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Gibson v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 3, 2019

Reginald Gibson, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Defendant-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Court of Claims of Ohio Ct. of Cl. No. 2018-00870

         On brief:

          Reginald Gibson, pro se.

          Dave Yost, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Miller, for appellee.

          DECISION

          BROWN, J.

         {¶ 1} Reginald Gibson, plaintiff-appellant, an inmate at the Lima Correctional Institution, appeals from the judgment of the Court of Claims of Ohio, in which the court granted the summary judgment motion filed by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ("ODRC"), defendant-appellee.

         {¶ 2} Appellant alleged from August 2013 to May 2017, he filed numerous requests for healthcare services because of pain in his left hip and a growing cyst on his left hip, but he either received no treatment or inadequate treatment during this time. He finally was approved for surgery to remove the cyst on May 17 and had surgery on May 19, 2017.

         {¶ 3} On June 5, 2018, appellant filed a legal action against ODRC in the Court of Claims. In the complaint, appellant alleged ODRC was negligent in treating his pain and delaying and denying surgery on the cyst/lipoma on his hip, resulting in pain, suffering, mental anguish, and permanent disability.

         {¶ 4} On November 26, 2018, the Court of Claims ordered appellant to provide ODRC with the names of expert witnesses and a copy of their reports by February 15, 2019. Appellant failed to do so.

         {¶ 5} On April 2, 2019, ODRC filed a motion for summary judgment arguing appellant had failed to obtain a medical expert, which was required to establish the requisite standard of care. Appellant filed a reply, in which he claimed he was not asserting a claim for medical negligence but, instead, only for ordinary negligence, so no medical expert testimony was necessary.

         {¶ 6} On May 7, 2019, the Court of Claims granted ODRC's motion for summary judgment, finding appellant's claim was a medical negligence claim that required him to obtain a report from a medical expert, which he failed to do. Appellant appeals the judgment of the Court of Claims, asserting the following assignments of error, which are quoted below verbatim:

[I.] If the Court treats pro se litigants differently, Does it departs from its duty of impartiality and prejudices the handling of a case as it relates to other litigants represented by counsel?
[II.] Does R.C. 5120.20(C)(2), as written, violate due process Article I, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution, and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution in its application to an inmate in a civil action?
[III.] The Court of Claims erred in granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment, as Plaintiffs claim was not one of medical malpractice, but one of ordinary negligence, as in Bugh v. Grafton 10th Dist. No. ...

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