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Boylen v. Ohio Dep't of Rehabilitation and Corrections

December 2, 2008

ADAM BOYLEN PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



CHARACTER OF PROCEEDING: Criminal Appeal From Richland County, Court Of Common Pleas Case No. 2007-CV-1388.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edwards, J.

JUDGES: William B. Hoffman, P.J., Julie A. Edwards, J., Patricia A. Delaney, J.

OPINION

JUDGMENT: Affirmed

{¶1} Appellant, Adam Boylen, brought an action for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and monetary damages against appellees alleging that the appellees improperly removed funds from his inmate account for the collection of court costs. The trial court dismissed appellant's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to establish in the complaint that appellant's administrative remedies had been exhausted. Appellant appeals the trial court's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CASE

{¶2} Plaintiff-Appellant is an inmate at Mansfield Correctional Institution serving a thirteen year sentence pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement. Appellant appealed the negotiated sentence in State v. Boylen, Stark App. Nos. 2003CA00304 and 2003CA00305. On March 15, 2004, this Court affirmed the trial court.

{¶3} On August 27, 2007, the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, by and through the account clerk, Janet Hamilton, notified the appellant that the institution had received a certified copy of the decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeals and provided the appellant with copies of the costs bills for the action in the amount of one hundred and ninety two dollars and ninety four cents ($192.94). The certified documents had been provided to the institution by the Stark County Clerk of Courts for the collection of the costs of prosecuting the appeal. Appellant was also notified that the Institution intended to withdraw money from his inmate account to be applied toward the court costs. Finally, appellant was notified that, pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code Section 5120-9-31, he had the right to participate in an administrative appeal and grievance process in which he could set forth either an exemption or a defense to the collection of the costs.

{¶4} On August 30, 2007, appellant pursued his administrative remedy and submitted a timely "Notice of Objection to the Judgment of Payment" to the Warden's Collection Designee, Gordon Lane. On September 7, 2007, Mr. Lane determined that the court order and other documents authorized the Institution to withdraw money from the appellant's inmate account. Thereafter, the institution issued payment in the amount of thirty-nine dollars and eight cents ($39.08) from appellant's inmate account towards the court costs.

{¶5} On September 12, 2007, appellant filed a "Notification of Grievance" with the Inspector's Office.

{¶6} On September 27, 2007, appellant filed a civil complaint in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and money damages against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, the Mansfield Correctional Institution, Warden Stuart Hudson, Account Clerk Janet Hamilton, Stark County Clerk of Courts, Nancy Reinbold, and the Chief Fiscal Officer of the Stark County Clerk of Courts, Jo-Ann Murphy.

{¶7} In the complaint, appellant argued that funds had been improperly withdrawn from his inmate account to satisfy his court costs to the Stark County Court of Common Pleas. Specifically, appellant argued that R.C. 2969.22 does not authorize the Stark County Clerk of Courts to pursue the collection of the court costs for a criminal appeal, that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction had failed to follow the procedures set forth in OAC 5120-9-31 and that OAC 5120-9-31 violates due process and is, therefore, unconstitutional. As relief for the alleged wrongful acts of the state employees and agencies, the appellant sought a temporary injunction or restraining order to prevent any further withdrawal of funds from appellant's inmate account while the case was pending before the trial court, a declaration that R.C. 2969.22 only authorizes the common pleas clerk of courts to pursue the collection of costs for civil matters, a declaration that OAC 5120-9-31 violates a prisoner's due process rights and is, therefore, unconstitutional or in the alternative that the prison had failed to follow the guidelines set forth in OAC 5120-9-31, punitive damages in the amount of $500.00 and compensatory damages in the amount of $39.08.

{¶8} In what appears to be an effort to comply with the mandates of R.C. 2969.26(A), appellant attached an affidavit to the complaint indicating an appeal regarding collection of court costs from his account had been filed with the Mansfield Correctional Institution on August 30, 2007. He further stated, on September 7, 2007, the Deputy Warden of Administration of the Mansfield Correctional Institution refused to grant relief holding that the institution "was authorized" to garnish the inmates account for the payment of court costs. In the affidavit, the appellant further stated: "I continue to exhaust the administrative remedies with appeals, but have filed the instant action due to its immediate need in being addressed; or unless otherwise ordered by the court to finish while the action is stayed."

{¶9} On October 24, 2007, appellees, Nancy Reinbold, Stark County Clerk of Courts, and Jo-Ann Humphrey, Chief Fiscal Officer of the Stark County Clerk of Courts, filed a motion to dismiss the appellant's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In the motion to dismiss, appellees argued they properly sent a notice to Mansfield Institution pursuant to R.C. 2969.22 for the collection of inmate funds. They further stated in order to appeal the collection of funds an appellant must first follow the appeal process set forth in O.A.C. 5120-9-31. They stated, according to paragraph 20 of the appellant's complaint he has filed such an appeal and the administrative process was still proceeding. As such, appellees argued the complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction for appellant's failure to exhaust his administrative.

{¶10} On November 2, 2007, appellees, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Warden Stuart Hudson and Janet Hamilton filed a Motion to Dismiss the appellant's complaint pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B)(1). In the motion to dismiss, appellees argued the matter should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the court of claims has exclusive jurisdiction over a civil action against state agencies and employees for money damages. Appellees also argued the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because appellant failed to establish he had exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing his complaint as required by R.C. 2969.26(A).

{ΒΆ11} On November 15, 2007, without first seeking leave of court, appellant filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint asserted the same arguments as the initial complaint, deleted a request for punitive ...


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