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Ross v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

July 15, 2019

LAURA J. ROSS Appellant
v.
TRACEY L. JOHNSON, ET AL. Appellees

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 16CV188444

          APPEARANCES: MARK E. STEPHENSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          MARK F. CRAIG, Attorney at Law, for Appellees.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          DONNA J. CARR JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Laura Ross, appeals the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} This matter arises out of a physical altercation that occurred at Pudge's Place & Patio ("Pudge's Place"), a bar in Elyria, Ohio. On January 19, 2015, Ross and Shelly Johns entered Pudge's Place and proceeded to order drinks. Ross and Johns were served their beers by Tracey Johnson, the bartender working that afternoon. A short time later, Ross and Johns got into a heated argument with Johnson about Johnson's boyfriend. During the argument, Ross pushed Johnson and made physical contact several other times. Johnson directed Ross and Johns to leave the bar but the women refused to leave. Johnson placed a telephone call to Ginger Sherrill and requested that Sherrill come to the bar to help resolve the situation. Ross went behind the bar and reached for the phone. At one point, Ross struck Johnson in the face. In return, Johnson swung and struck Ross in the eye with a beer glass that she was holding in her hand. The beer glass shattered. Ross suffered very serious injuries. The incident was captured by a video surveillance system.

         {¶3} On January 14, 2016, Ross filed a complaint against Johnson, Pudge's Place, Inc., TMD Investments of Elyria, LLC. ("TMD"), and Sherrill. Ross asserted claims of battery and negligence, as well as theories of vicarious liability. Johnson did not file an answer to the complaint. Pudge's Place filed an answer generally denying the allegations in the complaint. Sherrill and TMD filed an answer along with counterclaims against Ross for frivolous conduct and abuse of process.

         {¶4} Thereafter, Pudge's Place, Inc., TMD, and Sherrill filed a motion for summary judgment on the claims in the complaint. Ross filed a brief in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Pudge's Place, Inc., TMD, and Sherrill filed a reply brief in support of the motion. On January 10, 2017, the trial court issued a decision granting the motion for summary judgment in regard to TMD and Sherrill on the grounds that there was no basis for liability to be imposed upon those defendants. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment as it pertained to Pudge's Place, Inc.

         {¶5} After the trial court issued its summary judgment order, TMD and Sherrill dismissed their counterclaims without prejudice. Ross successfully moved for default judgment against Johnson. Pudge's Place, Inc. confessed that it was vicariously liable for Johnson's actions. Pudge's Place consented to a judgment against it in the amount of $330, 000.

         {¶6} On appeal, Ross raises one assignment of error.

          II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENTS FOR THE APPELLEES GINGER A SHERRILL AND ...


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