United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #20)
of Plaintiff, Sean DeCrane, to Certify a Question of Ohio Law
to the Ohio Supreme Court. For the following reasons, the
Motion is denied.
is a retired City of Cleveland Division of Fire Battalion
Chief. He alleges that Assistant Safety Director Edward
Eckart, along with James Votypka and Christopher Chumita,
repeatedly retaliated against him based on the mistaken
belief that Plaintiff disclosed to a reporter that a previous
fire chief lacked the required continuing education to
maintain his professional certification. Allegedly, the
retaliation included: repeated failures to promote him;
seizing the Fire Training Academy's records while
Plaintiff served as Director of Training; making false
allegations against him about deficient record-keeping;
trying to have him criminally prosecuted; concocting false
administrative charges against him; delaying a state audit
that would have cleared him; relaying false information to
the media; ignoring his emails and refusing to meet with him;
trying to outsource training activities; and trying to damage
his reputation and career.
October 31, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against the
City, Eckart, Votypka and Chumita for: (1) First and
Fourteenth Amendment Retaliation under § 1983; (2) False
Light Invasion of Privacy (Eckart); and (3) a state-law claim
for Intimidation under R.C. § 2921.03 (Eckart, Votypka
the City dismissed the pending administrative charges,
Plaintiff filed an Amended and Supplemental Complaint
updating his allegations on January 31, 2017. Defendants
April 21, 2017, the individual Defendants moved for Partial
Judgment on the Pleadings, arguing that the Intimidation
claim against them cannot be maintained because Plaintiff did
not plead that Defendants were charged with or convicted of
the state-law crime of Intimidation. (ECF DKT #13).
opposed the Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings and
moved for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint. (ECF DKT
#15). Plaintiff sought to add a claim for Civil Liability for
Criminal Acts under R.C. § 2307.60.
opposed the Motion for Leave to Amend on the basis of
futility, i.e., Eckart, Votypka, and Chumita have never been
charged with, plead guilty to, or been convicted of any
criminal offense related to this matter.
February 16, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion
for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint and denied
Defendants' Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings
8, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion (ECF DKT #20) to
Certify, insisting that whether a conviction is required to
maintain a civil claim under R.C. § 2307.60(A)(1) is a
question of Ohio law that is vital to Plaintiff's case.
Plaintiff presses the Court to certify the following question
to the Ohio Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 9.01 of the Ohio
Supreme Court Rules of Practice:
To prevail on a claim under R.C. § 2307.60(A)(1), must a
plaintiff prove that the defendant has been convicted of the
criminal acts that form the basis for the claim?
Plaintiff and Defendants have directed the Court's
attention to the relevant state and federal case law on this