Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

by
Joseph Gorman contracted with James Wilson to purchase a fifteen percent interest in Marine 1, LLC for $300,000. At the time Gorman died, he owed Wilson $187,000 on the contract. The probate court appointed William Lawrence as the executor of Gorman’s estate. The estate’s counsel was Joseph Goldsmith. Wilson’s attorney sent a letter addressed to both Gorman’s personal secretary and the trustee of his trust, purporting to present Wilson’s claim for approximately $200,000 to the executor of Gorman’s estate. The letter was then forwarded to Goldsmith and Lawrence. The trial judge found that the letter was not legally sufficient for presenting Wilson’s claim and granted the estate’s motion for summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Ohio law permits a claim against an estate to be deemed presented when “other individuals connected with the estate receive the claim[.]” The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a claimant against an estate does not meet the mandatory requirement under Ohio Rev. Code 2117.06(A)(1)(a) to present a claim to the executor or administrator of an estate if the claimant delivers the claim to a person not appointed by the probate court, even if that person gives it to the executor or administrator. View "Wilson v. Lawrence" on Justia Law

by
Sarunas Abraitis, the former executor of his mother’s estate, applied to admit his mother’s will to probate. The will provided that if Abraitis’s father predeceased his mother, her entire estate would be divided equally between Abraitis and his brother, Vytautas. The matter was assigned to Judge Laura Gallagher. While the estate was being administered, Vytautas died. Abraitis subsequently filed an application to probate a different, later will that his mother executed and that bequeathed to him the entire estate. Vytautas’s former wife, Vivian, filed a complaint to contest the later will. The action was also assigned to Judge Gallagher. Abraitis filed two actions in prohibition alleging that Judge Gallagher lacked jurisdiction. As grounds for the writ, Abraitis referred to collateral proceedings regarding his mother’s guardianship and federal and state tax proceedings, arguing that because none of the parties objected or moved to intervene in the tax cases, the probate court was precluded from hearing any matter concerning the estate. The court of appeals dismissed Abraitis’s complaints in prohibition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Abraitis had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law and that Judge Gallagher did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction over the probate court action. View "State ex rel. Abraitis v. Gallagher" on Justia Law