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Craig Wrecking Co. v. S.G. Loewendick & Sons, Inc.

Ohio Court of Appeals
526 N.E.2d 321 (1987)


Facts

Craig Wrecking Co. (plaintiff) leased land to use as a landfill for five years, with an option to renew for another five. Craig did not pay the rent consistently and owed the landowners when the lease ended. But the landowners did not evict Craig and continued accepting late rent payments for almost another five years. Then the landowners told Craig that S.G. Loewendick & Sons, Inc. (defendant) was the new landfill manager but did not tell Craig to vacate the property. Four days later, Loewendick brought in heavy equipment and dumped items into a lake next to the landfill, changing its contour. Craig kept possession of the property another seven months, then bought it. Over a year later, Craig sued Loewendick for trespass to land and personal property. The court entered a directed verdict for Loewendick as to the real property trespass claims, reasoning that the terms of the original lease governed Craig as a holdover tenant. Those terms allowed the landowners to enter peacefully to repossess the property, and the court found that the landowners authorized Loewendick to enter the property as their agent. As for the trespass-to-personal-property claims, the jury found that Craig had not suffered any actual damages as a result of Loewendick dumping the items in the lake. Craig appealed, arguing that it was not a holdover tenant, meaning Ohio landlord-tenant law controlled instead of the original lease. Craig argued that Ohio law required landlords to file eviction proceedings to repossess property without resorting to self-help measures, making Loewendick’s entry a trespass.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Strausbaugh, J.)

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