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McDougald v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 14, 2018

Jerone McDougald, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Defendant-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Court of Claims of Ohio Ct. of Cl. No. 2017-00557

         On brief:

          Jerone McDougald, pro se.

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Frank S. Carson, for appellee.

          DECISION

          BROWN, P.J.

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal by plaintiff-appellant, Jerone McDougald, from a judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio granting the motion to dismiss filed by defendant-appellee, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ("ODRC").

         {¶ 2} On June 22, 2017, appellant filed a pro se complaint against ODRC asserting "ministerial neglect." The complaint alleged that on June 15, 2017, appellant, an inmate, was escorted to a consultation room by a correction officer to speak with a mental health physician via satellite. According to the complaint, despite appellant's request for confidentiality of his medical information, the correction officer was present in the "mental health consultation room" during appellant's discussion with the physician. The complaint sought damages in the amount of $100, 000.

         {¶ 3} On January 21, 2017, ODRC filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Civ.R. 12(B)(1) and for failure to state a claim for relief under Civ.R. 12(B)(6). Appellant did not file a response to ODRC's motion to dismiss. By entry filed October 2, 2017, the Court of Claims granted ODRC's motion to dismiss the complaint.

         {¶ 4} On appeal, appellant sets forth the following two assignments of error for this court's review:

[I.] The trial court erred by converting plaintiff[']s claims into constitutional claims when he clearly stated a state tort claim for invasion of privacy claim.
[II.] The trial court erred by converting plaintiff[']s invasion of privacy claim into a discretionary act when it was a ministerial dutie [sic] for officers to respect patient privacy.

         {¶ 5} Appellant has filed a pro se brief challenging the decision of the Court of Claims granting ODRC's motion to dismiss his complaint. Under his first assignment of error, appellant contends the Court of Claims erred in converting his claim for invasion of privacy into a constitutional claim.

         {¶ 6} An appeal of a trial court's dismissal of a complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Civ.R. 12(B)(1) is reviewed de novo. Pulizzi v. Sandusky, 6th Dist. No. E-03-002, 2003-Ohio-5853, ¶ 5. In considering such an appeal, "the principle inquiry is 'whether the plaintiff has alleged any cause of action which the court has authority to decide.' " Id., quoting McHenry v. Indus. Comm. of Ohio, 68 Ohio App.3d 56, 62 (4th Dist.1990).

         {¶ 7} In order for a trial court to dismiss a complaint under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, "it must appear beyond doubt from the complaint that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling the party to recovery." Id. at ¶ 6, citing O'Brien v. Univ. Community Tenants Union, Inc.,42 Ohio St.2d 242 (1975), syllabus. As with a Civ.R. 12(B)(1) motion, "the standard of review for a 12(B)(6) motion is de ...


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