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Triplett v. Warren Correctional Institution

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 27, 2013

Ervin Triplett, Jr., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Warren Correctional Institution, Defendant-Appellee.

APPEAL from the Court of Claims of Ohio (Ct. of Cl. No. 2011-06889).

Ervin Triplett, Jr., pro se.

Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Amy S. Brown, for appellee.

DECISION

KLATT, P.J.

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Ervin Triplett, Jr., appeals from a judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio adopting a magistrate's decision and entering judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Warren Correctional Institution ("WCI"). For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

{¶ 2} On May 4, 2011, appellant filed a complaint in the trial court asserting a number of claims against WCI arising out of his allegations that WCI officers mishandled and took some of his personal property when he was transferred from WCI to another corrections institution after he assaulted a WCI officer. Appellant also alleged that WCI officers assaulted him, defamed him, and retaliated against him after the assault.

{¶ 3} Before trial, the trial court granted WCI's motion for partial judgment on the pleadings. Specifically, the trial court granted WCI judgment on appellant's claims based upon WCI's alleged violations of internal rules and policies in their handling of appellant's personal property because violations of those rules do not support a cause of action. The trial court also dismissed appellant's retaliation claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The case proceeded on appellant's other claims.

{¶ 4} A magistrate of the trial court conducted a trial on the issue of liability. Based on the testimony and evidence presented at trial, the magistrate found appellant's assault claim without merit, concluding that the officers who used force against appellant were privileged to do so and that the force used against him was reasonable. In regards to appellant's defamation claims, the magistrate concluded that the alleged defamatory statements were never made, finding the testimony regarding the statements allegedly made by the officers not credible. Lastly, in regards to appellant's claims concerning his lost property, the magistrate concluded that the appellant failed to establish that WCI obtained possession of the property or established a bailment relationship at any time. Instead, the magistrate concluded that other inmates took appellant's property. Accordingly, the magistrate recommended judgment in favor of WCI.

{¶ 5} On July 23, 2012, the same day that the magistrate issued its decision, the trial court adopted that decision as its own and entered judgment in favor of WCI. On August 8, 2012, appellant filed objections to the magistrate's decision. However, pursuant to Civ.R.53(D)(3)(b)(i), the trial court disregarded those objections as untimely filed and affirmed its adoption of the magistrate's decision awarding judgment to WCI.

II. The Appeal

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

1. The trial court committed reversible error by dismissing the plaintiffs claim for retaliation in contravention to precedent.
2. Administrative regulations issued pursuant to statutory authority have the force and effect of law, and ...

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