Summary of Stepp v. Freeman
(119 Ohio App. 3d. 68)
Procedural History: Defendant appeals the trial court’s holding in favor of the plaintiff on the issues of equitable estoppel and implied contract.
Issue: Did an implied contract exist between the two parties?
Holding: Yes, one existed.
- Freeman and Stepp were members of a work group that would put together a lottery pool every time the jackpot rose above 8 million dollars.
- The group was restricted to only 20 members and each member pooled $2.20 into the purse (in order to buy the tickets – 20 in Cincinnati and 20 in Beavercreek, where Freeman bought his half of the tickets)
- Freeman would keep track of who had paid each time, whether it be in advance or if someone had covered another member. Freeman was respected as being in charge of the group and would never dismiss anyone from the group without first talking to the group and then to the person about his or her desires to be in the group
- Freeman often covered other members who were absent from work.
- In the week prior to the group buying the winning lottery ticket, one purchased in Cincinnati, Freeman and Stepp had a falling out – wouldn’t talk to one another or anything.
- When Freeman went around to collect the money (for the winning week), he left out Stepp, did not chip in for him, and told the group members that Stepp was out of the group.
Reasoning: There was an implied contract that there was an implied contract that Stepp, who had been a member of the group for over five years, who never failed to contribute his dues (or had been covered by Freeman), and perform his role with the group when informed that the pool was occurring. Freeman failed to inform Stepp and that resulted in the breach.
Disposition: Trial Court’s Decision was affirmed in favor of Stepp.