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In re Mwangi

Court of Claims of Ohio

February 25, 2016

IN RE: MESHACK KINYANJUI MWANGI SAMUEL KINYANJUI RUTH KINYANJUI Applicants

          Sent to S.C. Reporter 5/23/17

          DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE

          DANIEL R. BORCHERT, Magistrate Judge

         {¶1} On April 6, 2015, applicant, Samuel Kinyanjui, filed a compensation application as the result of the death of his father, Meshack Kinyanjui Mwangi. Meshack Mwangi was murdered on August 26, 2014. On July 1, 2015, the Attorney General issued a finding of fact and decision denying applicants' claim for an award of reparations pursuant to R.C. 2743.60(E)(1)(e), since the decedent tested positive for oxycodone at the time of his death.

         {¶2} On July 27, 2015, Samuel Kinyanjui submitted a request for reconsideration stating the decedent had been prescribed oxycodone for pain relief since he was suffering from cancer. Applicant, Ruth Kinyanjui, also wrote a letter stating she received money from the Imani Fund and the Kenben Foundation, organizations which assist fellow members when a death occurs in their family. Ms. Kinyanjui attached a check from the Kenben Foundation in the amount of $2, 230.00 and the Imani Fund in the amount of $3, 050.00. These checks were used to pay for the decedent's funeral expenses.

         {¶3} On September 23, 2015, the Attorney General rendered a Final Decision, again denying applicants' claim for an award, but on the basis that the economic loss incurred by the applicants had already been reimbursed by the Imani Fund and Kenben Foundation, readily available collateral sources.

         {¶4} On November 24, 2015, applicant, Ruth Kinyanjui filed a notice of appeal from the September 23, 2015 Final Decision of the Attorney General. Hence, a hearing was held before this magistrate on February 11, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

         {¶5} Assistant Attorney General Megan Hanke appeared on behalf of the state of Ohio. Neither applicants attended the hearing.

         {¶6} Initially, the Attorney General clarified that Meshack Kinyanjui Mwangi was a victim of criminally injurious conduct. However, all economic loss incurred had been reimbursed by readily available collateral source.

         {¶7} The Attorney General called Shawn Moser, lead economic loss investigator with the Attorney General's office to testify. Mr. Moser related that the total funeral expense amounted to $9, 105.44. Mr. Moser was then presented with a Detail Expense Exhibit marked for identification purposes as State's Exhibit A. This document evidenced that the total expenses incurred at Diehl Whittaker Funeral Home and Union Cemetery amounted to $9, 105.44.

         {¶8} Mr. Moser was then shown State's Exhibit B and C, a check from Imani Fund dated August 6, 2014, in the amount of $3, 050.00 and a check from the Kenben Foundation dated August 30, 2014, in the amount of $2, 230.00 made out to the Meshack K. Mwangi Memorial Fund. Next, Mr. Moser was shown what was marked as State's Exhibit D, the Meshack Kinyanjui Mwangi Memorial Fund set up at PNC Bank. This document showed a balance of $14, 291.00. Finally, Mr. Moser was presented with State's Exhibit E, also a document from the same Memorial Fund which revealed all funeral and related expenses were paid from this fund.

         {¶9} Mr. Moser stated the Imani Fund and Kenben Foundation were voluntary funds organized for the purpose of assisting members with funeral expenses incurred as the result of the death of a family member. Furthermore, the Meshack Kinyanjui Mwangi Memorial Fund was established at PNC Bank for the purposes of assisting the family with funeral expenses. Funds received from the Imani Fund and Kenben Foundation were deposited into the PNC account. Therefore, applicants' incurred no loss as a result of the funeral and related expenses. Whereupon, the testimony of Shawn Moser was concluded.

         {¶10} The Attorney General stated the three funds should be considered a collateral source pursuant to R.C. 2743.60(D), since they were created for the purpose of paying decedent's funeral expenses. Furthermore, if applicants incur additional expenses related to the decedent's death, this would be the proper subject for a supplemental compensation application. Whereupon, the hearing was concluded.

         {¶11} R.C. 2743.60(D) in pertinent part states:

         {¶12} "The attorney general or the court of claims shall reduce an award of reparations or deny a claim for an award of reparations that is otherwise payable to a claimant to the extent that the economic loss upon which the claim is based ...


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