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Jefferson Capital Systems, L.L.C. v. Gibson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

November 21, 2019

JEFFERSON CAPITAL SYSTEMS, L.L.C. Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHARLOTTE GIBSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Bedford Municipal Court Case No. 18CVF04422

         JUDGMENT: DISMISSED

          Jefferson Capital Systems, L.L.C., and Bradley E. Sherman; Reminger Co., L.P.A., and Brian D. Sullivan, for appellee.

          Luftman, Heck & Associates, L.L.P., and Matthew L. Alden, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          FRANK D. CELEBREZZE, JR, JUDGE

         {¶ 1} This cause came to be heard upon the accelerated calendar pursuant to App.R. 11.1 and Loc.R. 11.1. Defendant-appellant, Charlotte Gibson, brings the instant appeal challenging the trial court's judgment dismissing plaintiff-appellee, Jefferson Capital Systems, L.L.C.'s (hereinafter "JCS") civil action without prejudice. Appellant argues that the trial court erred by dismissing the case without ruling on her motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and her motion for sanctions. After a thorough review of the record and law, this court dismisses the appeal for lack of a final appealable order.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} JCS initiated a collection action in an attempt to collect the outstanding balance on appellant's credit account. On August 31, 2018, JCS filed a complaint against appellant in the Bedford Municipal Court. JCS requested a judgment against appellant in the amount of $1, 972.91, plus costs and post-judgment interest.

         {¶ 3} On February 12, 2019, appellant filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction and a motion for sanctions against JCS. In her motion for sanctions, appellant argued that JCS's conduct of filing the lawsuit in the Bedford Municipal Court was "objectively frivolous[.]" Although she did not explicitly specify a proper venue, she appeared to argue that Cleveland Municipal Court was the proper venue for the lawsuit.

         {¶ 4} On February 15, 2019, JCS filed a motion for default judgment. Therein, JCS requested a judgment against appellant in the amount of $1, 972.91.

         {¶ 5} JCS filed a brief in opposition to appellant's motion for sanctions on February 21, 2019. Therein, JCS asserted that it was contemporaneously filing a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case based on appellant's assertion that Bedford Municipal Court was an improper venue. Furthermore, JCS maintained that any error with respect to its determination that Bedford Municipal Court was a proper venue was not objectively frivolous: "Bedford Municipal Court is 23 miles from [appellant's] residence and Cleveland Municipal Court is 11 miles from [appellant's] residence. Both courts are in Cuyahoga County and the difference in miles from each court is negligible." Finally, JCS argued that the trial court need not hold a hearing on appellant's motion for sanctions because appellant failed to demonstrate a basis for the imposition of sanctions.

         {¶ 6} On February 21, 2019, JCS filed a motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. JCS asserted that it moved to dismiss the lawsuit "based on [appellant's] allegations of improper venue[.]" Appellee's brief at 1-2.

         {¶ 7} On February 28, 2019, the trial court granted JCS's motion to dismiss the case and dismissed the case without prejudice. The trial court's February 28, 2019 judgment entry provides, in relevant part, "On motion of the plaintiff, it is hereby ordered that the within cause be and the same is hereby dismissed, without prejudice, at plaintiffs costs."

         {¶ 8} It is from this judgment that appellant filed the instant appeal on March 22, 2019. Appellant assigns two errors for review:[1]

I. The trial court erred in denying [appellant's] [m]otion to [d]ismiss the case for lack of [personal] jurisdiction.
II. The trial court erred in denying [appellant's] [m]otion for [s]anctions without holding a hearing on the [m]otion.

         II. ...


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