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Carnes v. Ohio Department of Taxation

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

August 13, 2019

Jeffrey Carnes, Appellant-Appellant,
v.
Ohio Department of Taxation, Appellee-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 17CVF05-4443

         On brief:

          Haynes Kessler Myers & Postalakis, Inc., and Marc E. Myers, for appellant.

          Dave Yost, Attorney General, and Matthew J. Karam, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Marc E. Myers.

          Matthew J. Karam.

          DECISION

          KLATT, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Jeffrey Carnes, appeals a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas affirming the order of the State Personnel Board of Review ("Board") that affirmed Carnes' involuntary disability separation. For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.

         {¶ 2} In July 2013, Carnes was employed as an Information Technologist 2 for appellee, the Ohio Department of Taxation ("ODT"). Carnes' essential job duties included programming databases, developing web pages, and troubleshooting IT problems. On July 13, 2013, Carnes' supervisor met with Carnes to discuss the goals and expectations for Carnes' job performance in the upcoming year. During the meeting, Carnes stated that he disagreed with each goal, but would only say, "It is what it is," when asked to explain how and why he disagreed. (July 31, 2013 Letter from Charles Kumpar to J. Nick Marzella.)

         {¶ 3} Subsequently, Charles Kumpar, the ODT labor relations administrator, questioned Carnes about his behavior during the meeting. According to Kumpar, Carnes displayed difficulty in answering even basic questions. During conversation, Carnes would reverse his answers midsentence, contradict himself, and stop responding and gaze silently at the ceiling until re-engaged.

         {¶ 4} Concerned that Carnes' mental health was hindering his job performance, Kumpar arranged for an evaluation of Carnes' psychological fitness for duty. J. Nick Marzella, a psychologist, evaluated Carnes on August 5, 2013. Marzella administered to Carnes two psychological tests: the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-II. Marzella also conducted an interview of Carnes to assess his psychological status.

         {¶ 5} According to Marzella, Carnes was anxious throughout the interview. Marzella reported that Carnes' "thoughts were scattered and at times tangential. He was obstructive and non-revealing, subsequently showing little insight and poor judgment." (Aug. 6, 2013 Psychological Fitness for Duty Evaluation at 4.)

         {¶ 6} Using the multiaxial approach to diagnosing set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV ("DSM-IV"), Marzella did not diagnose Carnes with any Axis I clinical disorders. However, under Axis II, Marzella diagnosed Carnes with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder with histrionic and narcissistic personality features.

         {¶ 7} Additionally, Marzella opined:

[Carnes'] obsessive-compulsive personality disorder will exacerbate in times of stress. His tendency to be overly concerned with irrelevancies fueled with his denial of personal issues and adequacy will make it difficult for him to stay on task with any degree of persistence and pace. Further, Mr. Carnes is obstructive and recalcitrant with regard to revealing information. Such behavior in the workplace is disruptive and ...

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