August, 2023– After four years of litigation, Beverly Adams secured a defense verdict in Jennifer Bognar, et al. v. State Farm Insurance, et al in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. The trial was on liability with the question of whether the traffic light was yellow or had already turned red. Plaintiff was making a left-hand turn. Defendant admitted to exceeding the speed limit to make the light resulting in a T-bone impact. Both vehicles were totaled. Plaintiff claimed concussion/post-concussion syndrome and four years of treatment at MetroHealth, inability to work, permanency, etc. However, the Defendant was found not negligent.
Greg Collins (Akron) and David Lester (Cleveland) recently obtained summary judgment for the Surety under a substantial Performance Bond, where the project Owner failed to comply with notice conditions of the Bond. The case is Warren Roofing & Insulating Co. v. St. Noel Parish, Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 21CV001388. The Bond required notice to the Surety of potential and actual defaults, and an agreement to pay the balance of the contract price.
Instead of complying with these requirements, the Owner unilaterally declared the Contractor in default, and entered into new contracts to repair and complete the work. The court agreed with the Surety that the Owner’s compliance with the Bond’s requirements was a condition precedent to the Surety’s obligation, the breach of which precluded recovery under the Bond.
CRUG regularly represents bond issuers in such disputes. Contact Greg or David with questions about the case or representation.
July 13, 2023 – Collins, Roche, Utley & Garner and its partner, Kurt Anderson, successfully secured the dismissal of a legal malpractice lawsuit because the plaintiff’s attorney failed to timely secure service of process upon the defendant client.
In Michael Mellon v. Aaron A. O’Brien, Esq., et al., 2023-Ohio-2393, the 8th District Court of agreed that the plaintiff, Michael Mellon, never properly commenced the malpractice suit against his former attorney, Aaron O’Brien, because Mellon’s attorney admittedly failed to obtain proper service of summons upon O’Brien within one year of filing the suit, as required by statute. Although the certified mail summons was never delivered, O’Brien had coincidentally learned about the suit from an acquaintance who had noted it on the court’s docket. O’Brien retained Anderson, who filed an answer asserting the defense of failure of service. Despite the answer, and despite notice from the clerk of courts that certified mail service had not been returned, Mellon’s counsel made no further efforts at service. Once the 1-year statutory deadline for service passed, Anderson requested that the suit be dismissed. Because service was never perfected, and because both the original statute of limitations and the Ohio Savings Statute had both expired, the trial judge agreed that the filed lawsuit never properly initiated and could not be resurrected in any way. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal, finding that O’Brien’s participation in the lawsuit did not waive service because O’Brien’s answer preserved the defense from the outset. Nice win that highlights the importance of always preserving the defense of failure of service (or any other 12(B) defense), especially if there are additional grounds that could be asserted as an early 12(B) motion to dismiss.
July 12, 2023–Ohio Supreme Court finds that assault and battery exclusion bars coverage despite NGBRI finding today, in Krewina v. United Specialty Ins. Co., 2023-Ohio-2343, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued a unanimous judgment that an assault and battery exclusion bars coverage for a knife attack by an assailant who was criminally adjudged not guilty by reason of insanity (NGBRI) for the attack. The decision can be found at: https://lnkd.in/gsBBmV5C Richard M. Garner was pleased to lead the appellate team for the prevailing insurer and was supported by excellent amici counsel for OII, OACTA and Western Reserve. The decision is short and simple. A civil assault occurred and the exclusion bars coverage. Importantly, at Para. 6 of the decision, the majority holds that the “subjective intent of the person who committed the assault or battery is irrelevant”. This solidifies the “subject matter” nature of the exclusion and brings stability and predictability to similarly-worded exclusions. Despite being a politically and socially diverse court, six Justices joined the majority opinion and the remaining Justice concurred in judgment. A clean sweep. On a personal note, our friend and colleague Jeff Maynard masterfully handled much of the trial court proceedings for us. This was his last active case with us. Jeff was tragically killed in a car accident in 2020.
February 2, 2023–CRUG Partner, Patrick M. Roche obtained a defense verdict in a Mahoning County trial this week. Pat represented the owner of a 6-unit residential building. The Plaintiff was a tenant who sued the owner for negligence that allegedly enabled the unlawful entry of a third party associated with another tenant. The intoxicated intruder broke into plaintiff’s unit but did not physically harm plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged PTSD. The jury verdict was in favor of CRUG’s client, the landlord, as well as the property management company.
CRUG Law is proud to announce that 10 attorneys are honored as 2023 Ohio and Kentucky Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Super Lawyers® is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. See https://www.superlawyers.com/ohio/toplists/
Annually, Super Lawyers® recognizes the top lawyers in Ohio via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Ohio lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Ohio Super Lawyers Top Lists. Browse the Ohio Top Lists below to ensure you are selecting the “best of the best” attorney https://www.superlawyers.com/ohio/toplists/
CRUG rings in the new year with the announcement that Kurt Anderson has been promoted to Partner January 1, 2023. Kurt is a certified insurance coverage specialist with over 30 years of experience. He is also a former President of the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA). Outside the firm, Kurt works to support and lead the annual Rotary Tour for MESA, a week-long cycling tour within Ohio’s Rotary District 6600 which aims at raising funds and supplying medical equipment and supplies to those in need around the world.
Cleveland, Ohio 44145
Akron, Ohio 44311