Medina County Courthouse

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fired Brunswick Fire Captain Wins Appeal, New Trial Ordered

On Monday, October 17, 2011 the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Judicial District, which hears appeals from trial courts in Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne Counties reversed a decision of Judge Kimbler's and remanded the case back to the Medina County Common Pleas Court. The case involved Harry Caudill, a former fire captain in the Brunswick Fire Department, who was fired by the City in 2005. In an earlier proceeding Judge Kimbler had sent the case back to Brunswick for a re-hearing of the City's decision to fire Caudill. The City conducted another hearing and again found that Caudill should be fired.

Caudill appealed that decision to the Medina County Court of Common Pleas and Judge Kimbler held that the City's decision should be reviewed as an administrative appeal under Chapter 2906 of the Ohio Revised Code. The Court of Appeals, however, decided that the case should be handled under Chapter 124 and Chapter 119 of the Revised Code. The difference is substantial. Under the reasoning of the Court of Appeals Mr. Caudill is entitled to a full hearing as opposed to the procedure used by Judge Kimbler in which he reviewed the transcripts of the hearing held by the City.

When the case is remanded back to the Common Pleas Court, Mr. Caudill will have the opportunity to call witnesses in support of his position and to cross-examine the witnesses called by the City. At that hearing the Common Pleas Court will not be under any obligation to give any deference to the City's decision to fire Mr. Caudill. Under the reasoning adopted by Judge Kimbler, the Court was to give deference to the City's decision unless the Court found that the decision was not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence or unless the Court found that the firing was illegal, arbitrary, capricious or unconstitutional.

The City of Brunswick has the opportunity to appeal the Appeals Court's decision. Such a notice of appeal must be filed within 45 days of the October 17, 2011 decision.

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