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Noroski v. Fallet

Ohio Supreme Court
442 N.E.2d 1302 (1982)


Facts

On September 25, 1975, Frank E. Noroski (plaintiff), a civil engineer, and Ervin C. Fallet (defendant) were involved in an auto accident. Noroski suffered property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages as a result. On October 10, 1975, Celina Mutual Insurance Company (Celina), Fallet’s insurer, sent Noroski a check for $454.76 for Noroski’s property damage. Enclosed with the check was a release form for Noroski to sign. Noroski neither cashed the check nor signed the release. On December 31, 1975, Noroski and Celina’s claims adjuster held a telephone conversation. During this conversation, the claims adjuster agreed to pay Noroski an additional $119.10, bringing the total amount paid to $754.40. Noroski agreed during the conversation that the total payment of $754.40 constituted the full and complete settlement for Noroski’s bodily injuries and property damage resulting from the accident. Noroski later incurred additional medical expenses and lost wages. Upon Celina’s refusal to pay, Noroski brought suit against Fallet. Fallet argued the affirmative defense of full and complete settlement of the claim. At trial, Fallet introduced a recording of the December 31 conversation. The trial court found that, although the claims adjuster failed to follow procedure by not stamping the word “Release” on the second check, the telephone conversation constituted an enforceable release of all claims arising from the accident. Judgment was entered for Fallet. The court of appeals affirmed. Noroski appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Dissent (Holmes, J.)

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