APPEAL from the Court of Claims of Ohio Ct. of Cl. No. 2010-10475.
Alan I. Goodman, for appellant.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, Stephanie Pestello-Sharf and Amy Brown, for appellee.
(¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Billie Davis ("Davis"), appeals from a judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio granting the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant-appellee, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ("ODRC"), and denying Davis' cross-motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability only. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio.
I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
(¶ 2} On September 13, 2010, in the Court of Claims of Ohio, Davis filed a complaint against ODRC for false imprisonment. ODRC answered the complaint and denied liability. Thereafter, Davis and ODRC each moved for summary judgment.
(¶ 3} Earlier, on October 16, 2008, Davis pled guilty to four counts of theft, twelve counts of forgery, and one count of misuse of credit cards in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Davis admitted that she forged and cashed checks belonging to the elderly couple in her care, and that she used their credit card to make purchases without their consent. Davis took approximately $11, 000 from the elderly couple.
(¶ 4} On April 14, 2009, the Honorable Bridget M. McCafferty, a judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Davis to 17 one-year terms of imprisonment to be served concurrently. As a result, Davis entered ODRC's custody on April 24, 2009.
(¶ 5} As set forth in R.C. 5120.032, ODRC operates an intensive program prison ("IPP") in which eligible offenders in its custody may participate in a 90-day period of intense educational and rehabilitative programming, after which time ODRC may reduce the stated prison term and release the offender to post-release control. See Ohio Adm.Code 5120-11-01 et seq.
(¶ 6} At the time of sentencing, a trial court may recommend that an eligible offender be placed in an IPP. Also at sentencing, the trial court is authorized to disapprove IPP placement. If the sentencing court "disapproves" placement, the statute commands that ODRC "shall not place the prisoner" in an IPP. R.C. 5120.032(B)(1)(a).
(¶ 7} If the sentencing court makes no recommendation regarding IPP placement, ODRC is authorized to place an eligible offender in an IPP, provided that ODRC first:
[S]hall notify the sentencing court of the proposed placement of the prisoner in the intensive program prison and shall include with the notice a brief description of the placement. The court shall have ten days from receipt of the notice to disapprove the placement. If the sentencing court disapproves the placement, the department shall not proceed with it. If the sentencing court does not timely disapprove of the placement, the department may proceed with plans for it.
(¶ 8} At the time of Davis' sentencing, Judge McCafferty neither recommended nor disapproved Davis for IPP placement.
(¶ 9} On May 22, 2009, by certified mail return receipt requested, ODRC mailed form 2502 to Judge McCafferty at her courthouse address. The form is captioned "Notice to Sentencing Court of Offender's Recommended Placement Into the Intensive Program Prison." The notice indicated that Davis was imprisoned at the Ohio Reformatory for Women ("ORW"), located in Marysville, Ohio, and explained the proposed placement of Davis into the IPP. The form instructed that the sentencing judge "may approve or disapprove the placement, or you may express no opinion." It further instructed that, if the sentencing judge wishes to disapprove, "your decision must be received by [the ORW warden's] office * * * within 30 days of the signature date of the certified-mail receipt."
(¶ 10} On June 3, 2009, ORW received the certified mail return, which was stamped as having been received by the Cuyahoga County "Mail Services ...