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.

Stroud v. Four E Properties, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

May 16, 2018

JAMES R. STROUD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FOUR E PROPERTIES, INC., STEVEN VERKLEY, and NANCY L. VERKLEY, Defendants-Appellees, and STROVER HOLDINGS, LLC, Defendant.

          Civil Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO. A-1602082

          Wood & Lamping, LLP, and Neil Fairweather, for Plaintiff-Appellant

          Reardon & Chasar, LPA, Matthew R. Chaser and Joseph M. Sprafka III, for Defendants-Appellees.

          OPINION

          MILLER, JUDGE.

         {¶1} James Stroud appeals from the trial court's judgment ordering sanctions against him, denying his motion for leave to file an amended complaint, and denying his Civ.R. 60(B)(1) motion for relief from judgment. We affirm.

         {¶2} Stroud filed a pro se complaint against Steven and Nancy Verkley, Four E Properties, Inc., ("Four E") and Strover Holdings, LLC, ("Strover") for, among other things, breaches of contract and fiduciary duty. At the time Stroud filed suit, he was suing Steven Verkley in another case through counsel.

         {¶3} Stroud and Steven Verkley each owned 50 percent of Strover. The gist of Stroud's complaint was that Steven Verkley had transferred Strover real property holdings to himself and his wife, Nancy Verkley, without Stroud's knowledge or consent. Stroud also alleged that some of these properties were then transferred from the Verkleys to Four E-a corporation owned by Steven and Nancy Verkley. All of the transfers from Strover to the Verkleys, and from the Verkleys to Four E, occurred in 2006. Stroud claimed that in 2014 and 2015, Four E sold several of these properties, and that Stroud-who had remained on at least two of the mortgages-had been damaged as a result.

         {¶4} The Verkleys and Four E moved to dismiss Stroud's complaint under Civ.R. 12(B)(6). Stroud's counsel entered a limited appearance, and informed the trial court that he intended to file an amended complaint, but counsel did not immediately enter a formal notice of appearance. No amended complaint was filed. The court set a hearing on the motion to dismiss. Stroud neither appeared pro se nor through counsel, nor did he otherwise oppose the motion.

         {¶5} The Verkleys and Four E subsequently moved for sanctions, contending that Stroud had filed unwarranted claims that were barred by the statute of limitations, and that the complaint was filed in an improper attempt to gain leverage in the other lawsuit that Stroud had brought against Steven Verkley. Steven Verkley's affidavit was filed with the motion for sanctions. Verkley averred that Stroud had had actual knowledge of all Strover property transfers that had occurred in 2006. Attached to the affidavit were documents purporting to show that Stroud had knowingly transferred the deeds to the subject properties.

         {¶6} The court conducted two hearings on the sanctions motion. Following the hearings, the trial court found that Stroud's complaint was "unsupported" and was filed "at the same time he was in litigation with the defendant before another judge. "The court also determined that Stroud was not a real party in interest to the 2014 or 2105 transfers, and his claims arising from the 2006 transfers were time-barred. Citing R.C. 2323.51, the court awarded the Verkleys and Four E $32, 460.10 in attorney fees and expenses, and $3, 730.80 in expert witness fees.

         {¶7} While the motion for sanctions was pending, Stroud moved under Civ.R. 60(B)(1) for relief from the trial court's judgment dismissing his complaint. In pertinent part, Stroud contended that several of his claims did not fall outside the statute of limitations, and that his failure to oppose the motion to dismiss constituted "excusable neglect" because he had been unaware of the hearing date as he believed opposing counsel was not going forward with the motion to dismiss. In response, the Verkleys and Four E submitted emails to the court showing that counsel for the Verkleys and Four E had emailed Stroud's counsel stating that if Stroud did not soon file an amended complaint as discussed, the Verkleys and Four E intended to request a hearing on their Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion.

         {¶8} Following a hearing, the trial court denied Stroud's Civ.R. 60(B)(1) motion, finding that, based on the statute of limitations, Stroud's complaint "simply does not state a cause of action." The trial court also found that there was not excusable neglect in Stroud's failure to defend the motion to dismiss.

         {¶9} On January 18, 2017, Stroud moved the court for leave to file an amended complaint under Civ.R. 15. The court denied his motion. This appeal followed.

         {¶10} In his first and third assignments of error, Stroud contends that the trial court erred when it granted the Verkleys and Four E's motion for sanctions, and denied his motion for relief from judgment. Stroud focuses arguments in both assignments of error on the trial court's determination that his complaint had been time-barred. While we are not entirely convinced that all claims in the complaint were barred by the statute of limitations, we do not reach that issue because (1) Stroud did not appeal the dismissal, and (2) there are other bases for the trial court's sanctions and ...


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.