Medina County Courthouse

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ninth District Opinions from Lorain County for May 13, 2013

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Appellate District released two opinions that were decisions from appeals filed from the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. One decision was a criminal case and the other was a civil case. 

The criminal case was State v. Seymour, 2013-Ohio-1936. Mr. Seymour raised two assignments of error. The first was that the verdict was based on insufficient evidence and the second was that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Both assignments were rejected and the trial court was affirmed. 

The civil case was Miller v. Community Health Partners, 2013-Ohio-1935. This decision concerned a employee of Community Health Partners who filed a claim for worker's compensation. 

Initially Ms. Miller filed a claim for a injury to her back that she received while working. The Industrial Commission allowed the claim. Community Health Partners appealed the Commission's ruling.  While the employer's appeal to the Common Pleas Court was pending, Ms. Miller filed a motion to have her back injury claim modified to include psychological issues allegedly caused by the back injury. The Industrial Commission allowed the claim for the psychological injury and Community Health Partners did not file an appeal of that decision. 

Ms. Miller argued in the Common Pleas Court that since her employer did not appeal the decision allowing the psychological claim, and since that claim arose out of the back injury, the employer was now bound by the rule of res judicata regarding its appeal of her back injury claim. The Common Pleas Court agreed with her and granted summary judgment against Community Health Partners. It held that under the doctrine of res judicata Community Health Partners could not re-litigate Ms. Miller's back injury. 

In its opinion the Court of Appeals pointed out that the term res judicata in Ohio includes both issue preclusion (collateral estoppal) and claim preclusion. Since the employer never had an opportunity to litigate the back injury, the doctrine of res judicata didn't apply, no matter if it was used to preclude issues or preclude claims. The Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment in favor of Ms. Miller and remanded the case for further proceedings. 

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