Friday First District Roundup 5-21-21

Robert Coakley, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation v. Crossroads Community Church, Inc., Crossroads Westside, The Cincinnati Air Conditioning Company, Richard Goodson
Case #C200391
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Raising two assignments of error, plaintiffs-appellants John Heiert, Dana Heiert, and Robert Coakley bring these consolidated appeals to challenge the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in both cases in favor of defendantsappellees Crossroads Community Church, Inc., (“Crossroads”) Crossroads Westside, The Cincinnati Air Conditioning Company (“Cincinnati Air”), and Richard Goodson. For the following reasons, we overrule both assignments of error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.
Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiffs-appellants filed respective complaints against defendantsappellees, alleging claims for negligence and a declaratory judgment.1 The claims arise from a boiler explosion that occurred at the Crossroads Westside campus on January 6, 2016. The explosion occurred while two employees of Blau Mechanical (“Blau”), plaintiffs-appellants John Heiert and Robert Coakley, were working on one of two boilers located at the Crossroads Westside facility. The undisputed cause of the explosion was a jumper wire installed on the boiler’s oil/gas toggle switch. What remains to be known, and what is essential to this case, is who installed the jumper wire that caused the explosion. 


Fifth Third Bank v. Joseph A. Ricci  
Case #C200237 
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
Defendant-appellant Joseph A. Ricci appeals the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to vacate a default judgment. Because Ricci filed two appeals from the same judgment, we dismiss the appeal in the case numbered C200237 as duplicative. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the trial court’s judgment.
In April 2011, plaintiff-appellee Fifth Third Bank filed a complaint against Ricci and attempted service by certified mail, which was subsequently returned unclaimed in August 2011. In June 2011, Fifth Third requested service by a private process server. In July 2011, Fifth Third filed a return of service indicating that Ricci had been personally served. After Ricci failed to respond to the complaint, Fifth Third obtained a default judgment against him in October 2011.
Eight years later, Ricci filed a motion to vacate the default judgment. He attached to his motion an affidavit asserting that he had not been personally served by the process server at the time or location indicated on the return of service, that he was not present at the location at that time, and that it would have been impossible for him to have been present at that location at that time. Fifth Third filed a motion for a hearing to assess the credibility of Ricci’s assertions, but the trial court denied Ricci’s motion to vacate without a hearing.


State of Ohio v. Kimberly Christen 
Case #C200159
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion: 
Kimberly Christen appeals the trial court’s denial of her application to seal the records of her conviction for reckless operation and the dismissed charge of operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited blood alcohol level (“OVI”), and a trafficlight violation. Christen argues, in a single assignment of error, that the trial court erred in concluding that R.C. 2953.61(B)(1) did not explicitly allow her recklessoperation conviction to be sealed and in determining her dismissed OVI charge could not be sealed. We agree. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter to the trial court to seal the records of her conviction and dismissed OVI charge.
Factual Background
Kimberly Christen was charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired, operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited blood-alcohol level, and a traffic light violation. Christen pled guilty to an amended charge of reckless operation, a fourth-degree misdemeanor under Cincinnati Municipal Code 506-6, and the remaining charges were dismissed. The municipal code section is substantially similar to R.C. 4511.20, the state reckless-operation statute


State of Ohio v. Jaquan Jackson, Allegheny Casualty Company, Daniel Seifu 
Case #C200153 
Quote from Judge Myers' Opinion:
Surety-appellant Allegheny Casualty Company (“Allegheny”) appeals from the trial court’s entry denying its motion to set aside a bond-forfeiture judgment and to release it from liability.
In a single assignment of error, Allegheny argues that the trial court erred in denying its motion because it was legally impossible for it to fulfill its duty as a surety to produce defendant Jaquan Jackson in court in Hamilton County when Jackson was incarcerated in Kentucky, that it was entitled to relief from forfeiture under R.C. 2937.40, and that the trial court erred in failing to comply with the time frame set forth in R.C. 2937.36 prior to ordering the bond forfeited. Finding that the trial court correctly ordered the bond forfeited, we affirm its judgment.
Factual and Procedural Background
Jaquan Jackson was indicted for aggravated possession of drugs and aggravated trafficking in drugs in November of 2018. Allegheny and Daniel Seifu, as an agent for Allegheny, posted a $50,000 surety bond for Jackson. Jackson pled guilty to aggravated possession of drugs on March 22, 2019, and sentencing was scheduled for April 17, 2019. The trial court allowed Jackson to remain on bond pending sentencing. Jackson failed to appear on the sentencing date, and the sentencing hearing was continued to May 21, 2019. No capias was issued. Jackson again failed to appear for sentencing, and the trial court issued a capias for his arrest and ordered the bond forfeited. 


State of Ohio v. Jonathan Green 
Case #C200068
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Jonathan Green appeals his convictions of two counts of aggravated trafficking and trafficking in heroin. In his sole assignment of error, Green contends that the trial court erred in not granting his motion to dismiss due to a violation of his due-process rights because the state failed to preserve exculpatory evidence. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Factual Background
Jonathan Green was arrested on April 20, 2018, after a traffic stop initiated by Cincinnati Police Officer Marc Schildmeyer for a failure to use his turn signal. When the police officers searched the car, they found heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana. On May 9, 2018, Green filed a motion for Brady material and a discovery request. Green also filed a subpoena for all cruiser and body camera recordings related to the stop that was served on the Cincinnati Police Records Unit on June 20, 2018. Later that month, the state provided all of the recordings via electronic discovery except the MVR from Schildmeyer’s vehicle.


State of Ohio v. Harold White
Case #C190589 
Quote from Judge Bock's Opinion:
A jury found defendant-appellant Harold White guilty of two counts of rape in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1), abduction in violation of R.C. 2905.02(B), one count of third-degree-felony gross sexual imposition in violation of R.C. 2907.05(B), two counts of fourth-degree-felony gross sexual imposition in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(1), and 17 counts of endangering children in violation of R.C. 2919.22(B)(2). The trial court merged the abduction count with one of the rape counts and sentenced White to life imprisonment for each rape, 36 months for the third-degree-felony gross-sexual-imposition count, 18 months for each of the fourthdegree-felony gross-sexual-imposition counts, and 36 months for each of the endangering-children counts. The court later entered a nunc pro tunc order stating that White’s sentences for rape were 15 years to life.
White now appeals his convictions and sentences, arguing that (1) the trial court’s multiple evidentiary errors deprived him of a fair trial; (2) the state’s medical expert on child abuse improperly vouched for the veracity of the victims; (3) his convictions were unsupported by sufficient evidence and contrary to the weight of the evidence; (4) the 17 child-endangering convictions did not have juror unanimity; (5) cumulative error deprived him of a fair trial; and (6) his sentences were contrary to law. Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we conclude that part of his sentence was improper but affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects.


State of Ohio v. Samantha Davis 
Case #C190302
Quote from Judge Zayas' Opinion:
Samantha Davis appeals her convictions following a jury trial for two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide for recklessly causing the deaths of Sandra Tell and Sabrina Miller while driving with a suspended license. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the cause for a new trial consistent with this opinion.
Factual Background
While driving to work on August 6, 2016, Samantha Davis lost control of her truck and crashed into a concrete barrier on the exit ramp from I-275 to I-71. Davis was ejected from the truck, and the truck traveled over the side of the exit ramp and landed on a vehicle traveling on southbound I-71. Sandra Tell, the driver of the vehicle, and her passenger Sabrina Miller were immediately killed upon impact.
Davis was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide for causing the deaths of Tell and Miller while operating a motor vehicle under the influence and driving with a suspended license, two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide for recklessly causing the deaths of Tell and Miller while driving with a suspended license, and two counts of aggravated possession of drugs for possessing two oxycodone pills. We note that Davis did not appeal the drug convictions, and therefore, they are not part of this appeal. 


Ronald Dula v. City of Cincinnati, Natalia Harris, Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, Brian Gilligan, Greg Ventre, The Christ Hospital, Matthew Schuler, Mark Magner, M.D., Finney Law Firm, LLC, Casey Taylor, Bradley Gibson
Case #C200297
Quote from Judge Crouse's Opinion:
Plaintiff-appellant Ronald Dula claims a broad conspiracy perpetrated by the defendants-appellees to prevent him from pursuing his claims against Christ Hospital and Dr. Mark Magner and to protect Dr. Magner from criminal prosecution.
Dula’s causes of action arise from his medical treatment by Dr. Magner for chronic degenerative spinal conditions. Magner performed a total of three surgeries on Dula: one to fuse two vertebrae in his back, another to his lower extremities, and a third as a follow-up to the fusion surgery. Dula contends that Magner botched the surgeries and then concealed his mistakes.
Dula contends that after meeting with attorneys Casey Taylor and Bradley Gibson of Finney Law Firm (“Finney Law Firm defendants”) to discuss his legal options, they conspired with Christ Hospital and its general counsel, Matthew Schuler, Esq., to prevent Dula from pursuing his claims against Christ Hospital and Dr. Magner (“hospital defendants”). After Finney Law Firm declined to take his case, Dula went to the offices of the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, the Cincinnati City Manager, and district four of the Cincinnati Police Department in an attempt to file criminal charges for assault against Magner. Dula claims that Natalia Harris of the city solicitor’s office (“city defendants”), Brian Gilligan and Greg Ventre of the county clerk’s office, and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners (“county defendants”) all conspired to protect Magner from criminal charges.


State of Ohio v. Clarence Maddox 
Case #C190573 
Quote from Judge Sundermann's Opinion:
Defendant-appellant Clarence Maddox appeals the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court’s judgment denying his 2019 petitions under R.C. 2953.21 et seq. for postconviction relief. We affirm the court’s judgment as modified to reflect the dismissal of the petitions for lack of jurisdiction.
Procedural Posture
In 2007, Maddox was convicted on six counts of rape, following the joint trial of offenses charged in the indictments returned in the cases numbered B0409448 and B-0609678. This court affirmed those convictions in the direct appeal. State v. Maddox, 1st Dist. Hamilton Nos. C-070482 and C-070483, 2008-Ohio3477, appeal not accepted, 122 Ohio St.3d 1507, 2009-Ohio-4233, 912 N.E.2d 110.
In 2008, Maddox challenged his convictions by filing in each case a postconviction petition. In his petitions, he challenged the admissibility and sufficiency of evidence presented to the grand jury and at trial and alleged misconduct on the part of the prosecution with respect to that evidence. The common pleas court dismissed those petitions. Maddox did not appeal.