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In re Sziber

Court of Claims of Ohio

April 21, 2016


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


          DANIEL R. BORCHERT, Magistrate Judge

         {¶1} On December 30, 2014, applicant, Sharon Grenig, filed a compensation application as the result of a felonious assault and attempted murder suffered by Eugene Sziber, her father. On April 9, 2015, the Attorney General issued a finding of fact and decision determining that applicant satisfied the necessary jurisdictional requirement to qualify Eugene Sziber as a victim of criminally injurious conduct pursuant to R.C. 2743.51(C)(1). Applicant was granted an award in the amount of $371.34. On April 27, 2015, applicant submitted a request for reconsideration.

         {¶2} On August 25, 2015, the Attorney General rendered a Final Decision finding no reason to modify his initial award. On September 30, 2015, applicant filed a notice of appeal from the August 25, 2015 Final Decision of the Attorney General. Hence, a hearing was held before this magistrate on February 24, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.

         {¶3} Applicant's attorney, Matthew Shaughnessy appeared in person while applicant Sharon Grenig appeared via telephone. The state of Ohio was represented by Associate Assistant Attorney General Melissa Montgomery.

         {¶4} Initially, the Attorney General stated a subpoena for Dwayne Davis was improperly served. However, to avoid any issue involving the proper service of the subpoena, Mr. Davis was present in the court room. Accordingly, this issue was resolved.

         {¶5} The second issue involved applicant's notice that photographic evidence would be presented at the hearing. However, the notice did not contain the photographic evidence and the Attorney General only received this evidence one day prior to the hearing. Consequently, the Attorney General has had no opportunity to research the authenticity of the photographs, accordingly, they should be denied admission into evidence.

         {¶6} Applicant countered that the notice described what the pictures would show. Applicant argued a foundation would have to be established, and if successfully done the photos should be admitted into evidence.

         {¶7} In response, the Attorney General has no dispute that Mr. Sziber is a victim of criminally injurious conduct and he sustained his injuries as the result of the criminal conduct, however, these particular photographs cannot be verified.

         {¶8} Based on the fact that Mr. Sziber and applicant will be testifying with respect to the seriousness of injuries and all medical reports are contained in the claim file, applicant's motion to introduce the photographs is denied since the Attorney General has not had ample opportunity to prepare for their introduction.

         {¶9} Applicant made an opening statement describing the criminal conduct and the seriousness of the injuries sustained by Mr. Sziber. Applicant argued it was necessary for Sharon Grenig to travel from her home in Akron to assist her father, transport him to medical appointments, and provide basic home-care during his period of recovery, which lasted approximately three months. Applicant is requesting reimbursement for the mileage expenses and ordinary and necessary services she provided to her father during this period. Furthermore, while money did not exchange hands for the services provided it was always Mr. Sziber's intention that his daughter be compensated.

         {¶10} Ms. Grenig also seeks parking fees in conjunction with a Civil Protection Order, postage expenses for mailing relevant documentation to the Attorney General's office, and crime scene cleanup expenses.

         {¶11} The Attorney General waived opening statement. Applicant called Eugene Sziber to testify, via telephone. The Attorney General made a motion for separation of the witnesses, however, this motion was denied since a victim and applicant have the right to be present at the hearing.

         {¶12} Mr. Sziber testified about the events leading up to the assault and the assault itself. He related as the result of the assault he sustained seven fractures to his skull, a broken nose, fractures of both wrists, damage to his right eye, and almost bled to death.

         {¶13} He revealed during his two and one half day stay in the hospital, Sharon cleaned up the blood at the crime scene. Upon his discharge from the hospital on October 30, 2014, Sharon visited him on a daily basis providing cooking, cleaning, necessary household duties plus caring for his wounds and transporting him to doctor's appointments (It should be noted Mr. Sziber was 82 years-old at the time of the assault and had not driven a vehicle for several years).

         {¶14} Prior to his injuries, Mr. Sziber related he was able to care for himself with respect to cooking and cleaning and able to navigate stairs on his own accord. After his return home, he was extremely weak due to the loss of blood, unable to cook or dress himself and needed assistance to climb the stairs.

         {¶15} Upon cross-examination, the Attorney General questioned Mr. Sziber about home health care he was receiving prior to the incident. He related he was experiencing heart issues and his knee and legs were swelling up due to the retention of water. A nurse would come to his residence twice a week to bandage his legs. He acknowledged that the step-sister of the assailant performed housekeeping duties for him prior to the assault and also would drive him to the grocery store and run errands.

         {¶16} Mr. Sziber related he is retired and receiving $1, 157.00 per month in retirement income. He has Medicare as his insurance provider.

         {¶17} Upon redirect-examination, Mr. Sziber clarified that Amanda Britton (assailant's step-sister) helped him twice a month for four hours at a rate of $15.00 per hour plus he gave her $10.00 for gas. Her duties only consisted of housecleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. Whereupon, the testimony of Mr. Sziber was concluded.

         {¶18} Sharon Grenig was called to testify via telephone. Upon her Father's return home he was physically weak and emotionally traumatized, requiring her to perform all necessary household duties, pay outstanding bills, grocery shop, pick ...

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