Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont
APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
2015 CVD 00290
Weisser, for plaintiff-appellant
DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, James M. Carroll, for
plaintiff-appellee, Stephen Buehrer, Admin., BWC
Stephen Wirthlin, for appellee, Sunesis Construction Co.
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Chad Courtney, appeals the
decision of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas,
affirming the denial of his workers' compensation appeal.
For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.
2} Courtney was injured while working for Sunesis
Construction Company and subsequently filed a workers'
compensation claim. The Bureau of Workers' Compensation
(BWC) approved Courtney's claim for the following
conditions: cervical strain, lumbar strain, transverse
process fracture L2 left, transverse process fracture L3
left, and subcutaneous contusion of the left buttock.
3} Thereafter, Courtney sought to amend his claim to
allow for additional conditions, including the substantial
aggravation of pre-existing degenerative disk disease. That
claim, however, was denied by the BWC. Courtney appealed that
decision to the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas.
4} A trial de novo was held on March 3, 2016. Prior
to the introduction of evidence, the court indicated its
intention to have the parties submit written closing
arguments in lieu of oral argument. Those written arguments
were to be submitted "in blind, " i.e., submitted
directly to the trial court without rebuttal from either
side. As reflected by the record, the trial court stated:
TRIAL COURT: It's just really not going to fit in my
schedule. Because what happens is when I have trials, I keep
my morning docket light, hopefully. And I end up having
fairly substantial dockets on the Thursday and Friday of each
week. And it's just a very - - it's just difficult.
But that's the process, obviously. Mr. Courtney, I'm
sure, will testify, and then I will review the doctors'
depositions, and we'll get the written closings at - - on
this case. And then once that's done, obviously I - -
I'll have everything I need to issue a decision. All
APPELLANT'S COUNSEL: Very good.
TRIAL COURT: Thank you very much. Go ahead.
party objected to this decision. Following the close of
evidence, the trial court again noted the request for written
TRIAL COURT: All right. And - and as I've indicated, what
I'd like to do, normally I would do a - an oral
statement, but I think we'll just give you about 2 to 3
weeks to just submit a brief written closing statement. I
mean, it's a pretty straightforward case, with all due
respect to the parties from the standpoint of - of the
circumstances, and the injury, the allowed claims, and it
happens - it boils down ...