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Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio, Inc. v. Huber

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

September 20, 2013

VECTREN ENERGY DELIVERY OF OHIO, INC. Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JOHN HUBER Defendant-Appellant

Civil Appeal from Dayton Municipal Court, Trial Court Case No. 12-CVE-1216

AMANDA RASBACH YURECHKO, Atty. Reg. #0072458 Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

JOHN HUBER, Defendant-Appellant, pro se

OPINION

HALL, J.

(¶ 1} John Huber appeals pro se from the Dayton Municipal Court's entry of summary judgment for Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio, Inc., on its negligence claim against him. We affirm.

FACTS

(¶ 2} In April 2011, Huber used a mini backhoe to excavate under the sidewalk that ran along the Oakridge Dr. side of his home at 259 Lorenz Avenue in Dayton, Ohio. He was trying to uncover the sewer line running to his house. The backhoe's bucket caught on one of Vectren's underground gas pipes and ruptured it. Vectren repaired the pipe and sent Huber the bill, totaling $2, 392.78. When Huber wouldn't pay, Vectren filed a negligence action against him, claiming the billed repair costs as damages.

(¶ 3} Huber represented himself in the action. He moved to dismiss, arguing that the municipal court did not have jurisdiction over his residential property, but the court overruled the motion. Vectren moved for summary judgment, attaching to its motion Huber's responses to interrogatories and a copy of the repair bill, along with an affidavit supporting it. Huber opposed, attaching to his motion his own affidavit as well as affidavits from friends and neighbors. The court sustained Vectren's motion, concluding that, before excavating, Huber negligently failed to contact the Ohio Utility Protection Service (OUPS) to obtain locates for any underground utilities: "the Court finds that the Defendant did not verify the location of the gas line by contacting the Ohio Utility Protection Service (OUPS), and was not authorized by OUPS to excavate and did excavate without informing himself where the Plaintiffs line was located." The court also concluded that it was solely because Huber had failed to contact OUPS that Vectren's gas pipe was damaged. The court entered judgment for Vectren in the amount of the billed repair costs.

(¶ 4} Huber appealed.

3

ANALYSIS

(¶ 5} Huber assigns two errors to the municipal court. The first challenges the court's jurisdiction over his residential property. And the second challenges the court's entry of summary judgment.

Jurisdiction Over Huber's Residential Property

(¶ 6} The first assignment of error alleges that "[t]he trial court committed an error of judgment by allowing dual jurisdiction with Ohio (A) and the United States (B)." Huber's argument is based on R.C. Chapter 159, specifically R.C. 159.03 and 159.04, which contains provisions that allow the United States to acquire land in Ohio and cede exclusive jurisdiction to the United States over the acquired land. Dynamics Land Sys., Inc. v. Tracy, 83 Ohio St.3d 500, 502-503, 700 N.E.2d 1242 (1998). Huber seems to contend that the United States "acquired" 259 Lorenz Avenue through the federal tax liens and the restitution lien it has filed against his property. [1] ...


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