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Molnar v. City of Green

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

July 31, 2019

NICK MOLNAR Appellee
v.
CITY OF GREEN, et al. Appellants

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV-2017-01-0427

          FRANK H. SCIALDONE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          L. BRYAN CARR, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL

          JULIE A. SCHAFER JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendants-Appellants, City of Green ("Green"); Gerard M. Neugebauer, in his individual capacity and as Mayor of Green; and Diane A. Calta, in her individual capacity and as Law Director of Green, appeal the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas denying their motion to dismiss on the basis of statutory immunity. For the reasons that follow, this Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Plaintiff-Appellee, Nick Molnar, is a former employee of the city of Green. This matter stems from a dispute related to negotiations between Mr. Molnar and Green regarding Mr. Molnar's termination. Green is alleged to have agreed to rescind and destroy all copies of an April 5, 2016 letter terminating his employment and accepting his resignation. Pursuant to a subsequent records request made by WOIO Channel 19 (previously named as a defendant in this action), Green eventually produced this letter as a result of public records litigation in the Ohio Court of Claims.

         {¶3} Mr. Molnar initiated this action in January 2017 and proceeded upon an amended complaint filed February 15, 2017. We explained the nature of the proceedings below in a prior appeal:

The complaint stated claims for breach of contract, negligence, injunctive relief, libel, and a claim for punitive damages that alleged grossly negligent, reckless, wanton, and willful conduct. The complaint further stated the claims were being made against Mr. Neugebauer and Ms. Calta in both their individual and official capacities. The claims against WOIO were voluntarily dismissed, and in March 2017, the remaining defendants filed a Civ.R.12(B)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing, in part, that they were immune from liability as a political subdivision and employees thereof. On May 4, 2017, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss.

Molnar v. City of Green, 9th Dist. Summit No. 28650, 2018-Ohio-1168 ¶ 3 ("Molnar I "). Green, Mr. Neugebauer, and Ms. Calta appealed the initial denial of their motion to dismiss. In that prior appeal, this Court determined that the trial court's entry did not articulate any analysis of the issues of political subdivision immunity and, because we could not adequately analyze the trial court's basis for denying immunity in a reviewing capacity, we reversed the decision and remanded the matter. Molnar I, at ¶ 6.

         {¶4} On remand, the trial court again denied the motion to dismiss. The trial court found that-based on the pleadings-the application of political subdivision immunity was premature. Aside from the immunity arguments, the trial court denied the motion on several other grounds raised by Green, Mr. Neugebauer, and Ms. Calta in the motion to dismiss.

         {¶5} Green, Mr. Neugebauer, and Ms. Calta appealed the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss raising two assignments of error for our review. For ease of analysis, we combine these assignments of error.

         II.

         Assignment ...


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