The State ex rel. Evans, Appellant,
McGrath, Judge, Appellee.
Submitted February 27, 2018
from the Court of Appeals for Franklin County, No. 17AP-40,
William H. Evans Jr., pro se.
Michael DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, and Bridget C. Coontz,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
1} Appellant, William H. Evans Jr., appeals the
judgment of the Tenth District Court of Appeals dismissing
his complaint for writs of mandamus and prohibition against
appellee, Judge Patrick M. McGrath of the Court of Claims. We
affirm the judgment of the court of appeals.
2} In 2014, Evans, then an inmate at the Ross
Correctional Institution, filed a negligence action against
the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in the
Ohio Court of Claims. Judge McGrath dismissed the suit, but
Evans appealed, and the Tenth District reversed and remanded
"for further appropriate proceedings." Evans v.
Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr., 10th Dist. Franklin
No. 15AP-463, 2015-Ohio-3492, ¶ 17.
3} While Evans's negligence action was pending
on remand, he filed with the Tenth District a complaint for
writs of prohibition and mandamus against Judge McGrath. He
sought an order prohibiting Judge McGrath from conducting
proceedings on the defendant's liability and requiring
him to hold a damages-only hearing on Evans's negligence
claim. The court of appeals dismissed Evans's complaint
for the writs on the grounds that he had misunderstood its
order to the Court of Claims, which held only that Evans had
met the liberal pleading standards required of complaints for
negligence and not that Evans had prevailed on the merits.
State ex rel. Evans v. McGrath, 10th Dist. Franklin
No. 17AP-40, 2017-Ohio-7418, ¶ 4-5.
4} To be entitled to a writ of mandamus, Evans must
establish (1) a clear legal right to the requested relief,
(2) a corresponding legal duty on the part of Judge McGrath
to provide it, and (3) the lack of an adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of the law. State ex rel. Marsh v.
Tibbals, 149 Ohio St.3d 656, 2017-Ohio-829, 77 N.E.3d
909, ¶ 24. Three elements are necessary for a writ of
prohibition to issue: the exercise of judicial power, the
lack of authority for the exercise of that power, and the
lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law.
State ex rel. Elder v. Camplese, 144 Ohio St.3d 89,
2015-Ohio-3628, 40 N.E.3d 1138, ¶ 13. He must prove
entitlement to the writs by clear and convincing evidence.
State ex rel. Marsh at ¶ 24. "Our plenary
authority in extraordinary actions permits us to consider the
instant appeal as if it had been originally filed in this
court." State ex rel. Minor v. Eschen, 74 Ohio
St.3d 134, 138, 656 N.E.2d 940 (1995).
5} Evans contends that mandamus and/or prohibition
are appropriate to restrict Judge McGrath on remand to
holding a damages-only hearing. In support, he cites res
judicata, the law of the case, and the "cross-error
rule." However, the court of appeals decided only that
Evans's complaint sufficiently alleged the elements of a
negligence claim and could withstand a motion to dismiss
under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) ("failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted"). It did not, as Evans
contends, determine that Evans had proven negligence
such that Judge McGrath would be required to hold a
6} A writ of mandamus "is an appropriate remedy
to require a lower court to comply with an appellate
court's mandate directed to that court." State
ex rel. Heck v. Kessler,72 Ohio St.3d 98, 100, 647
N.E.2d 792 (1995). However, the court of appeals did not
order the court to determine the negligence action in
Evans's favor, and nothing in the record suggests that
Judge McGrath is refusing to comply with the mandate of the
court of appeals. Nor does Judge McGrath lack the authority
to preside over a ...