered in favor of William Hohmann ("Attorney
Hohmann"), Kenneth Boukis, and Hohmann, Boukis &
Curtis, L.P.A. (collectively "Hohmann"), upon
Myocare's legal malpractice claims and the law firm's
counterclaim for unpaid legal fees. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
Myocare retained Hohmann in June 2011 to commence collection
efforts on a judgment Myocare obtained against a third party
("debtor"). Originally, Hohmann agreed to undertake
the representation for a "basic contingent fee of 5% and
an additional amount depending upon whether or not the claim
is contested." The debtor had been awarded a
multi-million-dollar judgment in an unrelated action filed in
Summit County, and at the time, the debtor's case was
pending in the appellate court. An appellate bond had been
posted with the Summit County Clerk of Courts. Myocare
intended to use the debtor's judgment and the bond in
that case in order to satisfy the $253, 828.66 outstanding
On June 22, Hohmann filed a creditor's bill action on
behalf of Myocare in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas,
naming the Summit County Clerk of Courts as a defendant, in
an effort to establish a lien on the $2.5 million bond. The
debtor, around the same time, executed a settlement agreement
in which the bond would be used for partial satisfaction of
the judgment he received. Ninety days later, the debtor was
to be paid an additional amount of approximately $190, 000.
Sometime on June 22, the Summit County Clerk of Courts
transferred the multi-million-dollar bond to the debtor's
attorney, at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs
("Buckingham"), as partial satisfaction of the
judgment awarded to the debtor.
Realizing the transfer had occurred, Hohmann immediately
contacted the debtor's attorney at Buckingham and
notified him of the lien established against the bond.
Buckingham paid the debtor's other creditors but retained
$260, 000 to cover Myocare's lien. Perhaps partially
concerned that the lien established by the creditor's
bill had been ineffective to prevent the transfer, Hohmann
followed up by filing a garnishment of property proceeding in
municipal court against Buckingham. In the process,
Myocare's judgment lien was transferred to municipal
court on June 30, and in mid-July, the notice of garnishment
was served. Myocare claims there is a dispute regarding the
date of the filing; however, the earliest date that could be
considered as the commencement of the garnishment proceedings
was June 30. After the filing of the garnishment proceedings,
Hohmann was discharged as Myocare's attorney and new
counsel entered an appearance.
Before the garnishment action was filed, a second creditor
entered the picture. On June 27, First Federal of Lakewood
Bank and Trust ("First Federal") filed its own
creditor's bill action, also in the Cuyahoga County Court
of Common Pleas, against Buckingham in an attempt to place a
lien on the debtor's money. First Federal was owed over
$700, 000 by the debtor. Both Myocare's and First
Federal's creditor's bills were consolidated into one
action, and Myocare appears to have abandoned the garnishment
proceeding. The creditor's bill actions were settled
among the parties with Myocare agreeing to receive $160,
733.26 and First Federal agreeing to receive $250, 000 as
partial satisfaction of their respective judgments.
Myocare then filed a legal malpractice action against
Hohmann, claiming that its failure in amending the June 22
creditor's bill to name Buckingham as a defendant caused
Myocare to lose its priority to First Federal over the $260,
000 Buckingham withheld. The trial court granted partial
summary judgment upon the malpractice action in favor of
Hohmann. The parties filed a contingent dismissal entry in
order to allow Myocare to challenge the interlocutory ruling.
Myocare appealed the partial summary judgment in Myocare
Nursing Home, Inc. v. Hohmann, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.
104290, 2017-Ohio-186. The appeal was dismissed for the want
of jurisdiction. Id.
Upon remand, the trial court resolved the counterclaim for
unpaid legal services in Hohmann's favor following a
bench trial, ultimately ...