Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull
DENNIS WATKINS, TRUMBULL COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ALFONSIA PERRY, Defendant-Appellant.
Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, Case
No. 2016 CV 02180.
Watkins, Trumbull County Prosecutor, and Ashleigh Musick,
Assistant Prosecutor, Administration Building, Fourth Floor,
160 High Street, N.W., Warren, OH 44481 (For
Alfonsia Perry, pro se, PID# A300-444, Richland Correctional
Institution, P.O. Box 8107, 1001 Olivesburg Road, Mansfield,
OH 44905 (Defendant-Appellant).
V. GRENDELL, J.
Defendant-appellant, Alfonsia Perry, appeals the trial
court's determination that he is a vexatious litigator
pursuant to R.C. 2323.52. The issues before this court are
whether, for the purposes of applying the statute of
limitations, postconviction proceedings constitute civil
actions; whether a trial court errs by sua sponte ruling on a
counterclaim challenging the constitutionality of a statute
when granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff
where the statute's constitutionality would have
constituted a defense to the plaintiffs claim; and whether a
trial court may consider a party's postconviction filings
to support a determination that he is a vexatious litigator.
For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the
On November 29, 2016, Dennis Watkins, the Trumbull County
Prosecuting Attorney, filed a Complaint to Designate
Defendant as Vexatious Litigator against Alfonsia Perry.
On December 20, 2016, Perry filed a Motion to Dismiss
Complaint pursuant to Civil Rule 12(B)(6), based on the
statute of limitations and the claim that the
"litigation identified in the complaint to declare the
Defendant a vexatious litigator is not reviewable by the
plain language of the statute." Watkins responded on
December 22, 2016.
On January 5, 2017, the trial court denied Perry's Motion
On January 31, 2017, Watkins filed a Motion for Summary
On February 13, 2017, Perry, with leave of court, filed an
Answer and Counterclaim. In the counterclaim, Perry asserted
that the Ohio Vexatious Litigator Statute, as amended by
Senate Bill 168, is unconstitutional. Watkins replied to the
counterclaim on February 22, 2017.
On February 24, 2017, Perry filed his Opposition against the
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.
On March 14, 2017, the trial court granted summary judgment
in Watkins' favor, determining that it was
"abundantly clear" that "Defendant exceeds any
and all definitions of a vexatious litigator." The court
summarized the litigation underlying its decision as follows:
Defendant was indicted by the January 1994 Term of the
Trumbull County Grand Jury on one count of Aggravated Murder
pursuant to R.C. 2903.01, for the beating death of his
live-in girlfriend, Jeanette Purdue, in Case Number
1994-CR-0042. On November 7, 1994, Perry was convicted of
Aggravated Murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Defendant filed his direct appeal through licensed counsel
with the Eleventh District Court of Appeals on December 6,
1994. The Eleventh District Court of Appeals affirmed the
Defendant's conviction and sentence. State v.
Perry (Aug. 29, 1997), 11th Dist. No. 1994-T-5165, 1997
WL 590789. The Ohio Supreme Court declined jurisdiction in
State v. Perry, 80 Ohio St.3d 1467 (1997).
After the disposition of his direct appeal, Defendant has
filed a number of post-conviction motions in this Court
resulting in several related appeals before the Eleventh
District Court of Appeals. For two of those appeals,
Defendant was represented by counsel. State v.
Perry, 11th Dist. No. 1995-T-5315, 1997 WL 269202[;]
State v. Perry, 11th Dist. No. 1996-T-5597, 1997 WL
772942. All subsequent appeals were handled pro se by
Defendant. Notwithstanding the amount of his post-judgment
litigation, Defendant has not obtained any modification of
his conviction or sentence, nor has any of his ancillary
litigation been successful.
State v. Perry, 11th Dist. No. 2008-T-0127,
2009-Ohio-1320[;] State v. Perry, 11th Dist. No.
2009-T-0090, 2010-Ohio-713, ¶ 17[;] State v.
Perry, 11th Dist. No. 2010-T-0014, 2010-Ohio-2956,
¶ 13[;] Perry v. McKay, 11th Dist. No.
2009-T-0023, 2009-Ohio-5767[;] State v. Perry, 11th
Dist. No. 2014-T-0095, 2015-Ohio-2899, ¶ 15[;] State
v. Perry, 11th Dist. No. 2016-T-0005, 2016-Ohio-7446.
Defendant currently has another ...