from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No.
Rizzo-Lortz, pro se.
brief: Caborn & Butauski Co. LPA, and Joseph A. Butauski,
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Louise Rizzo-Lortz, appeals
a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that
dismissed her action against defendant-appellee, Erie
Insurance Group ("Erie"), for failure to prosecute.
For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.
2} On March 5, 2015, Rizzo-Lortz filed a complaint
alleging that she had suffered both personal injury and
property damage when another automobile hit the rear of her
automobile. The owner of the other automobile did not have
any insurance. At the time of the collision, Rizzo-Lortz had
an automobile insurance policy with Erie that included
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In her complaint,
Rizzo-Lortz sought recovery under her policy for the damages
caused by the collision.
3} Over a year later, on March 25, 2016,
Rizzo-Lortz's attorney moved to withdraw as counsel due
to irreconcilable differences with her client. Concerned
about the age of the case and the fast approaching trial
date, the trial court scheduled a hearing on the motion to
withdraw for April 12, 2016. The trial court also scheduled a
mediation conference for the same date.
4} When mediation proved unsuccessful, the trial
court granted the motion to withdraw filed by
Rizzo-Lortz's attorney. Additionally, with the agreement
of the parties, the trial court referred the matter to a
magistrate for a jury trial. The magistrate postponed the
trial until February 6, 2017 in order to give Rizzo-Lortz
time to retain new counsel and provide the new counsel with
ample opportunity to prepare for trial.
5} On February 6, 2017, both parties appeared for
trial. Rizzo-Lortz, however, had not retained a new attorney.
Over Erie's objection, the magistrate continued the trial
until June 28, 2017. In the February 10, 2017 order
rescheduling the trial date, the magistrate stated,
"This date is firm and no further continuances
will be extended." (Emphasis sic.)
6} Two days prior to the June 28, 2017 trial date,
the magistrate received an email from Rizzo-Lortz that
included a purported motion for summary judgment and a
document objecting to the video deposition of Erie's
expert witness, which Erie had filed in preparation for
trial. Rizzo-Lortz did not file either of these documents
with the Franklin County Clerk of Courts ("clerk").
Additionally, Rizzo-Lortz neither signed the documents nor
attached certificates of service to the
7} On June 28, 2017, both Erie's attorney and
representative appeared for trial. Rizzo-Lortz did not. That
morning, the magistrate had received an email from
Rizzo-Lortz in which Rizzo-Lortz suggested that she would not
attend trial and offered a number of excuses for her absence,
including financial hardship, transportation difficulties,