PRISCILLA SMITH, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF HELEN MAE RININGER, DECEASED Plaintiff-Appellant
THE LAURELS OF CANTON, LLC, ET AL. Defendants-Appellees
from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016CV02526
Plaintiff-Appellant STACIE L. ROTH SEAN R. STEWARD
Defendants-Appellees PAUL W. MCCARTNEY CHRISTOPHER F. MARS
JUDGES: Hon. John W. Wise, P.J., Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J., Hon.
Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.
1} Plaintiff-Appellant, Priscilla Smith, Administrator of the
Estate of Helen Mae Rininger, Deceased, appeals the October
26, 2017 decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Stark
County, Ohio, dismissing her case. Defendants-Appellees are
The Laurels of Canton, LLC, and Laurel Health Care Company
dba The Laurels of Canton.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2} The decedent, Helen Mae Rininger, was a resident of a
nursing home care facility operated by appellees herein. Ms.
Rininger passed away at the facility on June 7, 2013.
3} On November 17, 2016, appellant filed a wrongful death
complaint against appellees (a refiling). Appellant claimed
on or about May 26, 2013, the decedent was given an
antibiotic for a urinary tract infection. She alleged the
decedent suffered a severe allergic reaction, causing her
death. Appellant alleged appellees' agents and/or
employees were negligent in administrating the antibiotic and
in failing to timely recognize and treat the allergic
4} On December 6, 2016, the trial court entered a nunc pro
tunc order giving appellant until January 20, 2017, to file
an affidavit of merit. On said date, appellant filed the
affidavit of Michele Carson, R.N. Ms. Carson averred
appellees breached the acceptable standards of medical care,
and such breach directly and proximately caused Ms.
5} On June 19, 2017, appellees filed a motion to dismiss
under Civ.R. 12(B)(6), failure to state a claim, because the
affidavit failed to comply with Civ.R. 10(D)(2). Appellees
claimed "a nurse cannot testify on the seminal issue of
proximate cause because a nurse is not competent or qualified
to render an opinion on the issue of proximate cause."
In response, appellant claimed because proximate cause was
not an issue based upon the cause of death contained in the
death certificate, Ms. Carson was competent to testify on
liability issues in an ordinary negligence case.
6} On July 27, 2017, the trial court issued an order, finding
the affidavit of Ms. Carson was inadequate under Civ.R. 10,
and gave appellant until August 25, 2017, to cure the defect.
7} On September 18, 2017, appellees again filed a motion to
dismiss for appellant's failure to cure the defect. In
response, appellant claimed Ms. Carson, as a nurse
practitioner, was competent to render an opinion on
causation. Appellant submitted the death certificate, Ms.
Rininger's discharge papers from Aultman Hospital issued
by Robert Sabota, M.D. on June 6, 2013, and history and
physical notes by Awais Ahmed, M.D. and Chadi Bouserhal, M.D.
dated May 26, 2013. By judgment entry filed October 26, 2017,
the trial court agreed with appellees and dismissed the
complaint. The trial court found Ms. Carson's affidavit
to be inadequate as she was a nurse practitioner and could
not opine as to proximate cause of death.
8} Appellant filed an appeal and this matter is now before
this court for consideration. ...