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Dublin City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

May 22, 2018

Dublin City Schools Board of Education, Appellant-Appellant,
v.
Franklin County Board of Revision et al., Appellees-Appellees.

          APPEAL from the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA No. 2016-551)

         On brief:

          Rich & Gillis Law Group, LLC, Mark H. Gillis, and Kelley A. Gorry, for appellant.

          The Gibbs Firm, LPA, Ryan J. Gibbs, and Geoffrey N. Byrne, for appellee Lowe's Home Centers, LLC.

         Argued:

          Kelley A. Gorry.

          Geoffrey N. Byrne.

          DECISION

          LUPER SCHUSTER, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Dublin City Schools Board of Education ("BOE"), appeals from an Ohio Board of Tax Appeals ("BTA") decision that dismissed the BOE's appeal from a Franklin County Board of Revision ("BOR") decision valuing a property owned by Lowe's Home Centers, LLC ("Lowe's"). For the following reasons, we reverse the BTAs decision and remand for further proceedings.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} In March 2015, Lowe's filed a complaint with the BOR seeking a reduction in value for certain real property it owns located at 6555 Dublin Center Drive, Dublin, Ohio ("the property"). In May 2015, the BOE filed a counter-complaint in support of the county auditor's valuation of the property.

         {¶ 3} On March 1, 2016, the BOR held a hearing regarding the matter. The next day, the BOR mailed a letter indicating it was granting a reduction in value as to the property (the "March 2, 2016 decision letter"). The March 2, 2016 decision letter identified "LBUBS 2007-C1 COMPLEX 2740 LLC" as the owner of the property, even though Lowe's is in fact the property's owner. The BOR sent this letter to LBUBS 2007-C1 COMPLEX 2740 LLC in care of Lowe's counsel. The letter indicates that a copy was also sent to the BOE's counsel, but BOE asserts that the record does not conclusively show that it received the March 2, 2016 decision letter.

         {¶ 4} On April 1, 2016, Lowe's filed a notice of appeal with the BTA. Also on April 1, 2016, the BOR sent a "corrected letter" regarding the property to both Lowe's counsel and the BOE's counsel (the "April 1, 2016 decision letter"). The April 1, 2016 decision letter is identical to the March 2, 2016 decision letter, except that it correctly identified Lowe's as the property's owner.

         {¶ 5} On April 8, 2016, the BOE filed an appeal with the BTA from the BOR's April 1, 2016 decision letter. On April 13, 2016, the BTA consolidated the parties' appeals. On November 1, 2016, Lowe's moved to dismiss the BOE's appeal as untimely. Lowe's argued that the BOE did not comply with R.C. 5717.01 because it filed its appeal more than 30 days after the BOR's decision was certified on March 2, 2016. The BOE argued that its appeal was timely because there was no evidence it received the March 2, 2016 decision letter, because the letter itself was not sufficient to give it notice of the decision as required by statute, and because the sending of the April 1, 2016 decision letter began a new 30-day appeal period. On November ...


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