FE&D Action Requires Testimony
In a decision rendered on September 1, 2020, the 10th District Court of Appeals held in T & R Properties, Inc. v Traci Wimberly, No. 19AP-567, that when the defendant in a forcible entry and detainer action fails to appear, R.C. 1923.07 requires the municipal court to try the case as though the defendant was present. The Court found that Civ. R. 43 applies to forcible entry and detainer actions and requires that testimony be given in open court, unless an exception applies.
The decision overruled Oakbrook Realty Corp. v. Blout, 48 Ohio App.3d 69, 548 N.E.2d 305 (10th Dist.1988), to the extent it has been interpreted as permitting the municipal court to grant judgment on a forcible entry and detainer claim relying solely on statements contained in an affidavit without any testimony being offered in open court.
Lawyers representing either side in FE&D actions will want to read this decision. It provides extensive analysis of Civ.R. 43 and its applicability to forcible entry and detainer actions.
Misstatement in Application Can Void Policy
In a 6-0 decision the Ohio Supreme Court in Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Pusser, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-2778 held that the company’s warning that “making a misstatement in the application could result in cancelling the policy” was sufficient to void the policy ab initio. The Court reversed the 7th District Court of Appeals holding that the phrase “could void the policy” was too ambiguous to decline coverage and held that the “nonmandatory nature” of the word “could” does not change the fact that the company warned a misstatement in the application voids the policy from the beginning.
This decision highlights the importance of heeding the warnings on policy applications to avoid any misstatements in completing the form.