Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ra v. Ohio Attorney General's Office

Court of Claims of Ohio

July 11, 2019

KEVIN RA, et al. Plaintiffs
v.
OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE Defendant

          Sent to S.C. Reporter 8/27/19

          DECISION

          PATRICK M. MCGRATH Judge.

         {¶1} Pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B), on the court s own motion, the court converted a motion to dismiss filed by defendant Ohio Attorney General's Office (AGO) to a motion for summary judgment. The AGO's converted summary-judgment motion is before the court for determination.

         I. Introduction

         {¶2} Plaintiff Kevin Ra and two companies affiliated with Ra-plaintiff Vista REO Settlement Services, LLC (Vista REO) and plaintiff Parcel Revenue Corporation (PRC)-bring a lawsuit against the AGO. (Complaint.) Plaintiffs' lawsuit arises from a news release of November 16, 2017, which the AGO posted on the AGO's website. (Exhibit B, Complaint; Exhibit C, Ra Affidavit dated April 30, 2019.) According to the news release, in a lawsuit in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court the former Ohio attorney general accused Ra of "converting nonprofit funds for personal benefit, breaching his fiduciary duties, failing to register charitable assets with the Attorney General's Office, and failing to cooperate with an investigation, among other alleged violations." (Exhibit B, Complaint; Exhibit C, Ra Affidavit.) And, according to the news release, the former Ohio attorney general "[sought] a reformation of the charitable trust, injunctive relief to prevent Ra from working for a charity in Ohio, civil penalties, damages, and other relief." (Exhibit B, Complaint; Exhibit C, Ra Affidavit.) The AGO, Ra, Vista REO, and certain other entities settled the case that is the subject of the AGO's news release. (Complaint, ¶ 19; Exhibit A., Complaint; Exhibit B and C, Ra Affidavit.)

         II. Procedural History

         {¶3} On February 22, 2019, after the parties in the action in the common pleas court reached a settlement, Ra (proceeding pro se), Vista REO, and PRC sued the AGO. Plaintiffs assert that (1) Ra "was formerly the founder, sole board member, and executive director of two non-profit corporations" (Complaint, ¶ 1), (2) Vista REO is a limited liability company (which was formed under Ohio law) that "has acted as an escrow agent which collects monies due Ra in connection with the use of Ra's intellectual property" (Complaint, ¶ 3), and (3) PRC is a corporation (which was formed under Wyoming law that Ra incorporated in January 2018 and whose domain name Ra purchased on March 23, 2018) is registered in Ohio as a foreign corporation. (Complaint, ¶ 5, 35; Exhibit A, Ra Affidavit.) Plaintiffs further assert that PRC "markets and sells a proprietary software platform to municipalities which * * * identifies and tracks unproductive, tax delinquent, and vacant parcels of real estate * * * to find best-use scenarios for unproductive parcels on a parcel by parcel basis." (Complaint, ¶ 5.)

         {¶4} Plaintiffs maintain that, after the dispute in the common pleas court was settled, Ra became aware of the AGO's news release. (Complaint, ¶ 19; Exhibit A, Ra Affidavit.) Ra emailed the AGO and he requested the removal of the news release. (Complaint, ¶ 22; Exhibit A, Ra Affidavit.) The AGO declined to remove the news release from its website. (Exhibit A, Ra Affidavit.)

         {¶5} Plaintiffs allege that the AGO's refusal to remove the news release from the AGO's website and the AGO's purported use of Search Engine Optimization techniques have disrupted Ra's, Vista REO's, and PRC's business operations. (Complaint, ¶ 4, 24, 51, 58-60; Exhibit D, Ra Affidavit.) Plaintiffs seek monetary damages in the amount of $1.6 Billion and declaratory relief based on claims of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, declaratory judgment concerning rights under the settlement agreement, negligence, tortious interference with business relationships, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Complaint.)

         {¶6} On March 25, 2019, the AGO moved to dismiss plaintiffs' case pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B)(1) and (6). The court sua sponte converted the AGO's motion to dismiss to a summary-judgment motion pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B). And the court provided the parties with an opportunity to present materials pertinent to the AGO's summary-judgment motion.

         {¶7} The AGO moved the court to stay discovery pending the resolution of the AGO's converted summary-judgment motion. Ra opposed the AGO's motion to stay discovery; Vista REO and PRC did not timely respond to the AGO's motion.

         {¶8} In the AGO's converted summary-judgment motion, the AGO asserts that plaintiffs' tort claims hinge on plaintiffs' contention that the AGO's news release was false and caused them reputational harm, which in the AGO's view, constitutes "disguised defamation" claims. The AGO further asserts that it is immune from liability for defamation and a one-year statute of limitations for defamation has expired. The AGO also asserts that, assuming for the sake of argument that Ra's and Vista REO's claims are not defamation claims, then those claims are barred because under the settlement agreement Ra and Vista REO waived and released any and all claims and causes of action against the AGO relating to the AGO's investigation of Ra and Vista REO or the AGO's previous lawsuit against Ra and Vista REO.

         {¶9} Plaintiffs oppose the AGO's converted summary-judgment motion. Plaintiffs contend that the AGO attempts to reduce this case to a "simple, singular tort action based upon the release of one 'press release.'" (Memorandum In Opposition, 5.) According to plaintiffs, the "[settlement agreement] is the basis for the allegations of breaches and request for declaratory judgment and the tort claims are based upon the [AGO's] post-settlement conduct." (Id.)

         III. Law ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.