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Progressive Direct Insurance Co. v. Harrison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 12, 2017

Progressive Direct Insurance Company, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Stanley Harrison, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, C.P.C. No. 16CV-4738

         On brief:

          Keis George LLP and Matthew C. Workman, for appellee.

         On brief:

          Cooper & Pennington Co., LPA and Christopher M. Cooper, for appellant.

          DECISION

          HORTON, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Stanley Harrison, appeals from the April 12, 2017 decision of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting plaintiff-appellee's, Progressive Direct Insurance Company, motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} As pertinent to this appeal, this matter arises from an automobile accident that occurred on December 2, 2014, involving appellee's insured and appellant. Appellee filed a complaint on May 17, 2016, asserting a claim of negligence against appellant and seeking to recover $20, 000 it paid to its insured for their personal injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and wage loss pursuant to its insurance policy.

         {¶ 3} On July 5, 2016, appellee electronically served appellant with discovery requests, including requests for admissions ("RFAs") pursuant to Civ.R. 36, and provided him with 28 days to respond. In the RFAs, appellee requested appellant to admit that: (a) an accident occurred on December 2, 2014 between appellant and appellee's insured, (b) appellee insured the vehicle being driven by appellee's insured, (c) appellee's insured's vehicle was damaged and the three occupants were injured, (d) the reasonable value of the property damage and injuries was $20, 000, (e) appellee paid $20, 000 to its insureds, (f) appellee became subrogated to the rights of its insured to the extent of its payment, (g) the damages and injuries were the result of appellant's negligence, and (h) appellee's insureds were not comparatively negligent.

         {¶ 4} Responses to the RFAs were due by August 2, 2016. However, appellant failed to respond. On August 9, 2016, appellee granted an extension to appellant until August 31, 2016 to respond to the discovery, including the RFAs. Again, appellant did not respond. On October 24, 2016, appellant provided partial responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents, but no responses to the RFAs. That same day, counsel for appellee emailed appellant's attorney explaining that responses to the RFAs had not been received and giving an additional extension until November 4, 2016 to respond, or appellee would be filing a motion to deem the admissions admitted. Appellant did not respond to the email or the RFAs.

         {¶ 5} On November 22, 2016, appellee filed a motion to deem the request for admissions admitted. Appellant filed a memorandum contra and, on December 3, 2016, appellant attempted to respond to the RFAs. On December 14, 2016, the trial court granted appellee's motion finding that, because appellant did not timely reply to the appellee's RFAs under Civ.R. 36(A), the matters set forth therein were automatically deemed admitted.

         {¶ 6} On December 30, 2016, appellee filed a motion for summary judgment based on the admissions that laid out each element of negligence, including damages. Appellee argued that no genuine issues of material fact remained and that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Appellant filed a memorandum contra. On April 12, 2017, the trial court granted appellee's motion for summary judgment. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal.

         II. ...


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