Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Geauga
Appeal from the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
15 M 000679.
S. O'Brien, (For Plaintiffs-Appellants).
C. Schuster, Schuster & Simmons Co., L.P.A., (For
R. WRIGHT, J.
Appellants, Diane Jones, Thomas Jones, and Jimmy Lee Holden,
appeal the trial court's decision granting appellees'
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for which
relief can be granted. We affirm.
Appellants filed suit against appellees, the Geauga County
Republican Party Central Committee and Nancy McArthur
(collectively "the committee"), seeking declaratory
judgment, a permanent injunction, and other unspecified
Appellants' first count seeks declaratory judgment that
the committee on August 15, 2015 held a closed meeting at
which it "deliberated, and voted upon two issues: (a)
the amendment of the Central Committee's bylaws, and (b)
the appointment of six (6) new members to the Central
Committee to fill vacancies." Appellants aver that
McArthur, as chairperson of the committee caused members of
the public including appellants to be removed from the
meeting. However, the soon-to-be appointed, newest members of
the committee were permitted to stay and attend the meeting.
Appellants claim that the committee violated R.C. 121.22
requiring public officials to hold meetings open to the
They also aver that the committee did not hold a roll call
vote to adjourn to executive session and it did not indicate
the matters on which it would vote in executive session
contrary to R.C. 121.22(G), and that as such, the
committee's actions contrary to R.C. 121.22 are invalid.
Accordingly, appellants sought the trial court to declare
pursuant to R.C. 2721.01 that the committee's actions
taken at its August 15, 2015 meeting are invalid.
In its second count, appellants seek to enjoin the committee
from future violations of R.C. 121.22 via R.C. 121.22(I)
based on the committee's alleged violations identified in
In lieu of an answer, the committee filed a motion to dismiss
based on appellants' failure to state a claim upon which
relief could be granted. The trial court granted the
committee's motion to dismiss concluding that appellants
have no right to a declaratory judgment and dismissed their
complaint with prejudice.
Appellants assert one assigned error on appeal:
"The trial court committed prejudicial error in granting
Appellees' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, pursuant to Civ.R.
12(B)(6), based upon its opinion that the August 15, 2015
meeting of the Geauga County Republican Party Central
Committee was not subject to O.R.C. 121.22 because a meeting
of a county central committee of a political party held for
the purpose of appointing new members to the committee to
fill vacancies and to deliberate over amendments to its
bylaws does not constitute public business, as contemplated
by that code section, but the private, internal affairs of
R.C. 2721.02(A), authorizing declaratory judgment ...