Hometown Apts., L.L.C. v. Hoffa

[Cite as Hometown Apts., L.L.C. v. Hoffa, 2022-Ohio-2707.] IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT GREENE COUNTY HOMETOWN APARTMENTS dba : LAUREL SPRINGS APARTMENTS : : Appellate Case No. 2021-CA-43 Plaintiff-Appellant : : Trial Court Case No. CVG2101281 v. : : (Civil Appeal from KENNETH HOFFA (DECEASED), ALL : Municipal Court) OTHERS : : Defendant-Appellee ........... OPINION Rendered on the 5th day of August, 2022. ........... LAURENCE A. LASKY, Atty. Reg. No. 0002939, 3461 Office Park Drive, Kettering, Ohio 45439 Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellant KENNETH HOFFA, 20 Old Yellow Springs Road, Apt. 2, Fairborn, Ohio 45324 Defendant-Appellee, Pro Se ............. DONOVAN, J. -2- {¶ 1} Hometown Apartments, LLC, dba Laurel Springs Apartments (“Laurel Springs”) appeals from a judgment of the Fairborn Municipal Court that denied Laurel Springs’s request for restitution of Kenneth Hoffa’s apartment to Laurel Springs. Hoffa was deceased when the complaint was filed. As such, the complaint was a nullity, and the trial court did not err in denying restitution. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. {¶ 2} Laurel Springs filed a complaint in forcible entry and detainer against “Kenneth Hoffa (Deceased) and all others” on October 19, 2021. Count One of the complaint alleged that Hoffa’s rent was in arrears in the amount of $605, that Laurel Springs had served notice upon Hoffa three or more days before commencing the action to vacate the premises, and that Hoffa “refuses to leave said premises and surrender possession thereof.” Count Two of the complaint requested “a money judgment” in the amount of $605 “plus back rent and damages and all other rent and damages up to and including the time the Defendant vacates the premises.” A copy of the Notice to Leave the Premises was attached to the complaint, along with an affidavit of Pam Chris, the owner and manager of Laurel Springs. {¶ 3} The trial court scheduled a hearing on the complaint before a magistrate on November 3, 2021. At the hearing, counsel for Laurel Springs informed the court that Hoffa was deceased. The following exchange occurred: [THE MAGISTRATE]: * * * I looked at the complaint prior to coming in today * * * and I noticed that – we can’t properly serve the deceased individual as the defendant. So do you have any other additional -3- information that you can provide to – *** [COUNSEL FOR LAUREL SPRINGS]: Your Honor, * * * this is obviously not a case of first impression. As the court knows, under Ohio law, there’s no requirement of personal service on count one of an eviction case. The statute says regarding the notice, quote, it simply says the three- day notice should be left, quote, where the defendant may be found. * * * Number two, regarding service on the eviction component, which is all we’re here for, we’re not seeking a money judgment So it is our position and there’s case law out of three different districts, including Franklin County, and I believe Montgomery County …

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