Ohio courts have typically determined that denials of motions to dismiss on personal jurisdiction grounds are not final appealable orders per Ohio Revised Code Section 2505.02. In an atypical, and important, opinion, the Twelfth District in Huegemann v. VanBakel, 2014 Ohio 1888 (12th Appellate Dist. May 5, 2014) determined that such an order is a final appealable order under the "provisional remedy" category set forth in R.C. 2505.02(B)(4). This case involved parties in Ohio and Germany, but is instructive for any Ohio defendant whose personal jurisdiction motion has been dismissed and circumstances justify pursuing an immediate appeal.
In crafting its opinion, the Court first adopted the definition established by the Court in State v. Anderson, 138 Ohio St.3d 264, 2014-Ohio-542, ¶ 42:
[I]n order to qualify as a final, appealable order under R.C. 2505.02(B)(4), three requirements must be satisfied: (1) the order must grant or deny a provisional remedy as that term is defined in the statute, (2) the order must in effect determine the action with respect to the provisional remedy, and (3) the appealing party would not be afforded a meaningful review of the decision if that party had to wait for final judgment as to all proceedings in the action. Upshaw, 110 Ohio St.3d 189, 2006-Ohio-4253, 852 N.E.2d 711, ¶ 15, citing [State v.] Muncie, 91 Ohio St.3d  at 446, * * * [2001-Ohio-93 (2001)].
Huegemann at ¶19.
It then mixed in O.R.C. 2505.02(A)(3)’s definition of “"provisional remedy" as meaning "a proceeding ancillary to an action[.]" "[F]or purposes of R.C. 2505.02(A)(3)'s definition, `[a]n ancillary proceeding is one that is attendant upon or aids another proceeding.'" State v. Muncie, 91 Ohio St.3d 440, 449 (2001), quoting Bishop v. Dresser Industries, 134 Ohio App.3d 321, 324, 730 N.E.2d 1079 (1999). "An ancillary proceeding is an `ancillary suit,' Black's Law Dictionary 101 (9th Ed.2009), i.e., `[a]n action, either at law or in equity, that grows out of and is auxiliary to another suit and is filed to aid the primary suit, to enforce a prior judgment, or to impeach a prior decree.' Id. at 1572." Muncie.” Huegemann at ¶20.
The Court then concluded that “a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is an "ancillary proceeding." … Appellants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction "grows out" of the Huegemanns' action against appellants and the other parties they named as defendants in this action, and their motion to dismiss "is certainly `attendant' upon the underlying [action] because it is `consequent; concomitant; associated; [and] related' to the [action]." … Consequently, appellant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction qualifies as a "provisional remedy" under the first prong of the test set forth in R.C. 2505.02(B)(4) and Anderson.” Huegemann at ¶21 (internal citations omitted).
With respect to the other two prongs of the Anderson test, the Court found that:
- The second prong of the provisional remedy analysis is also satisfied in this case since the trial court's order denying appellants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, in effect, determines the action with respect to the provisional remedy, because it permits the Huegemanns to proceed with their action against appellants.
- The third and final prong of the provisional remedy analysis is met “ because forcing appellants to wait to appeal until final judgment is entered as to all proceedings in the action will deny them "a meaningful or effective remedy" by way of an appeal following final judgment as the “litigation costs and delay … that appellants undoubtedly will experience should they ultimately prevail in the litigation are sufficient to establish the absence of a meaningful and effective remedy for purposes of R.C. 2505.02(B)(4)(b).
Huegemann at ¶¶22-24.
Huegemann is a clear departure from established Ohio appellate jurisprudence. While the analysis is sound and the outcome just, as with many new appellate theories, this matter must be evaluated by other appellate courts and, ultimately, the Ohio Supreme Court.