Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake
Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
2017 CV 000323.
Yolanda Andolsek, pro se, Eddy Road, Willoughby Hills,
Timothy D. Johnson, Cavitch, Familo & Durkin Co., For
CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.
Appellant, Yolanda Andolsek, pro se, appeals the summary
judgment of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas in favor of
appellee, John J. Hurley, on appellant's claim for legal
malpractice against him. At issue is whether the trial court
erred in finding that appellant's malpractice claim was
time-barred and in entering summary judgment. For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
As a preliminary matter, we note that appellant's
appellate brief does not comply with the Ohio Rules of
Appellate Procedure because it does not contain a statement
of facts supported by references to the record, in violation
of App.R. 16(A)(6). In Grein v. Grein, 11th Dist.
Lake No. 2009-L-145, 2010-Ohio-2681, the appellant in his
brief failed to cite the record in support of his factual
allegations, as required by App.R. 16(A)(6). This court
It is well-settled that it is not the duty of an appellate
court to comb the record in search of the evidence necessary
to sustain an appellant's claimed error. * * * [I]t is
not the duty of this court to search the record to find
support for the arguments asserted by [appellant]. He has
therefore failed to support this argument by reference to the
record, and for this reason alone, his argument lacks merit.
Grein, supra, at ¶50.
Here, none of appellant's factual allegations is
supported by reference to the record. Despite appellant's
serious violation of App.R. 16(A)(6), we dispose of this case
based on the undisputed facts, which are outlined herein. In
February 2014, appellant hired Hurley, a partner in the law
firm Nelson, Sweet, and Hurley, who regularly practiced in
the probate courts of Lake and surrounding counties, to
represent her as executrix of her father's estate.
Appellant admits that Hurley represented her from February
2014 until July 2015.
Appellant argues that in July 2014, the probate court issued
the first of three notices to file the inventory. She argues
that Hurley requested three continuances to file the
inventory for the estate and that as of April 30, 2015, it
still had not been filed.
While appellant acknowledges that on April 30, 2015, Hurley
sent her a letter advising her that he was withdrawing from
his representation of her, she says that in July 2015, she
fired Hurley and terminated their attorney-client
relationship. She sent him a letter in which she stated:
"I excuse Mr. Hurley as my attorney in my father's
estate case, 14 ES 0117. I no longer need your
services." Thus, the trial court did not err in finding
that "Hurley stopped representing [appellant] no later
than July 2015."
Appellant concedes that she "was continuously
notified by the court to submit the inventory." She
argues that in October 2015, she tried to file an inventory
on her own in the probate court, but it was returned to her
by the court unfiled. She maintains that, afterward,
she "was repeatedly notified by the court
holding [her] responsible for the inventory," but she
repeatedly failed to file it.
One month later, in November 2015, appellant submitted a
grievance against Hurley to Disciplinary Counsel of the
Supreme Court of Ohio, which she signed on November 18, 2015,
alleging that she was filing a grievance against Hurley
"for the service he performed handling [her]
father's estate." She alleged that Hurley failed to
file a suggestion of death that resulted in loss of money to
the estate; that he gave her bad legal advice in handling her
father's estate; and that "he should pay [her] for
damages he caused." Appellant admitted in her grievance
that Hurley no longer represents her. On December 4, 2015,
Disciplinary Counsel sent a letter to appellant dismissing
her grievance. In that letter, Disciplinary Counsel advised
her that she could consult counsel about the possibility of
pursuing a claim for legal malpractice against Hurley.
On April 20, 2016, the probate court held a hearing regarding
appellant's failure to file the inventory at which the
court fined her $125 for this omission.
On January 27, 2017, appellant filed a complaint for legal
malpractice against Hurley in the Cuyahoga County Court of
Common Pleas, alleging, inter alia, that he gave her bad
legal advice in handling her father's estate and that he
failed to follow her instructions. Hurley filed a motion to