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In re Carter

Court of Claims of Ohio

March 16, 2016


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


          DANIEL R. BORCHERT, Magistrate Judge

         {¶1} On March 23, 2015, applicant, Dannielle Carter, filed a compensation application as the result of an assault which occurred on January 27, 2015. On June 16, 2015, the Attorney General issued a finding of fact and decision finding applicant met the necessary jurisdictional requirements to qualify as a victim of criminally injurious conduct pursuant to R.C. 2743.51(C)(1). Applicant was granted an award in the amount of $325.08, of which $200.00 represented clothing destroyed at the time of medical treatment, $25.08 represented mileage expenses, and $100.00 represented the cost of boots held by the police as evidence. Applicant's claims for family counseling expenses, replacement services loss, work loss, crime scene clean up, and additional evidence replacement expense were denied.

         {¶2} On June 24, 2015, applicant submitted a request for reconsideration. Applicant asserted claims for liability to Hertz Rental Car, since damage was sustained by the vehicle at the time of the criminal incident and additional evidence replacement loss. Applicant submitted a letter received from The Hertz Corporation requesting $750.04, to cover the full costs of damage received to its vehicle after receiving a check from applicant's insurance carrier.

         {¶3} On August 21, 2015, the Attorney General rendered a Final Decision granting applicant an additional award in the amount of $100.00 which represented evidence replacement loss, the boots, which were not paid in the initial award. However, applicant's claim for reimbursement of money owed to Hertz was denied since this was a property loss not compensable under Ohio's Victims of Crime Compensation Program. The Attorney General also denied reimbursement for two coats, keys, and miscellaneous items which applicant asserted were stolen from the vehicle at the time of the assault.

         {¶4} On September 17, 2015, applicant filed a notice of appeal from the August 21, 2015 Final Decision of the Attorney General. Hence, a hearing was held before this magistrate on January 19, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

         {¶5} Applicant, Dannielle Carter appeared via telephone while her attorney, Matthew Shaughnessy appeared in person. The state of Ohio was represented by Assistant Attorneys General Robin Matthews and Melissa Montgomery.

         {¶6} Preliminarily, applicant sought to introduce into evidence an article which appeared on concerning the procedures the Cleveland Police Department utilizes when they tow a vehicle. The Attorney General objected to the introduction of this article into evidence since it was in violation of this court's order that all documents be submitted three days prior to the hearing. Furthermore, the article is dated 2008 and there is no indication that the procedures mentioned in the article are the same today. Based upon relevance applicant's motion was denied.

         {¶7} Applicant made an oral motion for applicant's ex-husband Dontez Carter to testify. The oral motion was granted. Applicant also withdrew her appeal on all issues but that of evidence replacement loss.

         {¶8} Applicant stated the only issue on appeal concerns the property items contained in the vehicle which were not returned to her. The Attorney General countered that his decision should be affirmed since the items in question were not taken by the Cleveland Police Department as evidence.

         {¶9} Dannielle Carter was called to testify via telephone. Initially, Ms. Carter described the events surrounding the shooting and hospitalization. Ms. Carter stated she never saw the car, where the shooting took place, again, since it was impounded as the crime scene. When she attempted to regain her property that was in the vehicle she was unsuccessful. She believed she was being given the run around.

         {¶10} Ms. Carter stated the following items were in the vehicle: her coat, a GPS, her house keys, $50.00 worth of change, and her ex-husband Dontez Carter's coat.

         {¶11} Upon cross-examination, she acknowledged she was driven to the hospital in the rental car by Dontez Carter. However, she was not present when police took control of the vehicle and had no knowledge of what could have happened to her property prior to the police's arrival. Whereupon, Ms. Carter's testimony was concluded.

         {¶12} Dontez Carter was called to testify via telephone. Mr. Carter related the events surrounding the shooting and his transportation of Dannielle Carter to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, the police showed up and towed the car. Initially, the Metro Police (Hospital's personnel) secured the vehicle until Cleveland Police arrived. Mr. Carter pulled the vehicle in front of the emergency department entrance and did not drive the vehicle again. Mr. Carter related ...

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