FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE AKRON MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 15CV05635
STEPHEN J. PRUNESKI and BRANDON T. PAULEY, Attorneys at Law,
M. HASBROOK and EMILY CIECKA WILCHECK, Attorneys at Law, for
MITCHELL M. TALLAN and LORI E. THOMSON, Attorneys at Law, for
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. SCHAFER, Presiding Judge.
Plaintiff-Appellant, Ohio Edison Company, appeals the
judgment of the Akron Municipal Court. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm in part, and reverse in part.
Ohio Edison filed a complaint against Defendant-Appellant,
Charles D. Royer, alleging that Mr. Royer negligently
operated his automobile and caused a collision that resulted
in damage to Ohio Edison's property. Ohio Edison claimed
that Mr. Royer's negligence caused damage to its utility
pole located on Canton Road in Akron, Ohio. Ohio Edison
claimed damages in the amount of $4, 112.76: the cost
incurred to repair the damage to the utility's electrical
distribution system by replacing the damaged pole.
Before proceeding to a bench trial, the parties entered joint
stipulations upon the record. Mr. Royer stipulated to
liability. The parties agreed that just two issues remained
for the trial court to determine: (1) whether indirect costs
Ohio Edison claimed due were properly calculated pursuant to
law; and (2) what amount of the direct costs claimed due were
properly recoverable as damages under Ohio law.
The matter proceeded to a bench trial on July 15, 2016, and,
upon the conclusion of the proceedings, the trial judge took
the matter under advisement. The trial court issued its
judgment entry with findings of fact and conclusions of law
on November 29, 2016. The court granted judgment in favor of
Ohio Edison and against Mr. Royer in the amount of $1,
721.64, together with costs and statutory interest from the
date of judgment.
Ohio Edison timely appeals the judgment entry, raising two
assignments of error for our review.
of Error I
trial court erred when it applied depreciation to Ohio
Edison's repair costs.
In its first assignment of error, Ohio Edison argues the
trial court erred when it depreciated Ohio Edison's
repair costs. In the first instance, Ohio Edison contends
that the court erred in depreciating any of its repair costs,
arguing that it is entitled to recover its entire repair
costs when an individual negligently damages its electric
distribution system. Alternatively, Ohio Edison argues that
depreciation should have been limited to the material costs
of the utility pole, rather than depreciation of all of the
Ohio Edison has confined this assignment of error to raise a
pure question of law: whether the trial court erred in
relying upon a legal standard to allow for depreciation of
the amount of the repair costs awarded Ohio Edison as
damages. Whether a "trial court correctly applied the
law to the facts of a case presents a question of law, "
and we apply a de novo standard of review to questions of
law. Copley Twp. v. City of Fairlawn, 9th Dist.
Summit Nos. 27010, 27012, 27040, 2015-Ohio-1121, ¶ 16;
quoting Fuline v. Green, 9th Dist. Summit Nos.
25704, 25936, 2012-Ohio-2749, ¶ 6. Therefore, we
consider the question of law without deference to the trial
court's decision, while affording due deference to the
findings of fact in the trial court's judgment. See