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Date: 10-09-2019

Case Style:

IN RE: KENDRA O'DELL

Case Number: 5-19-13

Judge: John R. Willamowski

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT HANCOCK COUNTY

Plaintiff's Attorney:

Defendant's Attorney:

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In 2006, Jodi O’dell entered into a structured settlement under which
her daughter, Kendra O’dell (“Kendra”), would receive periodic payments. Doc. 1.
Pursuant to this settlement, Kendra has a payment due in 2022. Doc. 1. In 2018,
Kendra sought to transfer her right to this payment to J.G. Wentworth in exchange
for an immediate lump sum payment. Doc. 1. Prior to the instant case, J.G.
Wentworth, in 2018, filed an application for the approval in advance of transfer of
payment rights as is required under R.C. 2323.581. Doc. 1. This prior application
was denied by the trial court. Doc. 1.
{¶3} Subsequently, on March 20, 2019, J.G. Wentworth filed another
application for the approval in advance of transfer of payment rights pursuant to
ORC 2323.581. Doc. 1. On April 2, 2019, the trial court set a hearing on this
application for May 6, 2019. Doc. 2. On April 12, 2019, the trial court entered an
order that dismissed this matter on the grounds that the trial court “already heard a
similar request and denied it on July 23, 201[8] in case number 20186029.” Doc. 5.

Case No. 5-19-13


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{¶4} The appellant filed its notice of appeal on May 10, 2019. Doc. 6. On
appeal, J.G. Wentworth raises the following two assignments of error:
First Assignment of Error
The trial court committed reversible error when it denied Appellant’s application for approval in advance of transfer of payment rights without a hearing, in violation of Article I, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution.

Second Assignment of Error
The trial court committed reversible error when it denied Appellant’s application for approval in advance of payment rights without a hearing in violation of the Ohio Structured Settlement Protection Act, R.C. 2323.58.

For the sake of analytical clarity, we will consider the second assignment of error
before we consider the first assignment of error.
Second Assignment of Error
{¶5} J.G. Wentworth argues that the trial court failed to hold a timely hearing
on their application as was required under R.C. 2323.584.
Legal Standard
{¶6} R.C. 2323.584 provides the requirements for the transfer of payment
rights under structured settlements and reads, in its relevant part, as follows:
(A) A transferee shall file an application under sections 2323.58 to 2323.585 of the Revised Code for the approval in advance of a transfer of structured settlement payment rights in the probate division of the court of common pleas of the county in which the payee resides, except that if the structured settlement agreement was approved by a court of common pleas or other Ohio state

Case No. 5-19-13


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court, the application shall be filed in the Ohio state court that approved the structured settlement agreement.

(B) The following procedures shall apply to an application for the approval in advance by a court of a transfer of structured settlement payment rights under division (A) of this section:

(1) The court shall hold a timely hearing on the application. The payee shall appear in person at the hearing unless the court determines that good cause exists to excuse the payee from appearing in person.

* * *

(Emphasis added.) R.C. 2323.584.
Legal Analysis
{¶7} In this case, J.G. Wentworth filed an application for the approval in
advance of transfer of payment rights pursuant to R.C. 2323.581 on March 20, 2019.
Doc. 1. Under R.C. 2323.584(B)(1), after such an application is filed, the trial court
“shall hold a timely hearing on the application.” (Emphasis added.) R.C.
2323.584(B)(1). However, the trial court, in this case, did not hold a hearing and
summarily dismissed this application. Doc. 5. In so doing, the trial court erred by
failing to comply with the requirements of R.C. 2323.584(B)(1). Thus, J.G.
Wentworth’s second assignment of error is sustained.
First Assignment of Error
{¶8} J.G. Wentworth argues that the trial court summarily dismissed this
application in violation of its due process rights. However, the resolution of J.G.
Wentworth’s second assignment of error renders the questions raised under this

Case No. 5-19-13


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assignment of error moot. For this reason, this Court declines to address these issues
pursuant to App.R. 12(A)(1)(c).

Outcome: Having found error prejudicial to the appellant in the particulars
assigned and argued, the judgment of the Probate Division of the Hancock County
Court of Common Pleas is reversed. This cause is remanded to the trial court for
further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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