The State ex rel. Rebecca Showman, Relator,
State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Respondent.
Bainbridge Firm, and Carol L. Herdman, for relator.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, John J. Danish, and Mary
Therese J. Bridge, for respondent.
1} Relator Rebecca Showman has filed an original
action requesting this court issue a writ of mandamus
ordering respondent State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio
to vacate its February 18, 2016 decision denying
relator's application for disability benefits and to
grant the application.
2} This matter was referred to a magistrate of this
court pursuant to Civ.R. 53 and LocR. 13(M) of the Tenth
District Court of Appeals. The magistrate issued the appended
decision, including findings of fact and conclusions of law,
recommending this court deny relator's request for a writ
of mandamus. No objections have been filed to that decision.
3} Finding no error of law or other defect on the
face of the magistrate's decision, this court adopts the
magistrate's decision as our own, including the findings
of fact and conclusions of law. In accordance with the
magistrate's decision, we deny relator's requested
writ of mandamus.
and BRUNNER, JJ., concur.
on January 31, 2017
KENNETH W. MACKE, MAGISTRATE
4} In this original action, relator, Rebecca
Showman, requests a writ of mandamus ordering respondent,
State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio ("STRS"),
to vacate its February 18, 2016 decision that denies
relator's application for a disability benefit, and to
enter a decision that grants the application.
Findings of Fact:
5} 1. On September 3, 2014, relator completed an
application for a disability benefit on a form provided by
STRS. On the form, relator indicated that she is employed by
the North Fork Local School District as a fifth grade
6} Section 4 of the form asks the applicant to list
specific diagnoses or conditions that are the cause of
disability and that will incapacitate the applicant for the
performance of the applicant's most recent STRS position
for at least 12 months from the date the application is
received. In response, relator listed three conditions: (1)
clinical depression, (2) panic disorder/anxiety, and (3)
7} Section 5 of the form asks the applicant to
identify the attending physician. Relator identified Dr.
8} 2. On August 31, 2014, Dr. DeShetler completed an
STRS form captioned "Attending Physician's
Report." Dr. DeShetler indicated that he specializes in
9} The form asks the attending physician to certify
whether the applicant is incapacitated for the performance of
duty and whether disability is considered permanent. In the
space provided, Dr. DeShetler wrote that disability "may
be" considered permanent.
10} 3. By letter dated September 10, 2014, STRS
We received an Attending Physician's Report from
Dr. Donald DeShetler, recommending that you do not meet STRS
Ohio's definition of disability. Therefore, your
application for benefits cannot be processed.
* * *
In order to continue processing your current disability
application, we will need an Attending Physician's
Report, completed by a psychiatrist (M.D. or D.O.)
within 30 days of this letter.
11} 4. On October 6, 2014, psychiatrist Sahaja
Reddy, M.D., completed an STRS attending physicians report.
In response to the forms query, Dr. Reddy certified that
relator is incapacitated for the performance of duty and that
the disability is expected to last 12 or more months. Dr.
Reddy's report was received by STRS on October 8, 2014.
12} Attached to Dr. Reddy's report is a
three-page September 15, 2014 report of certified nurse
practitioner ("CNP") Laura Davis regarding
relator's treatment at Dublin Springs. CNP Davis'
The patient had first presented to the Intensive Outpatient
Program for Mental Health on September 10, 2014, with
symptoms of high anxiety and panic with agoraphobia as well
as major depressive disorder symptoms. She was evaluated by
myself on September 10th and I had recommended to her at the
time to be reassessed for the Partial Hospitalization
Program. She reports today that she was reluctant to do so,
but her husband had told her to follow whatever guidelines
the staff here had set out for her, and so she did present
for reassessment to the Partial Hospitalization Program. The
patient reports that she has been depressed and anxious for
many years. However, her anxiety has turned to panic in the
last couple years due to changes instituted at her job as an
elementary school teacher. She is very unhappy about new
state testing requirements and the reports she has to
prepared [sic] as well as the evaluation criteria she is
submitted to. This apparently has caused her a great deal of
distress and makes her feel as though it is impossible for
her to work. * * * On her admission to the Intensive
Outpatient Program, I took a great deal of time with her to
explain that she needed more medication. She had been seeing
her primary care physician who had prescribed her 0.5 mg of
Klonopin 2 times daily and nothing else. * * * She did agree
to be prescribed Remeron and initially I had wanted to start
her on 15 mg. Her note from the Intensive Outpatient Program
states 15 mg. However, at the last minute, the patient had
changed her mind and wanted to try only 7.5 mg. She reports
her sleep was great the first night as it had been very
disordered prior to taking the Remeron, but she now reports
she is back to frequent awakenings about 6 times a night,
though she is able to go back to sleep fairly quickly. She
reports no suicidal ideation today and last experienced
suicidal ideation on Friday after seeing me for assessment
for the Intensive Outpatient Program. She reports the impetus
for her suicidal ideation is worrying about the financial
burden she is placing on her husband if she is to go through
with the disability. The patient seems a good deal calmer
today but reports her anxiety is still at an 8/10, which is
down from 10/10 last Friday. She reports her depression is a
* * *
MENTAL STATUS EXAMINATION
Mood is depressed and anxious. The patient is not tearful
today as she had been last Friday. Thought content is without
suicidal ideation, but last experienced on September 10th.
She denies any history of homicidal ideation or psychotic
symptoms. Thought processes remain hopeless, helpless, and
infused with anxiety. The patient is also perseverated [sic]
on whether or not to leave her job as a teacher. Recent and
remote memory are impaired with increase in her mood
symptoms. Attention and concentration are likewise impaired
with an increase in her mood symptoms. Associations are
intact. General fund of knowledge is average to above
average. Judgment is fair at best. Insight is rather poor.
1. Major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe, without
2. Generalized anxiety disorder.
3. Panic disorder with agoraphobia.
AXIS II: Deferred.
2. Premature ventricular contractions with anxiety and
AXIS IV: Severe occupational stress.
AXIS V: Global Assessment of Functioning is 39.
* * *
TREATMENT AND DISCHARGE PLAN NEEDS The patient is admitted to
Dublin Springs Hospital Partial Hospitalization Program where
she will take part in all group activities and therapy at the
direction of the mental health group therapist. The
patient's Remeron will be increased to 15 mg daily and
possibly 30 mg daily if her symptoms do not improve. I will
consider the addition of an antidepressant if her anxiety
abates further and she is still experiencing high depressive
symptoms or a return of her suicidal ideation.
13} 5. By letter dated October 14, 2014, Earl N.
Metz, M.D., the chair of the Medical Review Board
("MRB"), informed relator:
Acting on behalf of the Medical Review Board, I have advised
a period of psychiatric treatment for [six] months prior to
the determination of disability. This is based on the current
information in the medical records which indicate disability
for psychiatric reasons. I have determined that medical
treatment offers a reasonable expectation of correction or
rehabilitation of the disabling condition to the extent that
the applicant could be expected to be capable of performing
teaching duties within a reasonable time, but not to exceed
six months as allowed in Section 3307.62 of the Ohio Revised
14} 6. By letter dated October 14, 2014, STRS
After reviewing your attending physician reports, the Medical
Review Board determined that you must secure psychiatric
treatment for six months before further consideration of your
application for disability benefits. The Retirement System
cannot assume financial responsibility for such treatment.
Following six months of treatment, you should request your
doctor to ...