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Molnar v. City of Green

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

March 30, 2018

NICK MOLNAR Appellee
v.
CITY OF GREEN, et al. Appellants

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV-2017-01-0427

          FRANK H. SCIALDONE, Attorney at Law, for Appellants.

          L. BRYAN CARR, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO, Judge.

         {¶1} The City of Green, Gerard M. Neugebauer, and Diane A. Calta appeal the order of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas denying their Civ.R.12(B)(6) motion to dismiss. We reverse and remand.

         I.

         {¶2} This case arises out of negotiations between Mr. Nick Molnar and the City of Green whereby the City is alleged to have agreed to rescind and destroy all copies of a letter terminating his employment and accept his resignation. Subsequent to this agreement, a public records request was made by WOIO Channel 19 ("WOIO") and the City of Green eventually produced the letter as a result of a public records litigation in the Ohio Court of Claims.

         {¶3} Mr. Molnar initiated this case in January 2017, and filed an amended complaint in February 2017 against the City of Green, Gerard M. Neugebauer (the mayor of Green), Diane A. Calta (the law director of Green), and WOIO. The complaint stated claims for breach of contract, negligence, injunctive relief, libel, and a claim for punitive damages that alleged grossly negligent, reckless, wanton, and willful conduct. The complaint further stated the claims were being made against Mr. Neugebauer and Ms. Calta in both their individual and official capacities. The claims against WOIO were voluntarily dismissed, and in March 2017, the remaining defendants filed a Civ.R.12(B)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing, in part, that they were immune from liability as a political subdivision and employees thereof. On May 4, 2017, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The City of Green, Mr. Neugebauer, and Ms. Calta now appeal, raising two assignments of error.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR ONE

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY DENYING DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS CITY OF GREEN, LAW DIRECTOR CALTA (OFFICIAL CAPACITY) AND MAYOR NEUGEBAUER (OFFICIAL CAPACITY) THE BENEFIT OF IMMUNITY UNDER REVISED CODE CHAPTER 2744.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR TWO

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY DENYING DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS LAW DIRECTOR CALTA (PERSONAL CAPACITY) AND MAYOR NEUGEBAUER (PERSONAL CAPACITY) THE BENEFIT OF IMMUNITY UNDER REVISED CODE CHAPTER 2744.

{¶4} The City of Green, Mr. Neugebauer, and Ms. Calta argue the trial court erred by denying dismissal on the basis of political subdivision immunity. As noted above, Mr. Molnar's amended complaint states multiple claims against the City of Green as well as Mr. Neugebauer and Ms. Calta, both in their official capacities as mayor and law director, and in their individual ...


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