Elsass v. Tabler, No. 98AP-837.

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Writing for the CourtKENNEDY.
Citation131 Ohio App.3d 66,721 NE 2d 503
PartiesELSASS, Appellant, v. TABLER, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 98AP-837.
Decision Date25 March 1999

131 Ohio App.3d 66
721 NE 2d 503

ELSASS, Appellant,
v.
TABLER, Appellee

No. 98AP-837.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District, Franklin County.

Decided March 25, 1999.


131 Ohio App.3d 67
Tobias H. Elsass, pro se.

Cloppert, Portman, Sauter, Latanick & Foley and Robert L. Washburn, for appellee.

KENNEDY, Judge.

Tobias H. Elsass, plaintiff-appellant, appeals the judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, granting summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Evalena Tabler.

In 1989, appellant helped prepare a will for appellee's father. Appellee's father died on March 6, 1991, and, during the administration of the estate, appellant served as the attorney for Watson Mayle, Executor of the estate. In May 1997, appellee wrote a letter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio, stating that "I have reason to believe that [appellant] has taken

131 Ohio App.3d 68
advantage of my father's old age and his mental and physical conditions for his own personal financial gain."

Appellee further stated:

"I know that my father did not have the mental ability to prepare this will and he did not have the ability to comprehend what was written for his signature to be added to. What has occurred is dad had been influenced by my brother Watson Mayle with the legal advice of [appellant]."

Appellee then listed in the letter the reasons supporting her belief that appellant had taken advantage of her father. Appellee concluded her letter by stating: "I am asking that [appellant] be investigated in the manner in which he handled the affairs of the estate of my father, Dycle E. Mayle, who he was hired to represent." In June 1997, appellee's grievance was transferred from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to the Columbus Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee for an investigation of appellant's conduct.

On July 16, 1997, appellant filed a complaint against appellee, alleging that he was slandered by appellee. Appellant states in his complaint:

"[Appellee] negligently, knowingly and falsely, with an intent to defame and slander [appellant], communicated to third parties including the Columbus Bar Association and others, defamatory and slanderous information which she knew to be false and which she caused to be published, spoken and written with knowledge that the statements were false and the information was not complete or correct."

Appellant's complaint included a request for $500,000 in damages from appellee.

On October 28, 1997, the Columbus Bar Association filed an amended complaint against appellant with the Board of Commissioners on Grievance and Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio. The amended complaint included appellee's allegation that appellant "had engaged in professional misconduct with respect to his preparation of a will for [appellee's] father and the subsequent representation of the estate of the father." The amended complaint also alleged that appellant violated DR 7-102(A)(1) by "filing a suit, asserting a position or taking action knowing that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another."

Appellee filed a motion to dismiss appellant's defamation complaint pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B)(6). The trial court converted the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment on November 7, 1997. On June 5, 1998, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of appellee, finding that the "evidentiary materials before the Court show that the conduct of [appellee] * * * is within the scope of an absolute privilege."

131 Ohio App.3d 69
Appellant appeals this decision and presents two assignments of error, as follows

"I. The trial court erred in dismissing the action pursuant to Rule 56.

"II. The trial court erred in determining that the statements of defendant Evalena Tabler were reasonably related to the...

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4 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...188 Neb. 176, 195 N.W.2d 506 (1972); Weiner v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 (1968); Elsass v. Tabler, 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 721 N.E.2d 503 (1999); McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 (Tex. Civ. App. Houston 14th Dist. 1970). Complaints filed with a state bar committe......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...188 Neb. 176, 195 N.W.2d 506 (1972); Weiner v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 (1968); Elsass v. Tabler, 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 721 N.E.2d 503 (1999); McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 (Tex. Civ. App. Houston 14th Dist. 1970). Complaints filed with a state bar committe......
  • Shestul v. Moeser, No. CIV.A. 2:04CV492.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • November 15, 2004
    ...which NCBE forwarded to the Michigan Board of Bar Examiners in connection with an application to the Michigan bar); Elsass v. Tabler, 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 721 N.E.2d 503, 505-07 (1999) (holding that statements made in a letter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohi......
  • Wilson v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 2009 Ohio 16 (Ohio App. 1/6/2009), No. 08-COA-017.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • January 6, 2009
    ...error. {¶34} Appellants contend that appellee slandered their credit history. Slander is a form of defamation. Elsass v. Tabler (1996), 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 72 N.E.2d 503. "Defamation is a false publication causing injury to a person's reputation, or exposing him to public hatred, conte......
2 cases
  • Shestul v. Moeser, No. CIV.A. 2:04CV492.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • November 15, 2004
    ...which NCBE forwarded to the Michigan Board of Bar Examiners in connection with an application to the Michigan bar); Elsass v. Tabler, 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 721 N.E.2d 503, 505-07 (1999) (holding that statements made in a letter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohi......
  • Wilson v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 2009 Ohio 16 (Ohio App. 1/6/2009), No. 08-COA-017.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • January 6, 2009
    ...error. {¶34} Appellants contend that appellee slandered their credit history. Slander is a form of defamation. Elsass v. Tabler (1996), 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 72 N.E.2d 503. "Defamation is a false publication causing injury to a person's reputation, or exposing him to public hatred, contempt, ......

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