Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
ROBIN D. RITCHIE, et al. PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
MAHONING COUNTY, et al. DEFENDANT-APPELLANT
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County,
Ohio Case No. 14 CV 1524
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Kimberly Young Attorney Matthew
Defendant-Appellant Attorney Paul Gains Mahoning County
Prosecutor Attorney Gina Bricker Assistant Prosecutor.
Mary DeGenaro Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Cheryl L. Waite, J.
Defendant-Appellant, Mahoning County appeals the trial
court's judgment finding that it did not have
jurisdiction to consider the County's motion for summary
judgment asserting sovereign immunity precluded a suit
against the County filed by Plaintiffs-Appellees, Robin and
Rocky Ritchie. The trial court had previously issued a
judgment entry overruling a motion to dismiss on the issue of
sovereign immunity, which the County did not appeal.
The County's summary judgment motion stricken by the
trial court was actually a motion for reconsideration, which
is a nullity in Ohio. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for
lack of jurisdiction.
and Procedural History
The Ritchies filed a complaint against the County and
Mahoning County Dog Pound employees alleging negligence and
reckless conduct for injuries Robin sustained when she was
attacked by a pit bull at the County Pound when she was on
the premises to adopt a dog.
The County filed a motion to dismiss asserting the County and
its employees were engaged in a governmental function and
immune from suit pursuant to R.C. 2744.02. The trial court
overruled the motion to dismiss in a one-sentence judgment
entry. No appeal was taken.
More than seven months later, the County filed a motion,
captioned "motion for summary judgment" which, like
the motion to dismiss, relied exclusively on the allegations
in the complaint. The County once again argued that it was
engaged in a governmental function. The only distinction in
the summary judgment motion, apart from the citation to the
Civ. R. 56(B) standard of review, was the County's
reliance on a Fifth District case which was decided less than
one month after the trial court overruled the County's
motion to dismiss.
In the trial court's judgment entry striking the
County's summary judgment motion, it recognized that its
judgment entry overruling the motion to dismiss was a final
appealable order, pursuant to Hubbell v. City of
Xenia, 115 Ohio St.3d 77, 2007-Ohio-4839. "When a
trial court denies a motion in which a political subdivision
or its employee seeks immunity under R.C. Chapter 2744, that
order denies the benefit of an alleged immunity and is
therefore a final, appealable order pursuant to R.C.
2744.02(C)." Hubbell, syllabus. Because the
County did not appeal the judgment entry overruling the
motion to dismiss, the trial court reasoned that it did not
have jurisdiction to reconsider the same arguments and struck
the summary judgment motion from the record.
For clarity of analysis, we will consider both of the