First District Friday Roundup (9/16)

Russell M. Cook v. Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, City of Cincinnati, Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Ohio, John Doe Entities
Quote from Judge Myers:
Cook filed a complaint against MSD, the city, and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners seeking to recover for damage to his property caused by sewage flooding from MSD’s sewer system. The complaint alleged that in November 2017, MSD attempted to abate the sewage flooding in and onto his property, and that as part of the abatement activities, MSD agreed to place a backflow valve to prevent future flooding. According to the complaint, MSD failed to install the backflow valve, and extensive damage was caused to Cook’s property when a second flood occurred.
MSD filed a Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss, arguing that it is a subdivision of a municipal corporation that lacked the legal capacity to be sued and, consequently, that the complaint failed to state a claim against MSD upon which relief could be granted. Cook filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion to dismiss.
The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, stating that “there is evidence that MSD has a history of involvement in legal actions in this jurisdiction refuting the stance that MSD does not have the legal capacity to sue or be sued” and finding that “MSD has the legal capacity to be sued.” The trial court additionally undertook a political-subdivision-immunity analysis in its entry, despite the fact that the parties had not raised the issue of immunity.

Pursuant to R.C. 2744.02(C), an order denying a political subdivision the benefit of immunity from liability is a final appealable order. 
The trial court erred in sua sponte determining that defendant the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati was not immune from liability without giving the parties an opportunity to address the issue.
Where a trial court’s judgment denying a motion to dismiss is immediately appealable pursuant to R.C. 2744.02(C), an appellate court’s review is limited to alleged errors involving the denial of immunity. 

State of Ohio v. Antoine James
Quote from Judge Bergeron:
The facts giving rise to this case occurred on New Year’s Day 2021, when Mr. James and his cousin, William Chappell, attended a family get-together at another cousin’s house. The family gathered in the home to finish a keg of beer left over from an earlier gathering while watching some college football. Six of the family members, including Mr. Chappell and Mr. James, played a game of cards that ultimately turned the lighthearted celebration into a family feud.
At some point during the card game, Mr. James became convinced that Mr. Chappell was cheating. The tension boiled over when Mr. James grabbed the pot of money from the middle of the table (that he believed rightfully belonged to him) and stormed toward the exit. Before he could leave, another cousin interceded and blocked his path. Mr. Chappell testified that while Mr. James and the other cousin tussled near the front door, he avoided the confrontation and instead went to the dining room to pour himself a beer from the keg. What happened next is a matter of some debate.

            The trial court did not abuse its discretion by limiting cross-examination of the prosecution witness where defendant was not prohibited from engaging in otherwise appropriate cross-examination and the conviction was not against the manifest weight of the evidence where the trial court chose to believe the prosecution witness.