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Mattice v. Ohio Department of Job & Family Services

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

September 13, 2013

MANDI MATTICE Plaintiff-Appellant

Civil appeal from Common Pleas Court T.C. NO. 12CV8804

MANDI MATTICE, Plaintiff-Appellant.

ALAN SCHWEPE, Atty. Reg. No. 0012676, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Health and Human Services Section, Attorney for Defendant-Appellee



(¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant Mandi Mattice appeals, pro se, a decision of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, dismissing her R.C. 4141.282 appeal from a decision of the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (hereinafter "Commission") finding that Mattice was discharged from her employment with Jozabe Investments, Inc. for just cause resulting in her ineligibility for unemployment compensation benefits. Mattice filed a timely notice of appeal with this Court on April 17, 2013.

(¶ 2} In June of 2012, Mattice applied for unemployment benefits with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (hereinafter "ODJFS"). The ODJFS allowed the application with a benefit year beginning November 14, 2010. On June 21, 2012, the ODJFS issued a redetermination which held that Mattice had been discharged from her employment by Jozabe without just cause. Jozabe filed an appeal from the redetermination on June 25, 2012. On June 26, 2012, the ODJFS transferred jurisdiction to the Commission.

(¶ 3} On July 31, 2012, a telephonic hearing was held before an officer from the Commission. Both Mattice and Jozabe were present. Based on evidence presented at the hearing, the Commission issued a decision on August 15, 2012, finding that Mattice had been discharged for just cause which resulted in her being ineligible for unemployment benefits. Mattice filed a timely request for review of the hearing officer's decision, and on October 25, 2012, a second hearing was held before the Commission. In a decision issued on November 28, 2012, the Commission affirmed its earlier decision finding Mattice ineligible for unemployment benefits. The Commission's decision included a notice advising Mattice of her appeal right and a list of the interested parties to the proceedings. Her former employer, Jozabe, was listed as an interested party.

(¶ 4} On December 18, 2012, Mattice filed her notice of administrative appeal with the trial court. The only interested parties named in the appeal were the ODJFS and the Commission. The record establishes that Mattice failed to include Jozabe as an interested party on appeal to the trial court. On March 6, 2013, the ODJFS filed a motion to dismiss Mattice's appeal for lack of jurisdiction for failure to comply with R.C. 4141.282(D) requiring the notice of appeal to name all of the interested parties. The trial court sustained the ODJFS's motion in a decision issued on April 3, 2013, thereby dismissing Mattice's administrative appeal of the Commission's decision.

(¶ 5} It is from this decision that Mattice now appeals.

(¶ 6} Initially, we note that Mattice has failed to comply with App. R. 16(A)(3), which requires appellate briefs to set forth one or more assignments of error presented for review. However, since the trial court dismissed Mattice's administrative appeal for failure to comply with the filing requirements of R.C. 4141.282(D), we assume that her sole assignment is based on the trial court's alleged error in dismissing the appeal.

(¶ 7} "The issue of whether a trial court has subject-matter jurisdiction over a cause of action is generally a question of law that an appellate court reviews independently of the trial court's decision. * * * ." Yu v. Zhang, 175 Ohio App.3d 83, 88, 2008-Ohio-400, 885 N.E.2d 278, 282 (2d Dist. 2008). As this Court has noted:

Subject matter jurisdiction of a court "connotes the power to hear and decide a case upon its merits." In re J J., 111 Ohio St.3d 205, 2006-Ohio-5484, ¶ 11. "A court's subject matter jurisdiction is invoked by the filing of a complaint. Once a court of competent jurisdiction acquires jurisdiction over an action, its authority continues until the matter is completely and finally disposed of, and no court of co-ordinate jurisdiction may interfere with its proceedings." * * * . Batteiger v. Deutsch , 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 021933, 2008-Ohio-1582, ¶ 50.

(¶ 8} The Ohio Supreme Court has held that where a right of appeal is conferred by a statute, the appeal can be perfected only in the mode prescribed by that statute, and that Jhe exercise of the right conferred is conditional upon compliance with the accompanying mandatory requirements., Zier v. Bur. of Unemp. Comp., 151 Ohio St. 123, 84 N.E.2d 746 (1949), ¶ 1 of the syllabus. R.C. 4141.282 sets forth the procedures by which a party whose claim for unemployment-compensation benefits ...

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