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Meyers v. Hadsell Chemical Processing, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

July 23, 2019

Lori D. Meyers et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants/ Cross-Appellees,
v.
Hadsell Chemical Processing, LLC et al., Defendants-Appellees, [Pike County Sheriff Charles S. Reader, Appellee/ Cross-Appellant].

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 16CV-10186

          On brief: Ricketts Co., LPA, Richard T. Ricketts, and Andrew C. Clark, for appellants/cross-appellees. Argued: Andrew C. Clark.

          On brief: Lambert Law Office, Randall L. Lambert, and Cassaundra L. Sark, for appellee/cross-appellant. Argued: Cassaundra L. Sark.

          DECISION

          DORRIAN, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiffs-appellants/cross-appellees, Lori D. Meyers and Christopher L. Yerington (collectively, "appellants"), appeal from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas regarding the amount of amercement awarded by the court in granting their motion for amercement against appellee/cross-appellant Charles S. Reader ("Sheriff Reader"), in his official capacity as sheriff of Pike County, Ohio. Sheriff Reader filed a cross- appeal from the judgment granting the motion for amercement. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         A. Underlying judgment and attempts to execute on judgment

         {¶ 2} The motion for amercement at issue in the present appeal arises from an attempt to collect on a judgment obtained by appellants in the underlying lawsuit filed against defendants-appellees Hadsell Chemical Processing, LLC ("Hadsell Chemical"), Relevant Compounding, LLC ("Relevant"), Donald A. Hadsell, Hadsell Development, LLC, Robert W. Walton, Jr., Scott D. Evans, Timothy J. Sherman, and two Jane Doe parties. Appellants' complaint, filed October 26, 2016, asserted claims for breach of promissory notes, guarantees, fraud, rescission, promissory estoppel, civil conspiracy, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, restitution, conversion, and recovery of fraudulent conveyances. By warrant of attorney, appellants were granted a cognovit judgment of $3, 381, 532.91 against Hadsell Chemical, Relevant, and Walton, jointly and severally, on certain claims for breach of promissory notes, and $149, 230.21 against Relevant and Walton, jointly and severally, on another claim for breach of a promissory note.

         {¶ 3} On November 8, 2016, appellants filed a praecipe for a writ or order of execution with the Clerk of Courts of the Pike County Court of Common Pleas ("Pike County Clerk"). The praecipe directed the Pike County Clerk to issue a writ of execution to the Pike County Sheriffs Office to levy upon and tag certain items as described in an exhibit to the praecipe, located at a specific address in Waverly, Ohio, to satisfy the judgment against Hadsell Chemical, Relevant, and Walton. The Pike County Clerk issued a writ captioned "writ of possession for personal property" ("First Writ") to the Pike County Sheriffs Office on November 10, 2016. The First Writ was executed on January 30, 2017 and the Pike County Sheriffs Office seized or tagged various items located at Hadsell Chemical's place of business ("First Levy").

         {¶ 4} On February 8, 2017, Hadsell Chemical filed a motion in the Pike County Court of Common Pleas to quash the First Levy, asserting the First Writ was not timely executed. The following day, appellants filed a second praecipe for a writ or order of execution with the Pike County Clerk. That same day, the Pike County Clerk issued a second writ captioned "writ of possession for personal property" ("Second Writ") to the Pike County Sheriffs Office. The Second Writ was executed on February 16, 2017, and the Pike County Sheriffs Office seized or tagged various items located at Hadsell Chemical's place of business ("Second Levy"). On March 7, 2017, the Pike County Court of Common Pleas entered an agreed order holding that the First Writ was not timely executed and, therefore, the First Levy was invalid. Under the agreed order, Hadsell Chemical waived any objection to the Second Levy. In April 2017, Hadsell Chemical filed a petition for bankruptcy in federal court. Subsequently, on August 23, 2017, the Pike County common pleas court entered an agreed judgment entry providing that the Pike County Sheriffs Office was directed to turn over all of the levied property to the bankruptcy trustee.

         B. Amercement proceedings

         {¶ 5} On January 25, 2017, before the First Writ had been executed, appellants filed a motion for amercement against Sheriff Reader in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, requesting that Sheriff Reader be amerced for failure to timely execute the First Writ. The motion requested that Sheriff Reader be amerced in the amount of appellants' judgment against Hadsell Chemical, Relevant, and Walton, and 10 percent of that amount, pursuant to R.C. 2707.01, and in the amount of $1, 000 pursuant to R.C. 2707.03. On May 3, 2017, the trial court stayed the case pending the bankruptcy proceedings filed by Hadsell Chemical. On August 8, 2017, the federal bankruptcy court issued an agreed order granting relief from the automatic stay to permit appellants to pursue their amercement remedy. Appellants then filed an amended motion for amercement against Sheriff Reader and the Pike County Sheriffs Office, seeking the same remedy as in the first motion for amercement. Appellants subsequently filed a second amended motion for amercement on October 27, 2017 against Pike County, the Pike County Sheriffs Office, and Sheriff Reader as an individual and in his official capacity, seeking the same remedy.

         {¶ 6} On April 26 and 27, 2018, the Franklin County common pleas court conducted a hearing on the motion for amercement. The trial court heard testimony from Yerington, a deputy clerk with the Pike County Clerk's office, Sheriff Reader, the chief deputy sheriff who previously served as sheriff, and two administrative employees of the Pike County Sheriffs Office. Following the hearing, the trial court issued a decision granting appellants' motion for amercement. The court further found that ordering Pike County and Sheriff Reader, in his official capacity, to be amerced in the amount of appellants' judgment plus costs and 10 percent of the judgment would exceed the limit set forth in R.C. 2707.03; therefore, the trial court ordered Pike County and Sheriff Reader to be amerced in the amount of $1, 000 pursuant to R.C. 2707.03.

         II. Assignments of Error

         {¶ 7} Appellants appeal and assign the following two assignments of error for our review:

I. The Trial Court committed reversible error when it imposed a monetary limit on this R.C. 2707.01 Amercement Judgment.
II. The Trial Court committed reversible error when it disregarded the statutory subrogation provisions of R.C. 2707.07 and created its own mitigation structure by applying the 2707.03 amercement limit to this 2707.01 amercement.

         {¶ 8} Sheriff Reader has filed a cross-appeal and assigns the following three assignments of error for our review:

[I.] The trial court erred by finding that the Pike County Clerk's Office issued a Writ of Execution.
[II.] The trial court erred by finding that Sheriff Charles Reader failed to timely execute the Writ that was issued by the Pike County Clerk's Office.
[III.] The trial court erred by finding Sheriff Charles Reader was delinquent in his official capacity when the Clerk's Office failed to issue the correct writ.

         III. ...


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