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Ronnie Lee Wallace v. Grafton Correctional Institution

November 3, 2011

RONNIE LEE WALLACE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
GRAFTON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Court of Claims of Ohio (C.C. No. 2009-07024)

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

Cite as Wallace v. Grafton Corr. Inst.,

(REGULAR CALENDAR)

DECISION

{¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, Ronnie Lee Wallace, appeals from a judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio entering judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Grafton Correctional Institution (hereinafter, "GCI"). For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.

Factual and Procedural Background

{¶2} Appellant, an inmate at GCI, filed a complaint in the trial court alleging that GCI negligently failed to provide him with timely dental care. After a trial on the issue of liability, the magistrate determined that GCI timely scheduled appellant's dental treatments based on dentists' instructions and, accordingly, appellant failed to prove that GCI acted negligently in this regard. To the extent that appellant also claimed that one of his teeth had been wrongly extracted, the magistrate noted that appellant did not present expert testimony to support such a claim for dental malpractice. The magistrate recommended judgment in favor of GCI. Appellant timely filed objections to the magistrate's decision but did not file a transcript. The trial court overruled appellant's objections, adopted the magistrate's decision, and entered judgment in favor of GCI.

{¶3} Appellant appeals and assigns the following errors:

[1.] THE COURT OF CLAIMS JUDGE ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF THE APPELLANT WHEN THEY FAILED TO REVIEW OR ADHERE TO THE STIPULATED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT THAT THE INSTITUTION IS UNDER PURSUANT TO FUSSEL V. WILKINSON, CASE NO. C-1-CV-03-704, WHICH MANDATES THE REQUIRE- MENT TO SUPPLY THE APPELLANT WITH URGENT DENTAL NEED AND TREATMENT IN A PROMPT MANNER.

[2.] THE COURT OF CLAIMS JUDGE ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF THE APPELLANT WHEN HE TOOK A BLANKET APPROACH TO ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE[']S DECISION WITHOUT WEIGHING THE MERITS OF THE APPELLANT[']S CASE AND A FEDERALLY PROTECTED RIGHT, BY VIOLATING THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, CREATING DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE TO APPELLANT[']S MEDICAL NEEDS.

Standard of Review

{¶4} Initially, we note that Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b) governs the procedure for filing objections to a magistrate's decision with the trial court. Pursuant to Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(iii), an objecting party must support any objections to a magistrate's factual findings with a transcript of the proceedings before the magistrate or an affidavit of the evidence. The objecting party must file the transcript or affidavit with the trial court "within thirty days after filing objections unless the court extends the time in writing for preparation of the transcript or other good cause." Id. Appellant did not submit a transcript of the proceedings before the magistrate or an affidavit of the evidence with the trial court.

{¶5} If an objecting party fails to submit a transcript or affidavit, the trial court must accept the magistrate's factual findings and limit its review to the magistrate's legal conclusions. Ross v. Cockburn, 10th Dist. No. 07AP-967, 2008-Ohio-3522, ¶5; Farmers Mkt. Drive-In Shopping Ctrs., Inc. v. Magana, 10th Dist. No. 06AP-532, 2007-Ohio-2653, ¶27-28. On appeal of a judgment rendered without the benefit of a transcript or affidavit, an appellate court only considers whether the trial court correctly applied the law to the magistrate's factual findings. Gill v. Grafton Correctional Inst., 10th Dist. No. 10AP- 1094, 2011-Ohio-4251, ¶21; Ross at ¶6. Moreover, an appellate court will not expand the scope of its review even if the objecting party supplements the record on appeal with a transcript. The objecting party's failure to timely submit a transcript to the trial court precludes any consideration of the transcript on appeal. Ross; Baddour v. Rehab. Servs. Comm., 10th Dist. No. 04AP-1090, 2005-Ohio-5698, ¶25. ...


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