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Hernandez v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

November 21, 2017

William Hernandez, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Defendant-Appellee.

         APPEAL from the Court of Claims of Ohio Ct. of Cl. No. 2016-00150

         On brief:

          William Hernandez, pro se.

         On brief:

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Jeanna V. Jacobus, for appellee.

          DECISION

          KLATT, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, William Hernandez, appeals from a judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ("ODRC"). Because appellant did not present any evidence qualifying as expert medical testimony to establish the standard of care, breach, and proximate cause for his medical negligence claim, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} Hernandez, an inmate at the Grafton Correctional Institution ("GCI"), filed a complaint for medical negligence against ODRC. In the complaint, Hernandez alleged that he suffered injuries as a result of GCI's medical personnel failing to examine, detect, and treat a MRSA infection. A case management conference was held, and the trial court ordered Hernandez to furnish ODRC with the names of any expert witnesses and a copy of their reports on or before July 25, 2016, and that no discovery would be allowed after September 21, 2016, without leave of court.

         {¶ 3} On August 15, 2016, Hernandez filed a motion to compel discovery after ODRC objected to providing Hernandez with a copy of his GCI medical records pursuant to R.C. 5120.21(C). On that same day, Hernandez also filed a motion to extend discovery timelines and a partial list of expert witnesses. A month later, ODRC filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Hernandez could not prove his claim of medical negligence because he failed to produce expert testimony addressing the issues of standard of care, breach, and proximate cause.

         {¶ 4} The trial court denied Hernandez's motion to compel on the basis that he failed to follow the procedure required by R.C. 5120.21(C) to obtain his medical records and that he failed to recite his efforts to resolve the discovery matter with defense counsel as required by Civ.R. 37(E). The court then addressed ODRC's motion for summary judgment. It concluded that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that ODRC was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Hernandez could not prevail on his claim of medical negligence after failing to provide counsel for defense with the names of any expert witnesses or a copy of their reports by the deadline established by the court.

         {¶ 5} Hernandez appeals, assigning the following errors:

[I.] THE PROVISIONS OF O.R.C. §5120.21(C)(2) WHICH ACT TO PREVENT A PRO SE PRISONER PLAINTIFF FROM PRESENTING HIS OWN MEDICAL RECORDS AS EVIDENCE IN A CIVIL ACTION DEPRIVE THE PLAINTIFF OF ACCESS TO THE COURT AND ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS VIOLATIVE OF THE FIRST AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS.
[II.] THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN ITS ERRONEOUS FACTUAL FINDINGS THAT PLAINTIFF FAILED TO RECITE HIS EFFORTS TO SEEK COMPLIANCE BY THE DEFENDANT IN HIS MOTION TO ...

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