Ohio Appellate Reports


STEFANOPOULOS v. CLARK, Unpublished Decision (12-18-2006)
Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LINDA J. CLARK,
Defendant-Appellee. No. CA2006-01-006. Court of Appeals of
Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler County. December 18, 2006.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the
COMMON PLEAS, Case No. CV2004-03-2756.

Thomas A. Stefanopoulos, P.O. Box 53466, Cincinnati, Ohio
45253, plaintiff-appellant, pro se.

Young & Alexander Co., L.P.A., Margaret R. Young, Cinamon
S. Houston, 130 West Second Street, Suite 2000, Dayton,
Ohio 45402, for defendant-appellee.



{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Thomas Stefanopoulos,
appeals the decision of the Butler County Court of Common
Pleas, dismissing his personal injury action with
prejudice. We affirm the trial court’s decision.

{¶ 2} On September 7, 2000, appellant was injured in
an automobile collision caused by defendant-appellee, Linda
Clark. He brought suit seeking compensation for his
injuries. On December 16, 2005, appellant settled the
action for $9,000, and signed a “Full, Final and Butler
CA2006-01-006 Complete Release” of his claims against
appellee arising out of the collision. In January 2006, the
trial court filed an entry dismissing appellant’s suit with
prejudice based on the settlement agreement. Appellant
appeals the dismissal.

{¶ 3} Appellant has failed to raise specific
assignments of error as required by App.R. 16. The purpose
behind this rule is “to require the appellant to
specifically identify the error the appellant claims
occurred and the portion of the record that supports the
claim of error.” Cook v. Wilson, 165 Ohio App.3d 202,
2006-Ohio-234, ¶ 15. Courts of appeals “cannot and
will not search the record in order to make arguments on
appellant[‘s] behalf.” Id., quoting Helman v. EPL Prolong,
Inc. (2000), 139 Ohio App.3d 231, 240. The failure to argue
separately assigned errors “is grounds for summary
affirmance.” Id.

{¶ 4} Nevertheless, courts prefer to determine cases
on the merits rather than upon “procedural default.” Id.
Consequently, despite appellant’s failure to follow the
Rules of Appellate procedure, we will consider appellant’s
general contention that the trial court erred by dismissing
the instant matter as an assignment of error.

{¶ 5} Settlement agreements, such as the one
appellant entered into in this case, are contracts designed
to terminate claims and end litigation. Continental West
Condominium Unit Owners Assoc. v. Howard E. Ferguson, Inc.,
74 Ohio St.3d 501, 502, 1996-Ohio-158. They are valid and
enforceable by either party, and may not be unilaterally
repudiated. Mack v. Polson Rubber Co. (1984), 14 Ohio St.3d
34, 36. Appellant admittedly settled his claims against
appellee and executed a full release of his claims against
her. Consequently, the trial court’s dismissal of
appellant’s suit with prejudice does not constitute an
abuse of discretion. See Quonset Hut v. Ford Motor Co.
(1997), 80 Ohio St.3d 46, 47.

{¶ 6} The remaining contentions raised by appellant
relate to evidence and matters outside the trial court
record. They are consequently beyond the scope of our
review. See App.R. 9(A); Middletown v. Allen (1989), 63
Ohio App.3d 443, 448 (evidence cannot be considered as part
of the record on appeal unless it appears in the trial
court record). The assignment of error is overruled.

{¶ 7} Judgment affirmed.

POWELL, P.J., and YOUNG, J., concur.