The State ex rel. Evans, Appellant,
McGrath, Judge, Appellee.
Submitted June 20, 2017
from the Court of Appeals for Franklin County, No. 16AP-238,
William H. Evans Jr., pro se.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Bridget C. Coontz,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
1} We affirm the judgment of the Tenth District
Court of Appeals dismissing the petition of appellant,
William H. Evans Jr., for a writ of prohibition against
appellee, Court of Claims Judge Patrick M. McGrath.
2} Evans, an inmate at Ross Correctional
Institution, filed a negligence action against the Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in 2014. Judge
McGrath dismissed the action, but the appellate court
reversed the judgment and remanded the cause for further
proceedings. Evans v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. &
Corr., 10th Dist. Franklin No. 15AP-463, 2015-Ohio-3492,
¶ 12, 17. On remand, Judge McGrath denied Evans's
motion for summary judgment.
3} On March 30, 2016, Evans filed a petition for a
writ of prohibition in the Tenth District Court of Appeals,
arguing that Judge McGrath lacked jurisdiction to deny his
summary-judgment motion. According to Evans, Judge McGrath is
"holding proceedings which are barred by 'law of the
case, ' 'res judicata, ' and the 'mandate
4} On December 22, 2016, the court of appeals
dismissed Evans's petition for noncompliance with the
mandatory filing requirements of R.C. 2969.25(C)(1). Evans
5} Under R.C. 2969.25(C)(1), an inmate who moves to
waive payment of filing fees when filing a petition for a
writ in the court of appeals, as here, must file with his or
her petition "[a] statement that sets forth the balance
in the inmate account of the inmate for each of the preceding
sixth months, as certified by the institutional
cashier." This court has long held that this requirement
is "mandatory, and failure to comply * * * subjects an
inmate's action to dismissal." State ex rel.
White v. Bechtel, 99 Ohio St.3d 11, 2003-Ohio-2262, 788
N.E.2d 634, ¶ 5.
6} Evans concedes that his filing is not in
compliance with R.C. 2969.25(C)(1), but he offers several
reasons why we should reverse the Tenth District's
dismissal of his petition. First, he argues that R.C.
2969.25(C)(1) does not require strict compliance and that
interpreting it as mandatory is unconstitutional. But he has
failed to rebut the presumed constitutionality of the
statute, and we have previously rejected a similar argument
raised by another inmate. See Boles v. Knab, 129
Ohio St.3d 222, 2011-Ohio-2859, 951 N.E.2d 389, ¶ 3;
see also Cleveland v. State, 128 Ohio St.3d 135,
2010-Ohio-6318, 942 N.E.2d 370, ¶ 6 (statutes are
presumed constitutional and will not be invalidated unless
the challenger establishes that the legislation is
unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt).
7} Second, Evans argues that he should be given an
opportunity to cure the defect. But noncompliance with R.C.
2969.25(C)(1) cannot be cured by amendment after a petition
is filed. State ex rel. Jackson v. Calabrese, 143
Ohio St.3d 409, 2015-Ohio-2918, 38 N.E.3d 880, ¶ 5. And
"[p]ro se litigants are not afforded greater rights than
parties who retain counsel" or entitled to a court's
assistance "in remedying deficient pleadings."
Prewitt v. Wood Cty. Prosecutor's Office, 6th
Dist. Wood No. WD-15-029, 2016-Ohio-1477, ¶ 5.
8} Finally, Evans argues that an internal prison
policy-the cashier allegedly "will not send the 6-month
statement to the inmate"-excuses his noncompliance. But
as we have previously explained, a prisoner can forward his
petition and other documents to the prison cashier so the
cashier can mail all pertinent documentation to the court
clerk. Boles at ¶ 4. Indeed, Evans's own
brief suggests that he has already done just that, refiling
his petition in the Tenth District with the appropriate
documentation. Thus, the alleged prison policy did not
prevent Evans from complying with R.C. 2969.25(C)(1).
9} For these reasons, we affirm the judgment of the
court of appeals dismissing Evans's prohibition petition.
We also deny Evans's "motion for this court to