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Gianetti v. Teakwood, Ltd.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

April 26, 2018

Charles Gianetti, Plaintiff-Appellant/ Cross-Appellee,
v.
Teakwood, Ltd., et al., Defendants-Appellees/ Cross-Appellants.

          APPEALS from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, No. 14CV-2939

         On brief:

          Strip Hoppers Leithart McGrath & Terlecky Co., LPA, and Nelson E. Genshaft, for appellant/cross-appellee.

         Argued:

          Nelson E. Genshaft.

         On brief:

          The Behal Law Group, LLC, and Jack D'Aurora for appellees/cross-appellants.

         Argued:

          Jack D'Aurora.

          DECISION

          LUPER SCHUSTER, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant/cross-appellee, Charles Gianetti, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting judgment in favor of defendants-appellees/cross-appellants, Teakwood, Ltd., 256 Enterprises, Inc., Heritage Resources, Inc., David W. Houze, and Todd Fentress, on appellees' motion for attorney fees. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} This matter began when appellant brought claims against appellees arising from appellant having a limited partnership interest in Discovery 76, which owned federally subsidized rental properties in the Columbus area. In 1976, appellant invested approximately $61, 000 in Discovery 76 primarily as a means to reduce his federal income tax liability over the years that followed. However, in the 1990s, changes in federal rules and regulations reduced or eliminated the tax advantages of the investment, and Discovery 76's management began to pursue actions that would limit the investors' exposure to additional tax liability or other financial loss. Ultimately, in a 2003 transaction, Discovery 76 transferred its interests in the rental properties to Teakwood, Ltd. After the transaction, the limited partners, including appellant, received an ownership interest in Teakwood, Ltd., and Discovery 76 ceased to exist. Appellant did not consent to this transaction, but his consent was not required because enough of the other limited partners approved it to authorize the action.

         {¶ 3} In 2010, appellant retained attorney Joseph Piccin to possibly pursue legal action as a result of the 2003 transaction. Appellant maintained that the assets held by Discovery 76 should have been sold, with the proceeds being distributed to the investors. In December 2011, appellant initiated an action against appellees alleging misconduct in connection with the 2003 transaction, including breach of Discovery 76's partnership agreement. In March 2013, appellant voluntarily dismissed that action pursuant to Civ.R. 41(A)(1). Approximately one year later, appellant refiled his action against appellees, alleging, among other claims, breach of contract, accounting, and successor liability. As of January 2015, each of appellant's claims against appellees had been dismissed, either voluntarily or by court order, except for the three claims identified above. ...


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