Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State of Ohio v. Benjamin Sewell

October 26, 2011

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BENJAMIN SEWELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

{¶1} Benjamin Sewell appeals the trial court's denial of his "Motion to TaX Expenses of Defendant-Petitioner Sewell as Prevailing Party to be Paid by Plaintiff- Respondent." Sewell contends that the trial court should have awarded him various "litigation expenses" as costs. Because Sewell cannot (1) provide statutory authority for the costs he seeks to recover or (2) demonstrate that the trial court's denial of his motion was an abuse of discretion, we disagree. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

I.

{¶2} In June 2006, Sewell was convicted of two counts of rape. The trial court classified him as a "sexually oriented offender" under the sex-offender-classification scheme that was in effect at the time. In December 2007, Sewell received a NOTICE OF NEW CLASSIFICATION AND REGISTRATION DUTIES from the Office of the Ohio Attorney General. The notice stated that he would be reclassified as a Tier III sex offender pursuant to SB 10, effective January 1, 2008.

{¶3} Sewell then filed a petition to challenge his new classification in the Ross County Court of Common Pleas. The trial court denied his petition, and we affirmed the trial court's decision in State v. Sewell, Ross App. No. 08CA3042, 2009-Ohio-594 (hereinafter "Sewell I").

{¶4} Eventually, the Supreme Court of Ohio reversed our decision. See State v. Bodyke, 126 Ohio St.3d 266, 2010-Ohio-2424; In re Sexual-Offender Reclassification Cases, 126 Ohio St.3d 322, 2010-Ohio-3753, at ¶¶15, 20. As a result, the trial court reinstated Sewell's original sex-offender classification.

{¶5} After the reinstatement of his original classification, Sewell filed a "Motion to Tax Expenses of Defendant-Petitioner Sewell as Prevailing Party to Be Paid By Plaintiff- Respondent." In his motion, Sewell sought to recover various "litigation expenses" under R.C. 2323.51, Civ.R. 11, and Civ.R. 54(D). The trial court denied Sewell's motion.

{¶6} Sewell appeals and asserts the following assignment of error: I. "THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF APPELLANT AND/OR ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO TAX NECESSARY LITIGATION EXPENSES AS COSTS FOLLOWING THE ENTRY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF OHIO IN HIS FAVOR."

II.

{¶7} In his sole assignment of error, Sewell claims that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to tax necessary litigation expenses as costs in his favor.

{¶8} Initially, we note that, in his "Statement of the Facts and Case," Sewell asserts that he "seeks litigation expenses under Civ.R. 54(D), R.C. §2323.51, and Civ.R. 11." Appellant's Brief at 2. In his "Law and Argument" section, however, Sewell argues only that he is entitled to recover costs under Civ.R. 54(D). He provides no argument or authority demonstrating that he is entitled to recover the expenses under either R.C. 2323.51 or Civ.R. 11. An appellant's brief must include "[a]n argument containing the contentions of the appellant with respect to each assignment of error presented for review and the reasons in support of the contentions, with citations to the authorities, statutes, and parts of the record on which appellant relies." App.R. 16(A)(7) (emphasis added). Because Sewell's brief does not contain any argument that he is entitled to relief under either R.C. 2323.51 or Civ.R. 11, we will not consider his cursory assertion that R.C. 2323.51 and Civ.R. 11 allow him to recover his litigation expenses. Accordingly, we examine only whether Sewell can recover his litigation expenses under Civ.R. 54(D).

{¶9} Civ.R. 54(D) provides: "Except when express provision therefor is made either in a statute or in these rules, costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs."

{¶10} Sewell argues that, because the Supreme Court of Ohio ultimately ruled in his favor in Sewell I, he is the prevailing party in his challenge to his sex offender reclassification. Thus, according to Sewell, the trial court erred when it denied his motion seeking to recover various litigation expenses as costs.

{ΒΆ11} Civ.R. 54(D) "gives the trial court broad discretion to assess costs, and the court's ruling will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion." Keaton v. Pike Community Hosp. (1997), 124 Ohio App.3d 153, 156, citing Vance v. Roedersheimer, 64 Ohio St.3d 552, 555, 1992-Ohio-24; Gnepper v. Beegle (1992), 84 Ohio App.3d 259, 263. An abuse of discretion is more than a mere error of law; "it implies that the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.