FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 18TX007015
P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and CHRIS A. PYANOWSKI,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellant.
BUDWAY, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
MELANIE CORNELIUS, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
The Lorain County Treasurer appeals from the judgment of the
Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.
The Lorain County Treasurer (the "Treasurer") filed
a complaint against Gregory and Tina Barricklow, owners of
certain real property in Lorain County. The complaint sought
the foreclosure of eight parcels of property based upon
delinquent real estate taxes. Seven of the parcels are
adjacent to each other and contain a building that spans all
seven parcels. The Treasurer later voluntarily dismissed its
complaint relative to the non-adjacent parcel, indicating
that the delinquent real estate taxes associated with that
parcel had been paid in full.
After the commencement of the action, the Barricklows paid
the delinquent taxes associated with six of the seven
adjacent parcels. They did not pay the delinquent taxes
related to the parcel upon which the valuation of the
building - despite spanning all seven parcels - was
attributed to for tax purposes.
The Treasurer moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was
entitled to a foreclosure on all seven parcels. The Treasurer
acknowledged that the Barricklows had paid the delinquent
taxes on six of the seven adjacent parcels, but argued that
all seven parcels are considered one economic unit in light
of the fact that the building spans all seven parcels. It
argued that the auditor simply assigned the value of the
building to one parcel because it would be impossible to
appraise the value of each piece of the building that sits on
each individual parcel. In short, the Treasurer argued that
"if a group of parcels are collectively assigned
valuation by the Auditor as a single economic unit[, then]
they can be foreclosed upon collectively by the Treasurer
when their taxes based on that collective valuation become
delinquent." The Treasurer also argued that, while the
taxes for six of the seven adjacent parcels were technically
paid, they remained delinquent so long as the taxes relative
to the parcel that the building valuation was associated with
were unpaid. The Treasurer supported its motion, in part,
with an affidavit from the Chief Deputy Auditor of Real
Estate for the Lorain County Auditor's Office. He averred
that the market value of the building that spans the seven
adjacent parcels was assigned to one parcel, and that:
[i]t is standard procedure for the Lorain County Auditor to
apply the entire market building value to one parcel of an
economic unit because it is impossible to determine separate
parcel specific values for one large building that is built
across multiple parcels.
In response, the Barricklows challenged the affidavit of the
Chief Deputy Auditor, arguing that there was no indication
that he had the expertise to opine on the matter. They also
argued that the Treasurer was not entitled to summary
judgment as to all of the parcels because they had paid the
delinquent taxes on all but one parcel.
The trial court's judgment entry indicates that it did
not rule on the Treasurer's motion for summary judgment.
Rather, it sua sponte dismissed the Treasurer's complaint
without prejudice, concluding that - based upon the facts
alleged - the Treasurer could not prevail upon its complaint.