Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Ninth Appellate District Decisions Released on 3.29.2013
The Ninth District Court of Appeals released 12 opinions on Friday, March 29, 2013. There were two decisions from Medina County appeals, five decisions from Lorain County appeals, and five decisions from Summit County appeals.
The decisions released from Medina County appeals were:
State v. Evans, 2013-Ohio-1216, which involved a petition for post-conviction relief. Mr. Evans appealed from a denial of his petition for post-conviction relief by the trial court. In his petition he claimed that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to call a witness, in failing to use information to impeach the State's witnesses, and in failing to inform him of plea negotiations. At a hearing scheduled on his petition, Mr. Evans failed to produce witnesses that he claimed would support his allegations. The trial court overruled his petition for post-conviction relief. The Court of Appeals applied an abuse of discretion standard to the appeal and affirmed the trial court's ruling.
State v. Schmolz, 2013-Ohio-1220, which involved the issue of whether the trial court erred by allowing the State to amend the indictment during trial. The indictment charged Ms. Schmolz with receiving stolen property. The property was described as a "license plate". During trial the State established that the property was a "temporary license placard". Both kinds of property are covered by R.C. 2913.71(C), which makes theft offenses involving such property felonies of the fifth degree. The Court of Appeals found that the amendment did not change the identity of the offense, which was receiving stolen property, nor the penalty, since theft offenses involving both "license plates" and "temporary license placards" are fifth degree felonies. Therefore the Court of Appeals affirmed Ms. Schmolz's conviction.
The decisions released from Lorain County appeals were:
Billi v. Moyse-Morgan Ents. Inc., 2013-Ohio-1214, which involved an appeal from the granting of a motion for summary judgment. The Plaintiff, who was the appellant, alleged two claims of negligence against the Defendants, who were owners and employees of a bar. The first claim was for negligence and the second was for a violation of Ohio's Dram Shop Act. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's granting of the motion for summary judgment on the negligence claim, but reversed the trial court's granting of the summary judgment motion on the Dram Shop Act claim.
Gargasz v. Lorain Cty., 2013-Ohio-1218, concerned an appeal from a declaratory judgment. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court finding that the trial court's judgment entry did not declare the "rights and responsibilities of the parties". Since the trial court's entry did not make such declarations, the judgment was not a final and appealable order. The trial court's judgment entry was an entry that stated that it was granting the Defendants' motion for summary judgment and denying the Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals held that such an entry did not comply with R.C. R.C. 2721.02(A) which expressly provides that a “declaration has the effect of a final judgment or decree” and that a declaration is “either affirmative or negative in form[.]”
Strickler v. First Ohio Banc & Lending, Inc.,2013-Ohio-1221, which was an interlocutory appeal from an order by the Lorain County Common Pleas Court granting class certification. The Court of Appeals affirmed the class certification made by the Lorain County Common Pleas Court. The class action is based on allegations that First Ohio had failed to provide buyers with disclosure statements that complied with R.C. 1322.062. The class action is directed at First Banc and at the sureties who had issued mortgage broker bonds to First Ohio and its employees. The decision contains a discussion on what the role of a trial court is in determining whether to grant class certification.
Young v. Conry, 2013-Ohio-1223 which was an appeal from a decision of the Lorain County Probate Court granting summary judgment to the defendants in a will contest case. The appellants argued that the Probate Court abused its discretion by enforcing a discovery cut-off date and by granting the summary judgment motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed the actions of the Probate Court regarding both allegations of error.
State v. Zepeda-Ramires, 2013-Ohio-1224 which was an appeal from an order of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court requiring payment of a forfeited bond issued by a bonding company in a criminal case. The Court of Appeals noted that the appellants were objecting to what the appellants called the trial court's failure to comply with the statutory requirements for bond forfeiture. The Court of Appeals also noted that the appellants failed to attend hearings that were scheduled on the State's motion to revoke bond and declare the bond forfeited. Since the appellants could have raised these issues at those hearings, the Court of Appeals considered those issues were forfeited on appeal. If an appellate issue is forfeited, then the Court of Appeals can only review under a "plain error" standard, but, in this case, the appellants did not allege "plain error." Therefore the trial court was affirmed.
The decisions released from Summit County were:
Akron v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 2013-Ohio-1213, which was an appeal from a decision of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas that the City of Akron engaged in an unfair labor practice in its dealings with the Fraternal Order of Police during labor negotiations. The Order represents Akron's police officers. Originally the allegation was heard by the State Employment Relation Board, S.E.R.B., which found that the City had engaged in an unfair labor practice. The Common Pleas Court affirmed the order of the S.E.R.B. on an administrative appeal. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Common Pleas Court.
State v. Castagnola, 2013-Ohio-1215, was an appeal from Mr. Castagnola's convictions for multiple offenses in two separate cases. The offenses were described as "criminal damaging, vandalism, criminal trespass, possession of criminal tools, two counts of retaliation, and multiple forfeiture specifications" in one case and "pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor" in the other case. He was convicted by a jury in the first case and by the trial court in the second case. On appeal he alleged error by the trial court in not suppressing a search and seizure of his computer, by convicting him of the pandering charge on insufficient evidence, by not merging offense, and by imposing consecutive sentences without making required findings. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court on the first two assignments of error, reversed and remanded on the merger issue, and, because his sentence may change following the merger, did not address the assignment of error involving the consecutive sentences.
Flaughers v. Thomas, 2013-Ohio-1217 reversed a decision of the Summit County Probate Court that entered a judgment in favor of the defendants/appellees following a jury trial. The issue on appeal involved whether the trial court erred by not granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the plaintiff-appellant. The appellant argued that the United States Bankruptcy Court had determined that the appellees had embezzled assets from the decedent's estate. The appellant had been appointed the administrator of the estate. The Court of Appeals found that the issue of whether the appellees had embezzled or concealed the estate's assets had been determined by the Bankruptcy Court and that determination was res judicata on the Probate Court. The Court of Appeals held that while the issue of liability had been determined, the issue of damages was not reached by the Bankruptcy Court. It remanded the case to the Probate Court for a determination on that issue.
State v. Lamp, 2013-Ohio-1219 reversed a decision of the Summit County Common Pleas Court which had granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the case on grounds of double jeopardy. Mr. Lamp had been charged with breaking and entering in the Common Pleas Court, a fifth degree felony, and with theft in a municipal court, a first degree misdemeanor. After pleading guilty to the theft charge, he filed the motion for dismissal on double jeopardy grounds. The trial court granted the motion, but the Court of Appeals reversed. The appellate court found that when determining whether there is a double jeopardy violation for successive prosecutions, the trial court must examine the elements of each offense. In this case the trial court did not conduct an examination of the elements of each offense, but focused on whether there was a merger of the two offenses. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded so that the trial court could conduct an examination of the elements to determine if either statute required proof of a fact that the other statute did not require.
Rivers v. Cashland, 2013-Ohio-1225 was an appeal from a decision of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment on several claims raised by the plaintiff-appellant. The claims included disability discrimination, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination, retaliatory discharge for filing a worker's compensation claim, retaliation for making a discrimination complaint, negligent supervision and training, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court on the claims regarding disability discrimination, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination, retaliatory discharge for filing a worker's compensation claim, and negligent supervision and training. It affirmed the trial court on the granting of summary judgment on the issues of retaliation for making a discrimination claim and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case was then remanded for further proceedings.