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The decision by the small claims court meant the issue as to the truck was unresolved. Whether they appealed or not did not make a difference because the claim for replevin was still unresolved and could be brought at any time within the statute of limitations. If the defendant had counterclaims that the small claims court had jurisdiction to hear and the court dismissed those claims with prejudice, then they are barred by res judicata. The claims had to be dismissed with prejudice. If they were not dismissed with prejudice, they are not barred because their was no final adjudication of them on the merits. Dismissal for statute of limitations would be considered final.
Your counterclaims would be permitted so long as they were not required to be filed in the small claims court as part of the case there. Generally, if the claims arose from the same transaction they should have been brought in the small claims court case. If they were not and should have been they will be barred by res judicata because all related claims between the party are to be tried in the same case. If the small claims did not have jurisdiction of the counterclaims because, for example, they exceeded the jurisdictional limit of the court, they are not barred.
This communication is not intended as legal advice. A local attorney should always be consulted for legal advice. No client/attorney relationship is intended or created by this communication.
Here is a site for a case that discusses the things you need to prove to have res judicata.
this case cites a number of relevant case.
The statute of limitations for replevin is 4 years. R.C. 2305.09(B).
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