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Gardi v. Board of Education of Lakewood City School District

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

August 8, 2013

GARY GARDI PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE LAKEWOOD CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES

Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-776793

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT David L. Meyerson Seaman, Garson, L.L.C.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES Daniel S. Burley Chester L. Sumpter Chester L. Sumpter & Associates, Mark E. Mastrangelo Principal Assistant Attorney General Sandra L. Nimrick Assistant Attorney General.

BEFORE: Keough, J., Boyle, P.J., and Blackmon, J.

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, J.:

{¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, Gary Gardi ("Gardi"), appeals from the trial court's judgment granting the motion for summary judgment of defendant-appellee, Board of Education of the Lakewood City School District ("Lakewood"). For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand.

I. Background

{¶2} On December 10, 2010, Gardi was injured when he slipped and fell on black ice while working for Lakewood. He filed an application for workers' compensation benefits and, after a hearing by the Industrial Commission of Ohio, his claim was allowed for injuries described as lumbar sprain/strain, left hip sprain/strain, and left knee contusion.

{¶3} Gardi subsequently filed a motion to amend his claim to include an additional allowance for substantial aggravation of pre-existing osteoarthritis of the left knee. The Industrial Commission denied this request, finding that the medical evidence failed to demonstrate that Gardi's osteoarthritis was substantially aggravated by his workplace injury on December 10.

{¶4} Gardi then filed an appeal of the Industrial Commission's decision in the common pleas court pursuant to R.C. 4123.412. Subsequently, Lakewood filed a motion for summary judgment in which it argued that it was entitled to summary judgment because Gardi had failed to present pre-injury medical evidence documenting his osteoarthritis and, therefore, could not demonstrate substantial aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

{¶5} Gardi filed a brief in opposition to Lakewood's motion in which he argued that R.C. 4123.01(C)(4), which sets forth the requirements for demonstrating a substantial aggravation of a pre-existing condition, does not require medical reports or other documentation of the pre-existing condition that is dated prior to the workplace injury. He also filed a motion to amend his complaint to include a claim for declaratory judgment that R.C. 4123.01(C)(4) is unconstitutional if it requires a claimant to provide pre-injury medical documentation of a pre-existing condition before the claimant may recover for substantial aggravation of the condition. The trial court granted Gardi's motion to amend his complaint.

{¶6} The trial court subsequently granted Lakewood's motion for summary judgment. The court held that under R.C. 4123.01(C)(4), the condition a claimant asserts was substantially aggravated by the workplace injury must be medically documented prior to the workplace injury and presented in support of the claim. The trial court held that Gardi had not presented such evidence and, therefore, the Industrial Commission had properly denied his claim. Further, the trial court denied Gardi's declaratory judgment claim, holding that R.C. 4123.01(C)(4)'s requirement of pre-injury medical documentation of a pre-existing condition does not violate the equal protection clause of Ohio's constitution and that the statute is therefore not unconstitutional.

{¶7} Gardi now appeals from the trial court's ...


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