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Martin v. Wegman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

July 19, 2019

CHARLES RICHARD MARTIN, II, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DONALD A WEGMAN, Defendant-Appellee.

          Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Trial Nos. A-1704203 A-1706197.

          Harry B. Plotnick, for Plaintiff-Appellant,

          Frederick J. Johnson, for Defendant-Appellee.

          OPINION

          Crouse, Judge.

         {¶1} Plaintiff-appellant Charles Martin appeals the trial court's dismissal of his defamation claim. We modify the judgment so that dismissal is without prejudice, and affirm as modified.

         Facts and Procedure

         {¶2} Martin initially filed a defamation claim under the case numbered A-1704203 and, after voluntarily dismissing the claim without prejudice, refiled his claim under the case numbered A-1706197. Martin's complaint alleged that defendant-appellee Donald Wegman "published false, misleading and defamatory statements about plaintiff in written correspondence both to government officials and on defendant's personal Facebook account." According to the complaint, Wegman published that Martin

was an adult male member of the community who was filming defendant and his 12-year-old daughter with a drone…implying that the alleged acts were committed for immoral purposes.

         {¶3} Wegman filed a Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. After hearing oral argument, the trial court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint with prejudice, saying "the complaint doesn't state enough on its face. If there were attachments, if it was said in the text that would be one thing and it would be enough."

         {¶4} In his sole assignment of error, Martin contends that because the complaint stated a claim against Wegman for defamation as matter of law, the trial court erred in dismissing his complaint pursuant to Civ.R. 12(B)(6). For the reasons set forth below, we modify the judgment dismissing Martin's complaint, and affirm it as modified.

         Dismissal of Appeal No. C-180268

         {¶5} In his notice of appeal for the case numbered A-1704203, Martin states that he is appealing the judgment of the court entered on May 7, 2018, but there was no judgment on that date in that case. Martin voluntarily dismissed the case numbered A-1704203 on October 30, 2017. May 7, 2018, is the date the trial court entered judgment for Wegman in the case numbered A-1706197. Martin appeals an order that does not exist for a case in which he voluntarily dismissed his claim. Therefore, the appeal numbered C-180268 is dismissed.

         Standard of Review

         {¶6} An order granting a Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss is reviewed de novo. Perrysburg Twp. v. Rossford, 103 Ohio ...


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