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Francis v. State

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

June 12, 2017

JEREMY FRANCIS Appellant
v.
STATE OF OHIO, LORAIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE Appellee

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 16CV190346

          JEREMY FRANCIS, pro se, Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and GERALD A. INNES, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JULIE A. SCHAFER JUSTICE.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-Appellant, Jeremy Francis, appeals the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas granting Defendant-Appellee, the Lorain County Prosecutor's Office's, motion to dismiss. We affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} On August 25, 2016, Mr. Francis filed a complaint pro se against the Lorain County Prosecutor's Office ("Lorain County") in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. Mr. Francis' complaint prays "for the court and grand jury for charges to be filed against the Prosecutors office for Legal Malpractice according to: Giving a ruling against state law, Disregarding court procedure, With holding court information, Defamation of character." (sic.) Mr. Francis' complaint alleges that Lorain County committed malpractice, fraud, and defamation during the pendency of his criminal case in 2003. Mr. Francis' complaint also seeks $1, 140, 000.00 in damages.

         {¶3} In response to Mr. Francis' complaint, Lorain County filed a Civ.R. 12(B)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis that Mr. Francis' various claims were time-barred pursuant to the statute of limitations contained in R.C. 2305.11. Mr. Francis filed a reply brief in response to Lorain County's motion to dismiss, wherein he argues that even if the statute of limitations is applicable in this matter, Lorain County must still be held accountable for their purported actions. On October 25, 2016, the trial court granted Lorain County's motion after concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Mr. Francis' complaint because the causes of action pleaded therein were time-barred by the statutes of limitations set forth in R.C. 2305.11 and R.C. 2305.09, respectively.

         {¶4} Mr. Francis filed this timely appeal and presents one assignment of error for our review.

         II.

         Assignment of Error

Ruling did not consider that the docket sheet and record were the primary argument and evidence of the complaint and were not disclosed upon.

         {¶5} The substance of Mr. Francis' sole assignment of error is unclear, but he appears to argue that the trial court erred by granting Lorain County's motion to dismiss without addressing the merits of the allegations set forth in his complaint. Moreover, Mr. Francis seemingly claims that the trial court erred by concluding that his claims are time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitation because "[t]ime limits are waived where there is * * * proof of innocence."

         {¶6} Initially, we note that Lorain County filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B)(1), arguing that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Mr. Francis' claims. However, in asserting that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter, Lorain County argued that Mr. Francis' malpractice and defamation claims were barred by the one-year statute of limitations set forth in R.C. 2305.11. Thus, the substance of Lorain County's motion is more akin to a Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Ohio Bur. Of Workers' Comp. v. McKinley,130 Ohio St.3d 156, 2011-Ohio-4432, ¶ 13 ("A complaint may be dismissed under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failing to comply with the applicable statute of limitations when the complaint on its face conclusively indicates that the action is time-barred"), citing Doe v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 109 Ohio St.3d 491, 2006-Ohio-2625, ΒΆ 11. Indeed, the trial court implicitly treated Lorain County's motion to dismiss as a ...


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