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Meadows v. Rehabilitation

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark

July 15, 2019

RHONDA MEADOWS Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JACKSON RIDGE REHABILITATION and CARE, et al. Defendants-Appellants

          Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2015 CV 02169

          For Plaintiff-Appellee ROBERT J. TSCHOLL

          For Defendants-Appellants G. BRENDA COEY THE COEY LAW FIRM LLC

          JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

          OPINION

          Wise, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellants Jackson Ridge Rehabilitation and Care and Providence Healthcare Management, Inc. [collectively "Appellants"] appeal the December 5, 2018, Judgment Entry of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas granting Appellee Rhonda Meadows' motion for attorney fees.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} The relevant facts and procedural history are as follows.

         {¶3} Appellee Rhonda Meadows is a registered nurse. She was hired by Appellants to be the director of nursing at Jackson Ridge Rehabilitation and Care in September 2014. Jackson Ridge is the registered trade name of Gaslite Leasing, LLC and Providence Healthcare Management is an affiliated management company.

         {¶4} Meadows' terms of employment included health care under the employer sponsored health care plan. Meadows took advantage of that offered benefit and began working for Appellants at Jackson Ridge on or about October 17, 2014.

         {¶5} In May 2015, Meadows suffered an acute medical condition and required time off for surgery. Meadows contacted Appellants' management regarding her need for surgery. Appellants requested that Meadows wait until the annual survey was completed before surgery was scheduled.

         {¶6} In mid-June 2015, Meadows medical condition became emergent and she returned to her physician. The surgery was scheduled for June 26, 2015. Meadows immediately conveyed to Appellants her need for surgery. Meadows claimed that she was informed on June 25, 2015 that if she had the surgery she would be terminated from her employment.

         {¶7} Meadows claimed she had the surgery to relieve her pain on June 26, 2015. She later learned that not only had Appellants terminated her employment on June 25, 2015, but they had terminated her health care insurance as well, so her surgery and hospital stay were not covered. However, Meadows contended that Appellants continued to deduct health care premiums from her pay, which was shown on her last pay stub on July 3, 2015.

         {¶8} Meadows filed suit on October 16, 2015.

         {¶9} On October 23, 2015, Jackson Ridge received service of Meadows' Complaint.

         {¶10} Jackson Ridge failed to timely answer, and Meadows moved the trial court for default judgment against Appellants on Friday, December 4, 2015.

         {¶11} On Monday, December 7, 2015, the trial court granted default judgment.

         {¶12} On December 11, 2015, Jackson Ridge moved the trial court for leave to file its Answer instanter.

         {¶13} On December 15, 2015, Appellants filed a Civ.R. 60(B) Motion for Relief from Judgment.

         {¶14} On August 25, 2016, following a hearing conducted by the Magistrate, the trial court denied these Motions.

         {¶15} On September 9, 2016, the trial court set a Damage hearing for October 27, 2016.

         {¶16} On September 23, 2016, Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal with this Court. See Case No. 2016 CA 00174.

         {¶17} On October 24, 2016, this Court dismissed the appeal as not a final appealable order.

         {¶18} The trial court reset the damage hearing for December 16, 2016.

         {¶19} On December 15, 2016, Appellants filed a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. The parties briefed the ...


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