FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 15CV187984
pro se, Appellant.
WALTON, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. SCHAFER JUDGE.
Plaintiff-Appellant, J.P., appeals from the judgment of the
Lorain County Court of Common Pleas entering judgment upon a
jury verdict in favor of Defendant-Appellee, M.H.
J.P. filed a complaint against M.H. on November 13, 2015. In
the complaint, he asserted four causes of action: invasion of
privacy, defamation, abuse of process, and civil conspiracy.
Following a stay pending the appeal of other cases the trial
court deemed related to the parties and issues involved in
this case, the matter proceeded through the pretrial process.
A jury trial commenced on October 15, 2018. At the close of
J.P's case, the trial court granted M.H.'s motion for
directed verdict on the claims for defamation and abuse of
process. At the conclusion of the trial, the two remaining
claims were submitted to the jury. Following deliberation,
the jury returned its verdict finding in favor of M.H. on
each of the claims. On October 22, 2018, the trial court
entered judgment on the verdict.
The trial court denied J.P.'s motion for a new trial.
J.P. then timely appealed the judgment. He presents four
assignments of error for our review.
of Error I
trial court erred and abused discretion to the prejudice of
[J.P.] in entering judgment upon jury verdict against [J.P.],
because Judge Inderlied erred and abused discretion to the
prejudice of [J.P.] in being assigned to the case and in
assuming personal jurisdiction over the case in the first
place and in later overruling [J.P.]'s objection
In his first assignment of error, J.P. contends that the
visiting judge assigned to hear this matter in the trial
court "lacked personal jurisdiction over the case"
because his assignment was an abuse of discretion, in that it
contravened relevant rules for the assignment of visiting
judges, and deprived J.P. of federal due process.
The transcript of the trial court docket contains and entry
on May 5, 2017 stating:
THE HONORABLE HERMAN FREDERICK INDERLIED, JR., A RETIRED
JUDGE OF THE GEAUGA COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, GENERAL AND
DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISIONS, IS ASSIGNED EFFECTIVE 4/24/17
TO PRESIDE IN THE LORAIN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS,
GENERAL DIVISION, TO HEAR CASES 15CV185623, [J.P.] V. [T.H.];
15CV186969, [M.H] V. [L.P.]; 15CV186968, [J.P.] V. [M.H.];
15CV187984, [J.P.] V. [M.H.]; AND TO CONCLUDE ANY PROCEEDINGS
IN WHICH HE PARTICIPATED. (S/C MAUREEN O'CONNOR, CHIEF
transcript reflects that a copy of the certificate of
assignment was entered upon the docket. Although the document
is missing from the record on appeal, J.P. acknowledges that
certificate 17JA0943 assigned Judge Inderlied to hear the
J.P. filed an "objection to judicial assignment" on
May 26, 2017. In the filing, J.P. objected to the assignment
of Judge Inderlied, asserting that he lacked jurisdiction
because his assignment to the case was
"irregular[.]" The trial court issued an order
overruling J.P.'s objection. In the order, Judge
Inderlied stated that he was assigned to the matter pursuant
to Ohio Constitution Art. IV, Section 6(C), that he consented
to the assignment, and that the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of Ohio issued certificate of assignment 17JA0943.
In his merit brief, J.P. argues that the assignment of Judge
Inderlied failed to comport with Ohio's "specific
rules and procedures for judicial assignment and
re-assignment." Referencing the Guidelines for the
Assignment of Judges issued by the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Ohio, J.P. contends that the reason for the
reassignment was not stated in a journal entry, nor was it
apparent from the record of the case. J.P. also argues that
the assignment "violated" Lorain County Court of
Common Pleas Loc.R. 7 IV.
J.P. argues that the record does not reflect the recusal or
disqualification of "[t]he last judge who lawfully
assumed personal jurisdiction over the case[.]" Despite
acknowledging that the docket contains a certificate from the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio assigning Judge
Inderlied to hear the case, J.P. contends that the
"rules and provisions for judicial re-assignment were
clearly and egregiously violated." According to J.P.,
the absence of a journal entry listing the justifiable
reasons for the assignment of Judge Inderlied, together with
the alleged failure to follow the rules to reassign a judge,
give "the appearance if not the reality of
LocR. 7 IV outlines the procedure for reassigning a case as
Any cases requiring reassignment shall be referred to the
Administrative Judge along with reason for reassignment. When
merited, the Administrative Judge will reassign the case. The
Judge receiving the reassigned case may transfer a case ...