State ex rel. Raymond Cugini, Relator,
The Timken Company et al., Respondents.
MANDAMUS ON OBJECTION TO THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION
& Haag, Ltd, and Matthew R. Carona, for relator.
& Meyer, LLC, Robert C. Meyer, and Mary E. Ulm, Kristina
M. Harless for respondent The Timken Company.
Yost, Attorney General, and Andrew J. Alatis, for respondent
Industrial Commission of Ohio.
1} Relator, Raymond Cugini, commenced this original
action requesting a writ of mandamus ordering respondent
Industrial Commission of Ohio ("commission") to
vacate its order denying him temporary total disability
("TTD") compensation based on a finding that
relator voluntarily retired and removed himself from the
workforce, and ordering the commission to find that he
remained eligible for TTD compensation.
2} Pursuant to Civ.R. 53 and Loc.R. 13(M) of the
Tenth District Court of Appeals, this matter was referred to
a magistrate who issued the appended decision, including
findings of fact and conclusions of law. The magistrate
determined that because there is some evidence in the record
on which the commission relied to find relator's
retirement was unrelated to the allowed conditions in his
claim, relator did not demonstrate the commission abused its
discretion in denying his request for TTD compensation. As a
result, the magistrate recommended that this court deny the
requested writ of mandamus. For the following reasons, we
overrule the objection and deny the requested writ.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
3} None of the parties have filed objections to the
magistrate's findings of fact, and following an
independent review of the record, we adopt those findings as
our own. As more fully set forth in the magistrate's
decision, relator sustained a work-related injury on November
30, 2014, and received TTD compensation for his allowed
claims until they were terminated as of July 20, 2016 based
on a finding that those allowed conditions had reached
maximum medical improvement. The commission eventually
allowed relator's claim based on additional conditions.
Relator then retired from his employment with respondent on
December 31, 2016 after more than 40 years of service.
4} On October 13, 2017, relator filed a motion for
TTD compensation beginning July 20, 2016 and continuing
onward from that date. The commission granted the request for
TTD compensation from July 20 through December 30, 2016, but
found relator was not entitled to TTD compensation beyond
that time period because he voluntarily retired effective
December 31, 2016.
5} On April 11, 2018, relator filed a mandamus
complaint with this court, contending that he has a clear
right to TTD compensation beyond December 31, 2016, and the
commission has a clear legal duty to grant him the award of
TTD compensation. In his brief to the magistrate, relator
argued the commission failed to properly analyze the timing
and character of his retirement, abused its discretion in its
finding that relator voluntarily retired and removed himself
from the workforce effective December 31, 2016, and decided
to deny him TTD compensation without some evidence to support
6} The magistrate determined that relator failed to
demonstrate the commission abused its discretion when it
denied his request for TTD compensation beyond December 30,
2016 based on the finding that relator had retired from his
employer for reasons unrelated to the allowed conditions in
his claim. The magistrate first considered relator's
argument that, because he was disabled at the time he retired
from his employer, he remained eligible for TTD compensation.
The magistrate found the argument failed under State ex
rel. Klein v. Precision Excavating & Grading, Co.,
155 Ohio St.3d 78, 2018-Ohio-3890, which overruled the cases
relator cited and reasserted the fundamental tenet of
eligibility for TTD compensation that the industrial injury
caused the worker's loss of earnings.
7} The magistrate next discussed relator's
testimony that he took a length of service retirement because
of the pay and benefits he would receive on retirement, and
the fact that relator had neither looked for employment nor
worked since the date of injury. The magistrate also noted
relator's receipt of social security disability benefits
since October 2016, which he did not disclose in applying for
TTD compensation. Furthermore, the magistrate acknowledged
that relator pointed to other testimony wherein relator
stated that he would go back to work if he was able to, but
found the determination of disputed factual situations to be
within the jurisdiction of the commission, and that, in
reviewing whether a writ of mandamus should issue, it is
immaterial whether other evidence supporting relator's
view exists in the record, provided "some evidence"
supports the commission's finding. (Mag.'s Decision
at ¶ 30.) Ultimately, finding some evidence supported
the commission's decision in this case, the magistrate
recommended that the court deny the writ.
8} Relator sets forth the following objection:
Cugini objects to the Magistrate's finding that there is
some evidence in the record on which the Commission relied to
find Relator's retirement was unrelated to ...