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Yu v. Ohio State University Medical Center

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

July 26, 2018

Jianfeng Yu, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
The Ohio State University Medical Center, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Pacific Interpreters, Inc., Third-Party Defendant-Appellee.

         Ct. of Cl. No. 2015-00001

          Robol Law Office, LLC, and Richard T. Robol, for appellant.

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, Jeffrey L. Maloon, and Daniel R. Forsythe, for appellee The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

          Gallagher Sharp LLP, Thomas J. Cabral, and Colleen A. Mountcastle, for appellee Pacific Interpreters, Inc.

         ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          DECISION

          SADLER, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Jianfeng Yu, appeals from a judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio granting a motion for summary judgment filed by defendant/third-party plaintiff-appellee, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center ("OSUWMC"). OSUWMC and third-party defendant-appellee, Pacific Interpreters, Inc., have moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that appellant did not timely file his notice of appeal with the clerk of the Court of Claims. The timeliness question turns on whether we must apply a 5:00 p.m. cutoff time on the last permissible day for this filing or whether we may extend the filing cutoff to midnight. The parties offer competing and irreconcilable rationales for each position.

         {¶ 2} App.R. 4(A) requires an appealing party in a civil case to file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the entry of the judgment appealed from or within 30 days of service of the notice of judgment if service of the notice of judgment is not made on the party within the 3-day period provided in Civ.R. 58(B). Fougere v. Estate of Fougere, 10th Dist. No. 17AP-72, 2017-Ohio-7905, ¶ 11. App.R. 3(A) specifies that the notice of appeal shall be filed "with the clerk of the trial court within the time allowed by Rule 4." Failure to comply with the filing requirements of App.R. 3 and 4 is a jurisdictional defect that mandates dismissal of the appeal. State ex rel. Pendell v. Adams Cty. Bd. of Elections, 40 Ohio St.3d 58, 60 (1988).

         {¶ 3} The Court of Claims entered its judgment on October 27, 2017. Appellant does not assert that the clerk failed to mail notice of the judgment to appellant within three days. Pursuant to App.R. 4, appellant had 30 days from the date of the entry to file his notice of appeal with the clerk of the trial court. Because the 30th day fell on a Sunday, under the rules for computing time set forth in App.R. 14(A), the final day for timely filing was Monday, November 27. On November 27, at 11:45 p.m., appellant attempted to file his notice of appeal through the Court of Claims' electronic filing system. The Court of Claims' electronic filing system logged this attempt to file but rejected it for failure to submit the requisite filing fee. Appellant asserts this rejection was due to a technical malfunction in the system and beyond his control. On the next day, appellant successfully filed his notice of appeal, one day late, with the clerk of the Court of Claims.

         {¶ 4} Appellees rely on the rules governing all filings by litigants in the Court of Claims. They point out the Court of Claims, through an administrative rule promulgated under Civ.R. 5(E), set a close-of-business cutoff time for filings submitted via the clerk's electronic filing system:

A document that passes Clerk Review will be deemed timely filed when submitted prior to 4:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the due date, unless the Hearing Officer has ordered the document filed by an earlier time on that date. All time is calculated as Eastern Standard Time. Documents filed later than 4:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time shall be deemed to have been filed the following business day.

L.C.C.R. eFiling Adm.R. VIII(B).

         {¶ 5} Appellant responds that the local rules of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas control and that under those rules any filing before midnight on November 27 was timely. To support this proposition, appellant argues that R.C. 2743.20, governing appeals from the Court of Claims, states that such appeals shall be taken "under the same circumstances, as appeals from the court of common pleas of Franklin county, and the same rules of law govern."

         {¶ 6} Appellant then points out the e-filing standing order of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division, provides that documents submitted to the clerk via e-filing are considered filed on the day they are submitted electronically to the system, so that documents filed at or before 11:59 p.m. are deemed filed on the day in question. E-filing order of ...


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