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Blaney v. Perdue

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

June 24, 2019

KIM BLANEY Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee
v.
BILLIE PERDUE Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant

          Civil Appeal from the Municipal Court, Case No. 17 CVG 003369

          For Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee KIM BLANEY PRO SE

          For Defendant-Appellee/Cross Appellant SONDRA O. BRYSON SE OHIO LEGAL SERVICES VALERIE HENDRICKSON SE OHIO LEGAL SERVICES

          JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

          OPINION

          Wise, J.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-Appellant Kim Blaney appeals the August 16, 2018, decision of the Licking County Municipal Court finding that Appellee Billie Perdue's lease obligations to her were discharged pursuant to her Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

         {¶2} Appellee has also filed a cross-appeal in this matter.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND FACTS

         {¶3} The relevant facts and procedural history are as follows:

         {¶4} On March 13, 2017, Plaintiff-Appellant Kim Blaney entered into a residential Lease Agreement with Appellee/Cross-Appellant Billie Perdue for property located at 90 S. 21st Street, Newark OH, 43055. The lease agreement, signed by both parties, states that "[t]he Full Lease Term shall be Twelve Months, from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018." (T. at 23-24).

         {¶5} On September 21, 2017, Ms. Perdue filed for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 of Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. (T. at 24, 27). Ms. Perdue disclosed the $599 she paid as a security deposit to Appellant Blaney in her list of assets filed with the bankruptcy court. Ms. Perdue also disclosed her obligation under the residential lease agreement in her bankruptcy Schedule G, which explicitly calls for disclosure of "executory contracts and unexpired leases."

         {¶6} The Trustee in Ms. Perdue's bankruptcy opted against binding the bankruptcy estate to the residential lease by not "assuming" the lease. (T. at 27). Appellant Blaney did not file a claim in Ms. Perdue's bankruptcy for any debt Appellant was owed.

         {¶7} On December 15, 2017, Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kim Blaney filed a two-count eviction action for forcible entry and detainer and damages under R.C. Chapter 1923 against Appellee/Cross-Appellant Billie Perdue.

         {¶8} At the time of the filing of the eviction action, Perdue was in the middle of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Perdue notified the trial court by filing a notification of filing under Bankruptcy Code and suggestion of stay on December 28, 2017.

         {¶9} On January 3, 2018, the magistrate issued a decision to stay the case on the basis of the bankruptcy. The trial court adopted the magistrate's decision on January 4, 2018 and the eviction case was stayed.

         {¶10} On February 13, 2018, Ms. Perdue was granted discharge under 11 U.S.C. 727. Ms. Perdue vacated the residential property on February 28, 2018. (T. at 24, 28).

         {¶11} On March 13, 2018, Perdue timely filed her answer informing the trial court that Count 1 of the eviction complaint, the claim for forcible entry and detainer, was moot and notifying the trial court that her bankruptcy had been discharged ...


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