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Rockefeller Oil Company, LLC v. Orwell-Trumbull Pipeline Co., LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake

June 17, 2019

ROCKEFELLER OIL COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ORWELL-TRUMBULL PIPELINE CO., LLC, Defendant-Appellee.

          Civil Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018 CV 000726.

          William T. Wuliger, Wuliger & Wuliger LLC, 2003 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115 (For Plaintiff-Appellant).

          Richard M. Bain, Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis, 28601 Chagrin Boulevard, Suite 600, Cleveland, OH 44122 (For Defendant-Appellee).

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.

         {¶1} On January 9, 2019, appellant, Rockefeller Oil Company, LLC, through counsel, filed a notice of appeal from a Lake County Court of Common Pleas entry.

         {¶2} This appeal arises from an action filed by appellant against appellee, Orwell-Trumbull Pipeline Co., LLC, asserting claims for breach of quasi-contract and unjust enrichment. Appellant alleged that appellee, under the receiver's management and control, is profiting from the use of appellant's natural gas lines without paying compensation.

         {¶3} Appellee filed a motion to stay proceedings claiming that appellant could only pursue claims against it by first seeking leave of the Receivership Court since its assets were placed in receivership and subject to the jurisdiction of that court. The trial court granted appellee's motion to stay on October 31, 2018. Appellant then filed a motion to amend the court's order to either include language to allow an interlocutory appeal or for a motion to transfer the case to the Receivership Court. The trial court denied that motion on December 10, 2018, and the instant appeal ensued.

         {¶4} On February 27, 2019, this court issued an entry indicating that we may not have jurisdiction to consider this appeal and ordered appellant to show cause why it should not be dismissed. In response, appellant argues that the entry on appeal is final because if it is not immediately appealed, it would foreclose appropriate relief in the future. Appellant also posits that it has a substantial right to use and profit from its property, and if appellant waits to appeal the trial court order until after the receivership is terminated, it will be precluded from a meaningful and effective remedy.

         {¶5} Appellee filed a brief in opposition arguing that the order staying the matter is not final because it is not foreclosing on appropriate future relief and is not affecting a substantial right because appellant can petition the Receivership Court for leave to pursue its claims against appellee.

         {¶6} Under Section 3(B)(2), Article IV of the Ohio Constitution, a judgment of a trial court can be immediately reviewed by an appellate court only if it constitutes a "final order" in the action. Germ v. Fuerst, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2003-L-116, 2003-Ohio-6241, ¶ 3. If a lower court's order is not final, then an appellate court does not have jurisdiction to review the matter, and the matter must be dismissed. Gen. Acc. Ins. Co. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 44 Ohio St.3d 17, 20 (1989).

         {¶7} R.C. 2505.02(B) defines a "final order and sets forth seven categories of appealable judgment, and if the judgment of the trial court satisfies any of them, it will be deemed a "final order and can be immediately appealed and reviewed by a court of appeals.

         {¶8} R.C. 2505.02(B) states:

         {¶9} "An order is a final order that may be reviewed, affirmed, modified, or reversed, with or without retrial, when it is one of the following:

         {¶10} "(1) An order that affects a substantial right in an action that in effect determines the ...


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