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Boggs v. Denmead

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 21, 2018

Clifford L. Boggs, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Craig Denmead et al., Defendants-Appellees.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 12CV-13858

         On brief:

          Stewart & DeChant, LLC, and Scott E. Stewart, for appellant.

          Reminger Co., L.PA., Melvin J. Davis, and Allison R. Thomas, for appellees.

         Argued:

          Scott E. Stewart.

          Allison R. Thomas.

          DECISION

          BROWN, P.J.

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal by plaintiff-appellant, Clifford L. Boggs, from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas overruling his objections to a magistrate's decision and granting the motion to dismiss filed by defendants-appellees, Craig Denmead (individually "Denmead") and Denmead Law Office.

         {¶ 2} On November 2, 2012, appellant filed a complaint against appellees alleging legal malpractice. On November 20, 2012, appellant filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, which the trial court granted by entry filed November 27, 2012.

         {¶ 3} On December 1, 2013, appellees filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and amended complaint, pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B), asserting insufficiency of service of process, insufficiency of process, and lack of personal jurisdiction. Attached to the motion was the affidavit of Denmead, who averred he had never received certified or express mail service of the summons and complaint filed in Franklin C.P. No. 12CV-13858. On December 10, 2013, appellant filed a brief in response to appellees' motion to dismiss.

         {¶ 4} On December 5, 2014, a magistrate of the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the motion to dismiss. During the hearing, Denmead testified on behalf of appellees, while appellant presented the testimony of Joyce Beauman, manager of the clerk's office for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division. Appellant also called Denmead to testify on cross-examination.

         {¶ 5} On February 6, 2015, the magistrate issued a decision which included the following findings of fact. Appellee Denmead is an Ohio licensed attorney "doing business as Denmead Law Office." In November 2012, the Denmead Law Office was located at 17 South High Street, Suite 620, Columbus, Ohio, 43215. Denmead is a sole practitioner, and in November 2012 "he did not employ any staff, nor did he share office space with any other attorney, or anyone else." Denmead was also "the only person who had access to Suite 620 on November 24, 2012."

         {¶ 6} Prior to the filing of the instant action, "Denmead was contacted in writing by an attorney representing Clifford Boggs, " requesting a copy of a file "related to a potential malpractice lawsuit." Denmead "notified his malpractice insurance carrier, " and the carrier retained counsel for Denmead.

         {¶ 7} On November 2, 2012, appellant requested certified mail service of the complaint filed against both appellees. Thereafter, the complaint and summonses "were sent to Craig Denmead and Denmead Law Office at 17 South High Street, Suite 620, Columbus, Ohio 43215."

         {¶ 8} On November 20, 2012, appellant filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint. Appellant mailed a copy of his motion "to Craig Denmead and Denmead Law Office at 17 S. High Street, Suite 620, Columbus, Ohio 43215." On November 27, 2012, the trial court granted appellant's motion for leave to file his amended complaint instanter. On that same date, "the Franklin County Clerk of Courts filed 'return receipts' for the Complaint and summonses issued to [appellees] Craig Denmead and Denmead Law Office." Both certified mail envelopes "were delivered on November 24, 2012 at ...


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