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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
Sheppard v. Ohio Bd. of Regents 2015-01053Motion to dismiss; Civ.R. 12(B)(6); employment discrimination; R.C. 4112.02(A); defamation; negligent supervision; intentional infliction of emotional distress; sexual harassment. The court determined that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to support an inference of discriminatory intent based on race and gender. Further, plaintiff's complaint failed to support a prima facie case of discrimination because plaintiff did not suffer an adverse employment action - she was not an employee of defendant nor did she have a pending application for employment with defendant. Plaintiff's claim of defamation was barred by the one-year statute of limitations. Defendant's motion to dismiss was granted.McGrath  5/24/2016 6/17/2016 2016-Ohio-3477
Keny v. Ohio State Univ. 2013-00711Summary judgment; Civ.R. 56(B); life insurance; employee benefit; collateral estoppel; breach of contract; negligence; economic loss doctrine. The court found that plaintiffs' claims were barred by collateral estoppel because it was necessary for the common pleas court and court of appeals to first determine that the beneficiary designation did not exist before it could conclude that Anthem did not breach its contract. Additionally, plaintiffs' negligence claims were barred by the economic loss doctrine. Summary judgment granted in favor of defendant. Crawford  5/12/2016 6/17/2016 2016-Ohio-3475
Thomas v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2014-00731Inmate; assault; battery; negligence; excessive use of force. The magistrate determined that any force used by defendant's employees on plaintiff was privileged and not excessive. Further, there was no medical records or testimony from medical professionals to substantiate plaintiff's alleged injuries. The magistrate found that plaintiff failed to prove a claim for assault, battery, or negligence based upon his allegations of excessive force. Judgment recommended in favor of defendant.Van Schoyck  5/12/2016 6/17/2016 2016-Ohio-3476
Russell v. Cleveland State Univ. 2013-00138 & 2013-00139Age discrimination. The court found no error in the prior magistrate's decision and recommendation. Initially, the court noted that plaintiffs' objections were too long and exceeded the 15-page limitation pursuant to L.C.C.R. 4(E). Furthermore, the objections did not state with particularity all grounds pursuant to Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(ii). As a result, the court identified three separate objections and ruled on them. With regard to direct evidence of age discrimination, the court held that plaintiffs' statistical evidence was insufficient to establish discriminatory intent. Furthermore, the magistrate properly determined that one plaintiff was a member of a collective bargaining unit and under that agreement, he was not eligible for any of the new positions, and consequently, his claim of age discrimination based on direct evidence failed. With regard to the second plaintiff, the court found that he did not provide any support for the bare allegations that placing a younger employee in a newly created position was direct evidence of age discrimination. While plaintiffs alleged that defendant's agent made discriminatory statements about them, the court found that the agent was only expressing concern that plaintiffs were not keeping with current changes in how a university could best serve its students. Lastly, the court overruled any objections related to indirect evidence and defendant university's legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for reorganization because plaintiffs failed establish how the reorganization decision was not legitimate. Next, the court held that plaintiffs failed provide evidence that defendant's agent made a decision to terminate plaintiffs many weeks prior to the reorganization decision. The court also held that the magistrate properly considered evidence produced at trial when determining that defendant's proposed reasons for termination were not pretexts for age discrimination. Moreover, the court noted that the magistrate properly identified each of the new positions created as a result of the reorganization; noted that one plaintiff interviewed for an open position and was not selected; and the other had the opportunity enter a new position but chose not to. As such, any objections related to pretext were overruled. Lastly, the court found that one plaintiff, with regard to his FMLA retaliation claim, testified that he "put in for" FMLA in early May 2012, but there was no other evidence to support his testimony. The court agreed with the magistrate that the plaintiff contacted a representative to request FMLA leave on August 30, 2012, but then failed to subsequently submit a required medical certification. Furthermore, while his request for FMLA leave and official notice of termination were only five days apart, the termination of his position, based on the evidence, was contemplated for at least four months prior. Consequently, any objections with regard to plaintiff's FMLA rights were overruled. McGrath  5/10/2016 6/29/2016 2016-Ohio-4678
Louscher v. Univ. of Akron 2015-00212Defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent supervision and retention. Plaintiff alleged that defendant university's dean of the college of engineering harassed her, obstructed her work, made false statements about her, and subjected her to humiliation, emotional distress, and mental anguish. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff's defamation claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Defendant further asserted that plaintiff failed to state a claim for both intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring and retention. Construing the evidence most strongly in plaintiff's favor, the court found that the dean made statements about plaintiff on February 12, 2012 and she did not file her claim until March 17, 2015. Consequently, any claims about the dean's statements were barred by the one-year statute of limitations. However, the court also found that defendant was not entitled to summary judgment for any statements the dean made about plaintiff after March 17, 2014. Next, the court found that reasonable minds could reach different conclusions as to whether the dean knew or should have known that his actions would result in serious emotional distress to plaintiff, and whether his conduct was extreme and outrageous. Therefore, defendant was not entitled to summary judgment on the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Lastly, with regard to plaintiff's claim that defendant negligently hired and retained the dean, the court found that plaintiff did not bring forward facts from which a reasonable factfinder could infer that the dean was not competent. Although his actions could be found unprofessional, obstructionist, and adversarial toward plaintiff, the only reasonable conclusion was that he was competent to be a dean of the college of engineering. McGrath  5/3/2016 6/29/2016 2016-Ohio-4679
Smith v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2013-00534Negligence. Plaintiff brought this action for negligence arising out of allegations that, while he was an inmate in the custody and control of defendant, his hand was injured by a corrections officer (CO) and he did not receive timely medical care. The issues of damages and liability were bifurcated. After reviewing the evidence presented at trial, the magistrate adduced that the CO did use force against plaintiff. Next, the magistrate noted that because video evidence did not establish the exact details of what happened, determining the facts required careful consideration and weighing of plaintiff's and the CO's testimony. In that regard, plaintiff offered a more persuasive, direct, and consistent account of what occurred than the CO, whose testimony came across as somewhat evasive or defensive at times. However, plaintiff did not present enough evidence about his claim that defendant failed to provide him with medical treatment until ten days after the incident. Consequently, the magistrate held that plaintiff proved his negligence claim by a preponderance of the evidence as to the CO's use of force, but did not establish any negligence relative to his claim of delayed or untimely medical care.Van Schoyck  4/22/2016 5/25/2016 2016-Ohio-3149
Nnazor v. Cent. State Univ. 2015-00202Breach of contract. Plaintiff asserted that defendant breached his contract of employment when it unilaterally reduced his salary. Specifically, he alleged that he was never informed that if he were no longer a dean, his salary as a tenured professor would be reduced. Defendant argued that plaintiff failed to state a claim for breach of contract. Upon review the court found that plaintiff's employment as a professor was governed by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the policies of which governed his salary. Plaintiff acknowledged that he knew that the CBA would govern his position as a professor when he resigned from the dean position. Consequently, plaintiff failed to identify any contractual provision that defendant breached and as a result, judgment rendered in defendant's favor.McGrath  4/20/2016 5/25/2016 2016-Ohio-3151
Patel v. Univ. of Toledo 2015-00228Breach of contract; unjust enrichment/promissory estoppel; tort claims; breach of fiduciary duty; negligent misrepresentation; fraud; negligence. Plaintiff alleged various claims arising from her enrollment in defendant's Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of nursing program (BSN-DNP). During this time, the BSN-DNP program was pending accreditation by the national accrediting organization for college nursing programs. Defendant contended that plaintiff's rights as a student in the program were contractual in nature and that the contract did not support any of her claims. The court held that plaintiff failed to prove her breach of contract claim, because she was aware that defendant's BSN-DNP program was not accredited and she did not allege that the terms of defendant's handbook, catalog, or other guideline suggested that the program had been accredited before she enrolled or that it would be accredited before she graduated. Because plaintiff's relationship with defendant was contractual and all of her tort claims arose from the same court of events, she could not sustain those claims. Moreover, the relationship between plaintiff and defendant regarding the accreditation status was purely contractual and no fiduciary relationship existed. Next, plaintiff's unjust enrichment/promissory estoppel and negligent representation claims failed because defendant's agent, even if he made promises or comments to plaintiff that the program would be accredited prior to her graduation, had no authority to do so and plaintiff could not have justifiably relied on those comments. Moreover, her fraud claim failed because she did not offer any proof of fraudulent intent on the part of defendant's agent. Lastly, her negligence claim failed because she could not demonstrate tangible harm to herself though she sought to recover economic loss. In sum, the court found that there were no genuine issues of material fact and granted defendant's motion for summary judgmentMcGrath  4/15/2016 5/25/2016 2016-Ohio-3153
Pla v. Cleveland State Univ. 2014-00918Age Discrimination. Considering all the facts and circumstantial evidence, the court found that the evidence presented by plaintiff and defendant was equally balanced. While the court found that defendant's agent's stated reasons may not have been actual reason for his decision to terminate plaintiff. However, it noted that the court was not tasked with determining what was appropriate or reasonable. As such, though plaintiff established that the reasons offered for her termination were likely false, based on the evidence, defendant's agent's decision to terminate plaintiff was not the unlawful result of discriminatory intent. Consequently, plaintiff failed to meet her burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that she was terminated by defendant because of her age.Crawford  4/12/2016 5/25/2016 2016-Ohio-3150
Henton v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2015-00620-ADPlaintiff filed a complaint against defendant alleging that defendant's mailroom procedure prevented him from timely filing documents with the Supreme Court of Ohio, which led him to lose his lawsuit. The clerk found that plaintiff was alleging a claim for denial of access to the courts, a constitutional claim over which the court of claims had no jurisdiction. Consequently, the clerk found that plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and it was denied.Borchert  3/25/2016 7/22/2016 2016-Ohio-5059
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