Sutton Bank v. Progressive Polymers, LLCAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that a cognovit promissory note signed by debtors was defective, holding that the contract, viewed as a whole, put the debtors on notice of the rights they were relinquishing by signing the note.
Progressive Polymers, LLC and Darin Bay obtained a loan from Sutton Bank secured by a cognovit promissory note. The note included a confession-of-judgment clause containing a warrant of attorney by which Progressive Polymers and Bay agreed that if they defaulted on the note an attorney could confess judgment against them. Sutton Bank later filed a complaint for a cognovit judgment against Progressive Polymers and Bay, alleging default. The trial court ruled in favor of Sutton Bank and issued the cognovit judgment. The court of appeals vacated the cognovit judgment, concluding that the note did not meet the strict requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2323.13(D) and was therefore not a valid cognovit note upon which judgment could be entered. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that although cognovit clauses are construed strictly against those seeking to enforce them, courts must still give effect to the clear intent of the parties when interpreting them.