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Moore v. Hodge

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

November 20, 2019

JANE MOORE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JESSICA HODGE, ISAAC HODGE, and NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants-Appellees, and ELIAS TSBOURIS, JULIE EICHSTADT, and HUMANA INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.

          Civil Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Trial No. A-1603927

          O'Connor Acciani & Levy and Kory A. Veletean, for Plaintiff-Appellant,

          Law Offices of Raymond H. Decker, Jr., and Raymond H. Decker, Jr., for Defendants-Appellees Isaac Hodge and Jessica Hodge.

          Rolfes Henry Co. L.P.A., Jerome F. Rolfes and Matthew F.X. Craven, for Defendant-Appellee Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

          OPINION

          Zayas, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-appellant Jane Moore appeals the decision of the trial court granting summary judgment to defendants-appellees Isaac and Jessica Hodge and Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company and dismissing her complaint based upon the doctrine of judicial estoppel. The court determined that Moore was estopped from bringing the claims because she failed to disclose the claims in her bankruptcy filings. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On April 25, 2012, Jane Moore filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. On July 19, 2012, her plan was confirmed, and her repayment requirements were set forth. During the pendency of the bankruptcy, Moore was involved in two car accidents. On July 13, 2014, Moore was in a car accident with Elias Tsbouris, and on July 19, 2014, she was in an accident with Jessica Hodge.

         {¶3} On July 18, 2014, Moore filed a motion to retain insurance proceeds with the bankruptcy court and notified the court of her receipt of $1, 370 in auto insurance proceeds. She asked to retain $744.18 to purchase a new car. The motion was granted. On August 6, 2014, she filed a second motion to retain insurance proceeds, notifying the court that she had received $1, 370 as an insurance payout to scrap her damaged 2003 Ford Taurus. She asked to keep $714 to purchase another vehicle, and the request was granted.

         {¶4} On November 17, 2015, Moore's bankruptcy was discharged. Her case was finalized on December 10, 2015, and closed on December 29, 2015.

         {¶5} On July 11, 2016, Moore filed a complaint against Elias Tsbouris and Julie Eichstadt, the owner of the car Tsbouris was driving, Jessica Hodge and Isaac Hodge, the owner of the car Jessica was driving, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and Humana Insurance Company. Moore raised several claims related to the car accidents.

         {¶6} Both Nationwide and the Hodges filed motions for summary judgment alleging that Moore was judicially estopped from asserting her claims because she did not meet her statutory duty to disclose the claims related to the accidents to the bankruptcy court. After the motions were filed, Moore filed a motion to reopen the bankruptcy case, which was granted.

         {¶7} The trial court granted the motions for summary judgment, and dismissed Moore's claims with prejudice against defendants Nationwide and the Hodges. Moore appealed, and this court dismissed the appeal for a lack of a final appealable order because the counterclaims remained unresolved. Subsequently, the parties stipulated that all remaining claims and counterclaims were dismissed, and the trial court issued a revised entry granting the motions for summary judgment. Moore timely appealed asserting that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the basis of judicial estoppel because the failure to list her claims on the bankruptcy filings was inadvertent and without a motive to conceal.

         Standard ...


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