Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mitchell v. Holzer Medical Center

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Gallia

September 27, 2017

RUBIN A. MITCHELL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
HOLZER MEDICAL CENTER, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

         CIVIL CASE FROM COMMON PLEAS COURT

          Rubin A. Mitchell, Orient, Ohio, pro se.

          Zachary J. Lyon, Columbus, Ohio, for appellees Kyle E. McCausland, M.D., Katha Wilcoxon, R.N., and Holzer Medical Center.

          Michael DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, and Morgan A. Linn, Ohio Assistant Attorney General, Columbus, Ohio, for appellees Ohio State Highway Patrol, Sergeant Nicholas Johnson, Trooper James Trelka, Trooper Keith Fellure, Trooper Mark McFann, and Lieutenant Karla Taulbee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          ABELE, J.

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal from a Gallia County Common Pleas Court judgment that granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of Holzer Medical Center, Kyle McCausland, M.D., Katha Wilcoxon, R.N. (the Holzer defendants), Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Nicolas S. Johnson, Trooper James M. Trelka, Trooper Keith Fellure, Lieutenant Karla Taulbee, and Trooper Mark McFann (the OSHP defendants), defendants below and appellees herein. Rubin A. Mitchell, plaintiff below and appellant herein, raises the following assignments of error for review:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND VIOLATED THE PLAINTIFF['S] DUE PROCESS RIGHTS BY NOT RULING ON SUBMITTED MOTIONS IN A TIMELY MANNER."
SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATING THE STATUE [SIC] OF LIMITATIONS CLAUSE."
THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT VIOLATED THE APPELLANT'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS IN NOT APPOINTING HIM COUNSEL IN THE PRESENT CASE."

         {¶ 2} On June 21, 2016, appellant filed a pro se complaint against appellees that asserted that, as a result of a May 31, 2014 traffic stop, he was subjected to an unconstitutional cavity search-both at the OSHP post and at Holzer Medical Center. Appellant alleged, in essence, that the series of events that surrounded the May 31, 2014 traffic stop and cavity search violated his civil rights and constituted assault, battery, and negligence. Appellant additionally requested the trial court to appoint counsel to represent him.

         {¶ 3} After appellees answered, appellant filed an extension of time to respond to appellees' answer and an extension of time to file a motion for discovery, a motion for leave to amend the complaint, a motion for leave for joinder, and a renewed motion to appoint counsel. Appellant also requested additional time to serve interrogatories.

         {¶ 4} Both appellees subsequently filed Civ.R. 12(C) motions for judgment on the pleadings. The OSHP defendants alleged that appellant's complaint is barred by the two-year statute of limitations applicable to claims alleging civil rights violations. The Holzer defendants asserted that appellant's complaint is barred by the one-year statutes of limitations applicable to medical claims and to assault and battery claims.

         {¶ 5} Appellant did not respond to either of the motions for judgment on the pleadings, but instead filed (1) a "request for joinder" that asked the court to "join all parties that [were] named in the complaint, " (2) a motion for extension of time to file affidavits of merit, (3) another motion to appoint counsel, and (4) a request for an extension of time "to file all answers, reply briefs, [and] requests for discoveries from defendants."

         {¶ 6} On October 6, 2016, the trial court overruled all of appellant's outstanding motions and granted appellees' motions for judgment on the pleadings. This appeal followed.[1]

         I

         {¶ 7} Before we consider appellant's assignments of error, we observe that appellant is acting pro se in this appeal. Because we ordinarily prefer to review a case on its merits rather than dismiss an action due to procedural technicalities, we generally afford considerable leniency to pro se litigants. E.g., Viars v. Ironton, 4th Dist. Lawrence No. 16CA8, 2016-Ohio-4912, 2016 WL 3670171, ¶25; Miller v. Miller, 4th Dist. Athens No. 14CA6, 2014-Ohio-5127, 2014 WL 6488876, ¶13; In re Estate of Pallay, 4th Dist. Washington No. 05CA45, 2006-Ohio-3528, 2006 WL 1875899, ¶10; Robb v. Smallwood, 165 Ohio App.3d 385, 2005-Ohio-5863, 846 N.E.2d 878, ¶5 (4th Dist.); Besser v. Griffey, 88 Ohio App.3d 379, 382, 623 N.E.2d 1326 (4th Dist.1993); State ex rel. Karmasu v. Tate, 83 Ohio App.3d 199, 206, 614 N.E.2d 827 (4th Dist.1992). "Limits do exist, however. Leniency does not mean that we are required 'to find substance where none exists, to advance an argument for a pro se litigant or to address issues not properly raised.'" State v. Headlee, 4th Dist. Washington No. 08CA6, 2009-Ohio-873, 2009 WL 478085, ¶6, quoting State v. Nayar, 4th Dist. Lawrence No. 07CA6, 2007-Ohio-6092, 2007 WL 3407169, ¶28. Furthermore, we will not "conjure up questions never squarely asked or construct full-blown claims from convoluted reasoning." Karmasu, 83 Ohio App.3d at 206. We will, however, consider a pro se litigant's appellate brief so long as it "contains at least some cognizable assignment of error." Robb at ¶5; accord Coleman v. Davis, 4th Dist. Jackson No. 10CA5, 2011-Ohio-506, 2011 WL 345772, ¶14 (considering pro se litigant's brief when it contains "some semblance of compliance" with appellate rules of practice and procedure). In the case sub judice, we believe that appellant's brief does contain some cognizable assignments of error that we may consider on the merits.

         II

         {¶ 8} For ease of discussion, we first address appellant's second assignment of error. In his second assignment of error, appellant contends that the trial court erred by dismissing his complaint because the court incorrectly determined that the statute of limitations bars his complaint. Appellant appears to agree that, at most, a two-year statute of limitations applies to his claims against appellees. Appellant's brief, however, fails to clarify why he believes the trial court wrongly determined that he did not file his complaint within the two-year statute of limitations.

         {¶ 9} Appellees argue that the trial court correctly determined that the statute of limitations bars appellant's complaint, and thus, that the court properly granted their motions for judgment on the pleadings. Appellees point out that appellant's complaint alleges that the alleged wrongful acts occurred on May 31, 2014, and that he did not file his complaint until June 21, 2016. Appellees therefore assert that appellant failed to file his complaint within either (1) the one-year statutes of limitations ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.