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Cleveland Plating, LLC v. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

May 15, 2018

Cleveland Plating, LLC, Appellant-Appellee,
v.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Appellee-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 17CV-91)

         On brief:

          Weston Hurd, LLP, and Douglas R. Unver, for appellee.

         On brief:

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Laurence R. Snyder, for appellant.

          DECISION

          LUPER SCHUSTER, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services ("ODJFS"), appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas reversing a decision of the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission ("commission") finding that appellee, Cleveland Plating, LLC ("Cleveland Plating"), is a successor in interest to The Barker Products, Co., Inc. ("Barker Products"). For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} Barker Products was an electroplating company that operated at a facility on East 134th Street in Cleveland, Ohio, and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A ("JPMorgan Chase") was its secured creditor. In March 2015, JPMorgan Chase foreclosed on the assets of Barker Products. Cleveland Plating purchased Barker Products' assets from JPMorgan Chase, and it hired most of the employees who had worked for Barker Products. Within two weeks after purchasing the assets, Cleveland Plating resumed operations at the East 134th Street facility.

         {¶ 3} In July 2016, ODJFS notified Cleveland Plating that it had determined Cleveland Plating is a successor in interest to Barker Products, effective March 13, 2015. Cleveland Plating requested reconsideration, and the director of ODJFS affirmed the successor in interest determination in August 2016. Cleveland Plating appealed the director's decision to the commission, and the commission held a hearing regarding the appeal on December 1, 2016. Six days later, the commission issued a decision affirming the director's determination. Pursuant to R.C. 4141.26, Cleveland Plating appealed the commission's decision to the trial court, and the trial court reversed the decision of the commission. The trial court concluded that Cleveland Plating is not a successor in interest to Barker Products.

         {¶ 4} ODJFS timely appeals from the trial court's decision.

         II. Assignment of Error

         {¶ 5} ODJFS assigns the following error for our review:

The lower court erred as a matter of law when it reversed the Decision of the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission finding Cleveland Plating, LLC to be a successor ...

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