Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jamison v. Jamison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

April 26, 2018

CHARLES JAMISON, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES
v.
CAROLINE H. JAMISON, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Probate Court Division Case Nos. 2016 ADV 221788 and 2016 EST 214171

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS Barry L. Sweet

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES Maria L. Shinn Shinn Lanter, L.L.P. Amy L. Papesh Elk & Elk Co., Ltd.

          BEFORE: Keough, J., S. Gallagher, P.J., and Blackmon, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Caroline H. Jamison ("Caroline"), individually and as administrator of the estate of Ralph E. Jamison ("Ralph"), appeals from the probate court's judgment in Case No. 2016 ADV 221788 that granted the motion for summary judgment of plaintiffs-appellees, Charles Jamison, David Jamison, and Carolyn Dandrea (collectively "appellees" or the "children"), and dismissed Caroline's counterclaims, and from the probate court's judgment in Case No. 2016 EST 214171 that granted the exceptions to inventory filed by the children, and ordered that the real estate at issue is not an asset of Ralph's estate. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural Background

         {¶2} In February 2016, Caroline, as Ralph's surviving spouse, filed an application in Case No. 2016 EST 214171 for authority to administer his estate. The probate court granted the application. Caroline subsequently filed an inventory and schedule of assets that listed only one estate asset: a vacation cottage with a value of $265, 240 located in Sandusky, Ohio.

         {¶3} Appellees, who are the decedent's grown children, subsequently filed their exceptions to the inventory and a motion for constructive trust. In their motion, appellees asserted that before he married Caroline, Ralph and his ex-wife Myra S. Jamison, executed a separation agreement in Lake County Domestic Relations Court that required him to transfer the cottage to a living trust "to insure keeping the Cottage 'in the family, ' for the use of Husband, Wife, Children, and Grandchildren of this marriage, regardless of dissolution, divorce, remarriage, or other circumstances." The separation agreement further provided that upon Ralph's death, "the Children will be the only remaindermen (beneficiaries after the death of Husband), receiving equal shares of the trust value, in no less than two years after the death of the Husband * * *."

         {¶4} The children argued that Ralph's failure to transfer the cottage into the trust after the dissolution of his marriage to Myra and before his death deprived them of their equitable interest in the cottage, and that by including the cottage in Ralph's estate, Caroline was trying to acquire an interest in the property as Ralph's surviving spouse. The children asked the court to therefore impose a constructive trust over the cottage for their benefit, and to exclude the cottage from the inventory of Ralph's estate.

         {¶5} The children then filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in Case No. 2016 ADV 221788 asking the court to declare and determine whether the cottage should be held in constructive trust for the children's benefit or included in the inventory of Ralph's probate estate. Caroline, individually and as administrator of Ralph's estate, answered the complaint and filed counterclaims for declaratory judgment, unjust enrichment, and sanctions. The children subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment in this case, arguing that there was no genuine issue of material fact that equity required the imposition of a constructive trust over the cottage for the children's benefit, and that Caroline would be unjustly enriched if the cottage was awarded as an asset of Ralph's estate. Caroline filed a brief in opposition to the motion.

         {¶6} The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment. It found that the dissolution decree "was very specific in its instructions with regard to the disposition of the subject property and to the terms of the trust that was ordered to be established." The court found that the decree "named the Trustee and the Successor Trustee, stated who could use the subject property, mandated that the decedent's children would be the only beneficiaries after his death and gave Plaintiff David Jamison the right of first refusal to buy the subject property from the trust before the trust is terminated by the final trustee." It further found that "the decedent's failure to formally transfer the subject property into the Trust before his death will result in a denial of the Plaintiffs' equitable interest in the property if a constructive trust is not imposed by this Court." The court further found that Caroline "will be unjustly enriched if the subject property is considered to be an asset of the decedent's estate." Accordingly, the court ordered a constructive trust imposed over the cottage. It further found that imposing a constructive trust over the cottage necessarily removed it as an asset of Ralph's estate and defeated Caroline's counterclaims. The court therefore granted judgment to the children on Caroline's counterclaims and dismissed the counterclaims.

         {¶7} The court subsequently entered judgment in Case No. 2016 EST 214171 granting the children's exceptions to inventory, and ordering that the cottage be removed from the inventory of the estate. This appeal followed.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.