Friday First District Roundup 4-17-20

Each Friday, we highlight decisions of the First District Court of Appeals in the past week. For question about these cases, contact Vanessa Seeger.

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9900 Timbers Dr. Investment LLC v. Nan Li
Case #C190224

Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:

In this eviction action, defendant-appellant Nan Li appeals the trial court’s judgment granting partial summary judgment in favor of the landlord, plaintiff-appellee 9900 Timbers Dr. Investment LLC (“TDI”), and issuing a writ of restitution of the leased premises. Because no genuine issue of material fact remained on TDI’s entitlement to the writ, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

State of Ohio v. Michael Goff
Case # C190093

Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:

After Michael Goff cashed a forged check at First Financial Bank, he was charged with felony theft and forgery. In exchange for Goff’s guilty plea to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft, the state dismissed the forgery charge. The trial court sentenced Goff to 180 days in jail and ordered him to pay restitution to the bank in the amount of the forged check.

Goff now appeals. In a single assignment of error, he argues that the trial court erred by ordering him to pay restitution to the bank because the bank is not a “victim” under R.C. 2929.28(A)(1), the statute that allows a court to order an offender to pay restitution to the victim of a misdemeanor. He contends that a bank that cashes a forged check and then recredits its depositor’s account does not suffer direct economic harm as a result of the offense and therefore is not a “victim” under the statute.

North Side Bank & Trust Company v. Trinity Aviation, LLC, et al., Arlington Heights Recycling, LLC d.b.a. A&A Recycling, Holland Roofing Group, LLC, Induspro, LLC
Case #C190023

Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:

In this high-flying dispute over airplane parts, replete with a failing company, shenanigans with a warehouse full of inventory, and a tortured procedural history, we confront a fairly basic question that vexes first-year law students: did the parties form a contract? Although these sophisticated parties certainly knew how to dress up a contract in more formal attire, here they just sent a few email volleys. This correspondence, however, contained the necessary attributes for contract formation, and we accordingly reverse the trial court’s conclusion to the contrary and remand for further proceedings.

State of Ohio v. Tamara Worlu
Case #C180689

Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:

Defendant-appellant Tamara Worlu was charged with felonious assault after hitting the victim in the face with a hammer, breaking his nose and leaving a three-inch gash above his eye. After considerable back and forth regarding her competence to stand trial, she was ultimately found to be competent, and pled guilty to and was convicted of one count of felonious assault.

Worlu has appealed, arguing in two assignments of error that the trial court erred in accepting her guilty plea because it was not knowingly, voluntarily, or intelligently made, and that the court’s imposition of a five-year prison sentence was not supported by the record and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. For the reasons discussed below, we overrule Worlu’s assignments of error, and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Jun Ma v. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Case #C180610

Quote from Judge Bergeron's Opinion:

This case turns on the meaning of the term “tenure,” a concept that the parties acknowledge is ambiguous on the record before us. Everyone agrees that the plaintiff-appellee, Jun Ma, a PhD researcher working at defendant-appellant Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (“Children’s”) before his termination, received tenure, but no one can agree on exactly what that means. To Children’s, the term is essentially a formality that carries with it little more than prestige. To Dr. Ma, it entitles him to just cause protection from termination, with all the trappings of due process. The trial court granted Dr. Ma’s summary judgment motion for declaratory relief, and it ordered Children’s reinstate him, in addition to other remedies.

With the key contractual term ambiguous, that throws open the door to a consideration of extrinsic evidence. Based on the record before the trial court, we agree that Dr. Ma established an entitlement to declaratory relief that tenure at Children’s means just cause protection from termination, and we accordingly affirm that aspect of the trial court’s decision. But we go no further, and accordingly reverse the balance of the trial court’s judgment, remanding the matter for further proceedings.

State of Ohio v. Ayinde Khamsi, a.k.a. Ayinde Khamisi, Jelani Khamisi, Kimberly Khamisi, Kaia Khamisi
Case #C180434

Quote from Judge Winkler's Opinion:

Defendants-appellants Ayinde Khamsi, a.k.a. Ayinde Khamisi, Jelani Khamisi, Kimberly Khamisi, and Kaia Khamisi (collectively “the Khamisis”) appeal convictions for theft under former R.C. 2913.02(A)(3) and tampering with records under R.C. 2913.42(A)(1). Because they were tried together and have filed nearly identical briefs, we have sua sponte consolidated their appeals. We affirm their convictions.

Evidence presented at a jury trial showed that the Khamisis had engaged in schemes to steal real property from its rightful owners by filing fraudulent documents. The Khamisis justified their actions by claiming that the properties were abandoned and that they were in the process of establishing ownership through adverse possession.