(A) No person acquiring a motor vehicle from its owner, whether the owner is a manufacturer, importer, dealer, or any other person, shall acquire any right, title, claim, or interest in or to the motor vehicle until there is issued to the person a certificate of title to the motor vehicle, or there is delivered to the person a manufacturer's or importer's certificate for it, or a certificate of title to it is assigned as authorized by section 4505.032 of the Revised Code; and no waiver or estoppel operates in favor of such person against a person having possession of the certificate of title to, or manufacturer's or importer's certificate for, the motor vehicle, for a valuable consideration.
(B) Subject to division (C) of this section, no court shall recognize the right, title, claim, or interest of any person in or to any motor vehicle sold or disposed of, or mortgaged or encumbered, unless evidenced:
(1) By a certificate of title, an assignment of a certificate of title made under section 4505.032 of the Revised Code, a manufacturer's or importer's certificate, or a certified receipt of title cancellation to an exported motor vehicle issued in accordance with sections 4505.01 to 4505.21 of the Revised Code;
(2) By admission in the pleadings or stipulation of the parties;
(3) In an action by a secured party to enforce a security interest perfected under Chapter 1309. of the Revised Code in accordance with division (A) of section 4505.13 of the Revised Code, by an instrument showing a valid security interest.
(1) As used in division (C) of this section:
(a) "Harm" means damage or other loss.
(b) "Lease agreement" includes a sublease agreement as defined in division (C)(1)(d) of this section.
(c) "Lessee" includes a sublessee under a sublease agreement, but only if the sublessee is a motor vehicle leasing dealer licensed under Chapter 4517. of the Revised Code.
(d) "Sublease agreement" means a lease of a motor vehicle between a motor vehicle leasing dealer licensed under Chapter 4517. of the Revised Code and a second such duly licensed motor vehicle leasing dealer.
(e) "Tort action" means a civil action for damages for harm to a motor vehicle, other than a civil action for damages for a breach of contract or another agreement between persons.
(2) Notwithstanding divisions (A) and (B) of this section, if a motor vehicle that is the subject of a lease agreement sustains harm during the term of that agreement and if all of the following conditions are satisfied, the lessee may commence a tort action in the lessee's own name to recover damages for the harm from the person allegedly responsible for it:
(a) The lessee shall file with and attach to the complaint in the tort action a copy of the lease agreement pursuant to which the lessee is responsible for damage to the motor vehicle, for purposes of establishing the ownership of the motor vehicle and the interest of the lessee in it.
(b) The harm to the motor vehicle shall be such that, under the lease agreement, the lessee bringing the action is legally responsible for the repair of the harm.
(c) The lessee shall cause a copy of the complaint in the tort action to be served upon the owner of the motor vehicle and upon any other lessee of the vehicle in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Effective Date: 10-31-2001