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Youngstown Education Association v. Youngstown City School District Board of Education

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning

May 31, 2017

YOUNGSTOWN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, OEA/NEA ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
YOUNGSTOWN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Mahoning County, Ohio Case No. 2015 CV 02979.

          For Plaintiffs-Appellees Attorney Ira Mirkin Attorney Danielle Murphy

          For Defendants-Appellants Attorney James E. Roberts Attorney David S. Barbee

          JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          PER CURIAM.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Youngstown City School District Board of Education (the Board) appeals a judgment entry of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court rejecting a magistrate's decision granting its motion to confirm an arbitration award and denying the motion of Plaintiff-Appellee Youngstown Education Association, OEA/NEA (YEA) to vacate that same award, and returning the matter to the magistrate for further proceedings. The matter now comes before this Court on YEA's motion to dismiss for lack of a final appealable order. We conclude that the judgment entry appealed from does not constitute a final appealable order.

         {¶2} YEA is a union representing certain employees of the Board, including employee Donna Richards. In 2012, YEA filed a grievance on behalf of Richards alleging the Board had not provided her with disability income protection insurance. YEA and the Board entered into a settlement agreement, but YEA later filed a grievance alleging that the Board had failed to provide disability income protection insurance for Richards.

         {¶3} The matter proceeded to arbitration. The arbitrator concluded the grievance was not arbitrable for lack of jurisdiction because YEA had withdrawn its initial grievance pursuant to the settlement agreement. Therefore, it had waived and released the Board from any further claims raised in the grievance.

         {¶4} YEA filed a motion to vacate the arbitrator's award (decision) in the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. The Board responded with a counterclaim and a motion to confirm the decision. The matter was referred to a magistrate. Finding no error with the arbitrator's decision, the magistrate denied YEA's motion and granted the Board's motion.

         {¶5} YEA filed objections to the magistrate's decision and the Board filed a response. On February 16, 2017, the trial court filed a judgment entry rejecting the magistrate's decision and returned the matter to the magistrate for further proceedings. This appeal followed.

         {¶6} Civ.R. 53, which governs matters referred to a magistrate, specifically authorizes the action the trial court took in this case:

(b) Action on magistrate's decision. Whether or not objections are timely filed, a court may adopt or reject a magistrate's decision in whole or in part, with or without modification. A court may hear a previously-referred matter, take additional evidence, or return a matter to a magistrate.

(Emphasis added.) Civ.R. 53(D)(4).

         {¶7} R.C. 2505.02 defines a final order for purposes of appeal. An order is a final order when it affects a substantial right in an action that in effect determines the action and prevents a judgment. R.C. 2505.02(B)(1). In ...


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