Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Portage
from the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018
Melissa R.V. Roubic, (For Appellee).
Yost, Ohio Attorney General, State Office Tower, and Eric A.
Baum, Assistant Attorney General, (For Appellant).
CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.
Appellant, the Director of the Ohio Department of Job and
Family Services (the "Director"), appeals the March
27, 2019 decision of the Portage County Court of Common Pleas
reversing the decision of the Unemployment Compensation
Review Commission ("the Review Commission"), which
had affirmed the granting of unemployment benefits for Robert
Ferrebee in connection with his separation from his
relationship with appellee, Marcus Roach Express LLC
At issue is whether Mr. Ferrebee was an independent
contractor for Marcus Roach, or an employee separated due to
a lack of work, thus entitling him to unemployment
compensation. The Unemployment Compensation Review Commission
found that Mr. Ferrebee was an employee; the trial court
reversed, finding he was an independent contractor.
For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the decision of
the Portage County Court of Common Pleas.
In June 2017, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
("ODJFS") first issued a determination denying Mr.
Ferrebee's application for benefits, then issued a
corrected determination granting his application based on
updated remuneration information. ODJFS affirmed the latter
determination in a redetermination issued July 14, 2017.
Marcus Roach appealed to the Review Commission, which held a
telephone hearing. The hearing officer ultimately affirmed
the ODJFS's redetermination on August 15, 2017. Marcus
Roach requested a final Review from the Commission Review,
which affirmed the decision on October 4, 2017.
Marcus Roach then filed an R.C. 4141.282 administrative
appeal in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas and asked
the court for a new hearing. In February 2018, the trial
court granted the request and remanded the matter. A second
hearing was held in May 2018 and the new hearing officer
ultimately affirmed the July 14, 2017 redetermination.
Marcus Roach again appealed to the trial court under R.C.
4141.282, arguing, as it had before, that (1) finding that
Mr. Ferrebee was an employee, not an independent contractor,
was not supported by substantial evidence; (2) Mr.
Ferrebee's application was void because he submitted
forged documents to ODJFS; and (3) even if Mr. Ferrebee were
an employee, he was separated from work for just cause, thus
warranting denial of his application.
In March 2019, the trial court found that Mr. Ferrebee was an
independent contractor and reversed the Review
Commission's final decision; it did not address Marcus
Roach's fraud and just cause arguments.
The Director now appeals, assigning one error for our review:
The Review Commission twice determined that Mr. Ferrebee did
not have the right to control how he performed his work.
Those fact determinations are supported by some competent,
credible evidence. Further, as a matter of law Marcus Roach
cannot delegate its direction and control over Mr. Ferrebee
to Cardinal. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment
should be reversed both ...