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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
Gorslene v. Dept. of Transp. 2016-00708JDNegligence; contributory negligence; bifurcated; liability. Plaintiff brought this negligence action after suffering injuries in an incident involving a state-owned vehicle operated by Defendant’s employee. Plaintiff’s wife also brought a loss of consortium claim. The issues of liability and damages were bifurcated. Defendant owned a vehicle parked on a road construction site where Plaintiff was working. Defendant’s employee tried to move the vehicle to another location near the site, and accidentally backed over Plaintiff, who was kneeling behind the vehicle refilling a box of chalk. The magistrate found that Defendant’s employee failed to exercise proper care under the circumstances. The magistrate concluded that, in a busy, fast-paced work environment, Defendant’s employee had a duty to ensure that nobody was behind the vehicle before backing out. Plaintiff’s behavior did not constitute contributory negligence, as Plaintiff was wearing safety gear, engaged in a normal work duty, and was working in plain sight several feet away from Defendant’s vehicle. The magistrate found Defendant liable for Plaintiff’s injuries.Van Schoyck  11/30/2018 12/10/2018 2018-Ohio-4953
Ventresco v. Ohio State Univ. Wexner Med. Ctr. 2017-00466JDNegligence; liability; duty; open and obvious; causation; comparative negligence; damages; parental consortium; magistrate. Plaintiff brought this negligence action after suffering injuries on Defendant’s premises. Plaintiff’s son also asserted a claim for the loss of parental consortium. Plaintiff suffered a puncture injury to her leg after tripping on a curb and landing on a metal bolt protruding from a mulched area in Defendant’s parking lot. The magistrate found that Defendant owed a duty of care to Plaintiff as an invitee. Plaintiff did not exceed the scope of her invitation by walking through a mulched area of the parking lot, because the area was obviously worn down by pedestrian use and Defendant’s employees walked through the mulched area. Defendant did not breach a duty of care to Plaintiff with respect to the curb, because the danger of the curb should have been open and obvious to the Plaintiff. However, Defendant did breach a duty of care with respect to the protruding bolt, because Defendant knew or should have known it presented a danger. Defendant’s breach of care was a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injury. However, Plaintiff’s comparative negligence warranted a 50 percent reduction of any award for damages. The magistrate determined that Plaintiff was entitled to damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The magistrate also determined Plaintiff’s son was entitled to damages for the loss of parental consortium.Renick  11/30/2018 12/10/2018 2018-Ohio-4955
Acts 17:28 Ministries, Inc. v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2017-00355JDCivil procedure; magistrate; objections; Civ.R. 53; transcript. Plaintiffs brought this action for breach of contract after Defendant terminated a service contract. Following a bench trial, the magistrate found in favor of Defendant. Plaintiffs filed objections to the magistrate’s decision, pursuant to Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(i). Plaintiffs’ objections challenged a factual finding by the magistrate. Civ.R. 53(D)(b)(iii) requires objections to a factual finding to be supported by a transcript or affidavit of evidence. The party filing objections must file the transcript or affidavit within 30 days of filing the objections, unless the court extends time in writing or there is other good cause. In this case, the court did not grant an extension of time to file a transcript or affidavit. Plaintiffs failed to file a transcript or affidavit within 30 days. Because Plaintiffs’ objections concerned factual findings by the magistrate and Plaintiffs did not file a transcript or affidavit, the court overruled the objections. Finding no error in the magistrate’s legal conclusions, the court adopted the magistrate’s decision.McGrath  11/14/2018 12/10/2018 2018-Ohio-4954
Colahan v. Worthington Police Dept. 2018-00928PQRequester sued respondent, alleging a denial of access to public records. A special master issued a report and recommendation, finding, among other things, that the requester had established by clear and convincing evidence that respondent violated R.C. 149.43(B) by withholding certain records in an investigatory file. Respondent objected to the report and recommendation, contending that the special master recommended the disclosure of evidence of an alleged crime. The court sustained two of respondent’s objections. The court adopted in part, rejected in part, and modified in part the special master’s report and recommendation; the court also adopted, as modified, the special master’s report and recommendation.McGrath  10/30/2018 11/14/2018 2018-Ohio-4594
Schuetzman v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2016-00890JDNegligence; contributory negligence; inmate; magistrate; Civ.R. 53; objections. Plaintiff inmate was injured after falling from a step ladder while working as part of a construction crew. Defendant objected to a decision of the magistrate recommending judgment for Plaintiff with a 40 percent reduction in damages for contributory negligence. Defendant objected: (1) the magistrate erred in concluding that Defendant breached a duty of reasonable care to Plaintiff; (2) the magistrate erred by not concluding that Plaintiff’s actions were the sole proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injuries; (3) the magistrate erred by not concluding that Plaintiff’s negligence exceeded any negligence by Defendant; and (4) the magistrate erred by ignoring evidence that Plaintiff commented that the accident was “nobody’s fault.” The court overruled Defendant’s first and second objections because Defendant knowingly allowed Plaintiff to use a step ladder while removing a wall vent of unknown weight. In doing so, Defendant allowed Plaintiff to perform work in a dangerous manner that foreseeably resulted in the Plaintiff’s injuries. The court overruled Defendant’s third objection because the Defendant, as Plaintiff’s supervisor, was in a superior position to prevent Plaintiff from performing work in a risky manner. The court overruled Defendant’s fourth objection because the facts established Defendant’s negligence, regardless of Plaintiff’s opinion. The court adopted the magistrate’s decision and recommendation.McGrath  10/30/2018 12/5/2018 2018-Ohio-4821
Kanter v. Cleveland Hts. 2018-01092PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; ambiguous; overly broad; embedded; moot. Overview: Requester sought all communications, schedules, logs and other documents shared between respondent City and a media organization regarding the requester over a period of five weeks. The City objected to the request as ambiguous and overly broad, but provided some information and invited revision. The special master found that the City provided responsive records to a specific request embedded within the request, and that the remainder of the request was properly denied as ambiguous and overly broad.Clark  10/23/2018 11/14/2018 2018-Ohio-4592
Lloyd v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2014-00844JDNegligence; bifurcated; damages; inmate; magistrate; Civ.R. 53. Plaintiff sought to recover damages for injuries to two fingers. Defendant was previously found liable for the injuries. Plaintiff is an inmate at a correctional facility. Plaintiff’s fingers were injured when a dormitory window fell shut on Plaintiff’s hand. The magistrate found that Plaintiff suffered physical pain, as well as distress and anxiety at the possibility of losing a finger. The magistrate also found that Plaintiff was unable to work for one week due to the injury. However, Plaintiff did not prove that long-term, permanent symptoms were caused by the accident with the window because: (1) the long-term symptoms described by Plaintiff were too difficult for a layperson to understand without supporting expert medical testimony; and (2) the Plaintiff suffered injuries to the same hand in a separate incident. The magistrate recommended the Plaintiff receive damages for past pain and suffering, lost wages, and the filing fee.Van Schoyck  10/22/2018 12/5/2018 2018-Ohio-4820
Narciso v. Powell Police Dept. 2018-01195PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; incident report; investigatory; work product; uncharged; suspect; incorporated; safety; privacy; non-record; burden of proof; inextricably; intertwined. Overview: Requester sought police investigative file. Police department provided a partial incident report and conceded the investigation had concluded, but asserted that all remaining records were “inextricably intertwined” with the identity of an uncharged suspect, and that some of the records would endanger the physical safety of crime victims or witnesses, or violate a constitutional right of privacy, or were non-records. The special master found that the department must release additional parts of the initial incident reports, including documents incorporated by reference. The special master found that the investigatory file contained specific items of information that if released would have a high probability of disclosing the identity of an uncharged suspect. The special master further found that Powell PD provided no evidence that disclosure of any record would endanger the life or physical safety of a crime victim or witness. The special master further found that social security numbers and images of genitals, breasts and underwear were subject to a Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy and may be redacted from the records. The special master further found that to the extent the contents of storage devices obtained in the investigation were not actually used to document the investigation, they were not “records” of the department and thus not subject to the Public Records Act. The special master further found that the department could redact information excepted by R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(dd) and R.C. 1306.23. Other than two particular records, the special master found that none of the excepted information was “inextricably intertwined” with the records in which they were contained. The special master found that the department had improperly sought to transfer its duty to redact only exempt information from its records onto the court. The special master recommended the court grant requester’s claim for production of records, subject to the specific redactions approved in the report.Clark  10/22/2018 11/14/2018 2018-Ohio-4590
Slattery v. Cleveland 2018-01160PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; reasonable period of time. Overview: Requester sought and received records from respondent, but argued that the 277-day delay between the request and the response was untimely. The special master found that respondent had failed to provide the records within a reasonable period of time. The special master recommended that the court deny requester’s prayer “to correct this issue going forward” for lack of injunctive authority under R.C. 2743.75.Clark  10/19/2018 11/14/2018 2018-Ohio-4591
Anderson v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth. 2018-00593PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; reasonable period of time. Overview: Requester sought and received records from respondent, but argued that 23 business days between the request and full response was untimely. The special master found that under the facts and circumstances of the case, respondent had provided the records within a reasonable period of time. Neither party filed objections. Outcome: The court found no error of law or other defect on the face of the special master’s decision and adopted the report and recommendation as its own.McGrath  10/19/2018 11/14/2018 2018-Ohio-4596