First Friday District Roundup – 4/29

Sycamore Township vs. Alice Carr, et. al & Dr. Parneet Sohi
Quote from Judge Bergeron:
In this zoning dispute, the trial court granted an order enforcing a settlement agreement between the parties. On appeal, defendant-appellant Dr. Parneet S. Sohi insists that the trial court should not have granted the motion to enforce without joining his former attorneys to the action (who received fees per the agreement). He also challenges the trial court’s decision granting his attorneys’ motion to withdraw as counsel. We, however, overrule Dr. Sohi’s assignments of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Defendant-appellant waived his argument that his former attorneys should have been joined to a motion to enforce a settlement agreement where those attorneys were entitled to fees under the agreement by failing to raise the issue in the trial court. 
                                         The trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing defendant-appellant’s attorneys to withdraw as counsel when they provided defendant-appellant with notice of their intention to withdraw, informed him of the deadline to file his response to the motion to enforce, negotiated with opposing counsel to obtain an extension of time to respond, and encouraged him to obtain new counsel.

State of Ohio vs. Troy Evenson
C-210373 / C-210372
Quote from Judge Bock:
In August 2018, a representative from Evans Landscaping (“Evans”), contacted Cincinnati police and reported a stolen large piece of equipment (“skid steer”), which had a tracking device on it.
About one week later, Evans informed Cincinnati Police Detective Mike Winstead that it had received a signal from the tracking device, which reflected that the skid steer was at 9333 Brehm Road in Colerain Township (“the property”). Winstead verified that the tracking device had “pinged” from the property. Winstead went to the property to conduct a “knock and = talk” to find out why the tracking device on a stolen skid steer was pinging from there.

The trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to dismiss where credible, competent evidence supported that, prior to obtaining the search warrant, a detective conducted a “knock and talk” at the residence to find out why the tracking device on stolen equipment would be “pinging” from defendant’s property and, after no one responded at the home, walked along the driveway of the property—which led to the three storage buildings on the property—to find someone to speak to about the signal: Because the driveway is open to the public and it is not a part of the curtilage, and the detective had a right to be on the property pursuant to the investigation of the stolen equipment, the detective’s observation from the driveway of “fresh track marks that would be made by a track-type vehicle similar to what had been described as stolen” leading to the inside of the building was not in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Where the record reflected that there was no “no trespassing” sign posted on the property, and neither the property, nor the storage buildings, were enclosed by a fence or some other means intended to shield the property from public view or government surveillance, there was no reasonable expectation of privacy for the property.
The report of the tracking device pinging from defendant’s property—which was confirmed by law enforcement to belong to defendant—and the report of the tracks that were discovered by a detective during the “knock and talk” provided a substantial basis to believe that there was a fair probability that the stolen equipment would be found on defendant’s property, which established sufficient probable cause to obtain a search warrant.

Richard Bothwick vs. Dept. of Bldg. & Inspections, et. al
Quote from Judge Bock:
Borthwick owns a house located at 1727 Montrose Street (“house”) in Cincinnati, Ohio. In April 2021, the house caught fire. Later that day, the city defendants began demolishing the house.
Borthwick quickly filed a “Stay of Demolition[,] Demand for Monetary Relief.” Borthwick sought $750,000 “for stress, legal fees, and emotional turmoil caused over the last 12 years,” “relief from multiple citations by litter and high weed ordinances,” “[r]eturn of funds associated with towing of his vehicle from a defunct bus stop where others are allowed to park,” “[r]estitution for the discrimination by Officer (G?) Gibson,” and “to acquire (land bank lands) that are lands next to adjoining properties.”
Days later, the trial court held a preliminary injunction hearing with the consent of the parties. Borthwick and the city defendants presented evidence to the court. Following the hearing, the trial court denied injunctive relief because Borthwick was unlikely to succeed on the merits, his harm was not “irreparable,” third parties would be harmed, and the public interest weighed against issuing a temporary injunction. In the same entry, the trial court “terminated” his claims for damages because Borthwick “no longer has any viable causes of action.”

The trial court’s sua sponte dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint was proper where the plaintiff plainly failed to allege facts in support of his claims for malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and racial discrimination.

State of Ohio vs. Dearrius Hampton
Quote from Judge Bergeron:
Mr. Hampton first caught the eye of a police officer who was part of the Regional Narcotics Unit task force while driving a silver Dodge Charger on southbound I-75 allegedly at a rate of speed slower than the surrounding traffic. As Mr. Hampton passed by him, the officer noticed the car’s heavily-tinted windows and Tennessee license plates. Based on those initial observations, and knowing that the out-of-state plates prevented him from stopping Mr. Hampton for a window-tint violation, the officer pulled out and followed the vehicle to scrutinize his driving habits.
By the time the officer caught up to Mr. Hampton, the Charger was purportedly tailgating the vehicle in front of it. Mr. Hampton changed lanes and began similarly following a second car at a distance that the officer believed unsafe for the conditions. According to the investigative report, at this point, the officer queried the Tennessee license plate, ascertained that the vehicle was a rental, and decided to stop Mr. Hampton for tailgating because rental companies do not (in his experience) tint their car windows and he hoped to find evidence of drug trafficking.
Where competent and credible evidence existed upon which the trial court could conclude that no objectively reasonable officer would have believed defendant was following the vehicle in front of him more closely than was reasonable and prudent, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant’s motion to suppress evidence recovered after a traffic stop.

Lawrence E. Meehan vs. John H. Mardis, et. al
Quote from Judge Crouse:
This case arose out of a dispute between former business partners Lawrence Meehan and John Mardis, who co-owned Mardis and Meehan Construction, Inc., (“MMCI”). Meehan accused Mardis of conspiring with a third person, Lonnie G. Horn, to divert MMCI money and property to Horn and his company Artistic Tile and Marble, L.L.C. The trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Mardis and Horn. This court partially reversed and remanded the cause on October 4, 2019. See Meehan v. Mardis, 2019-Ohio-4075, 146 N.E.3d 1266 (1st Dist.) (“Meehan I”). As relevant to the present appeal, this court held, “[I]n his complaint, Meehan does not allege conversion by Horn. He only alleges conversion by Mardis. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in granting partial summary judgment in favor of Horn on that claim.” Id. at ¶ 44.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend his complaint where the motion was not timely filed and plaintiff offered no rationale justifying the delay.