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Case CaptionCase No.Topics and IssuesAuthorCitation / CountyDecidedPostedWebCite
The Cincinnati Enquirer v. Cincinnati 2018-01339PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; R.C. 149.011(G); personal; text message; person responsible; overly broad. Overview: Requester sought text messages between five members of city council over a period of four months. Respondent argued that a public official’s text messages sent or received on a personal, privately-paid-for cell phone cannot meet the definition of “records” under RC. 149.011(G), are not “kept by” the office, and are thus not subject to the Public Records Act. The special master found that a text message stored on the personal device of a city official is a public record if its content meets the definition of “records” in R.C. 149.011(G) and “public record” in R.C. 149.43(A)(1). The special master found that the request in this case was overly broad in seeking all text messages sent or received between five officials over the substantial period of four months, and recommended the court grant the motion to dismiss on that ground.Clark  2/22/2019 3/20/2019 2019-Ohio-969
Welsh-Huggins v. Office of the Pros. Atty. 2018-00793PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; R.C. 149.433; infrastructure; security; video; format; investigatory; undercover. Overview: Requester sought a copy of security camera video of a shooting incident outside the Jefferson County courthouse. Respondent asserted that the entire recording was both a security record and an infrastructure record, and that release of portions of the video would endanger the life or safety of law enforcement personnel and witnesses. The special master found that none of the video content met the definition of an infrastructure or security record, and that respondent failed to show that release of any portion of the video would endanger the life or safety of any law enforcement personnel or witness. The special master further found that the video must be exported, at requester’s choice, in any video format available in the agency’s software. The special master further found that respondent may redact photographs of any peace officers who hold a position or have an assignment that may include undercover or plain clothes positions or assignments. Respondent filed objections. Outcome: The court found no error of law or other defect on the face of the special master’s decision and adopted the report and recommendation as its own.McGrath  2/20/2019 3/20/2019 2019-Ohio-964
Neff v. Knapp 2018-01124PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; ambiguous; overly broad; email. Overview: Requester sought email between respondent and employees of a named company on specific dates and times. The special master found that the request as clarified prior to litigation reasonably identified the records sought. The special master further found that requester did not provide clear and convincing evidence to overcome respondent’s attestation that if such emails had existed, they would have been deleted in accordance with the office records retention schedule and were no longer in her possession.Clark  2/14/2019 3/20/2019 2019-Ohio-966
Buduson v. Cleveland 2018-00300PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; ambiguous; overly broad; R.C. 187.04(C); JobsOhio; trade secret. Overview: Requester sought all documentation related to respondent’s bid to host the second headquarters of Amazon.com, Inc. (HQ2). Respondent asserted that the request was ambiguous and overly broad, and that that portions of the records were excepted from public records release under R.C. 187.04(C) and as trade secret information. The special master found that the request reasonably identified the formal bid document but was otherwise ambiguous and overly broad. The special master further found that R.C. 187.04(C) exempted only “records created by JobsOhio” from the Public Records Act, not information obtained from JobsOhio and then dispersed into other records of a public office. The special master found that one six-page document could be withheld as a record created by JobsOhio. The special master found that respondent failed to show that any withheld information constituted a trade secret of Cleveland. The special master recommended that the court order respondent to provide requester with the bid document, other than the exempt six pages.Clark  2/12/2019 3/20/2019 2019-Ohio-963
Chillicothe Gazette v. Chillicothe City Schools 2018-00950PQOn respondent’s objections, the court adopted in part, rejected in part, and modified in part a special master’s report and recommendation. The court sustained respondent’s objections, concluding that the special master erred by ordering production of a letter without redactions and by ordering the production of an email after the special master determined that the request for the email was improperly ambiguous, overly broad, and failed to reasonably identify the records sought. The court ordered respondent to produce a copy of the letter with redactions.McGrath  2/5/2019 3/20/2019 2019-Ohio-965
Parks v. Stronger Berger 2018-01294PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; R.C. 149.011(A); R.C. 121.22; R.C. Chapter 3517; political action committee; functional equivalent; case of first impression; substantial public interest. Overview: Requester sought copies of invoices, meeting minutes, and bank statements from a political action committee, claiming that it was the functional equivalent of a public office. The special master found that the complaint constituted a case of first impression that involved an issue of substantial public interest. The special master recommended the court dismiss the case under R.C. 2743.75(C)(2) without prejudice to requester commencing an action in mandamus under R.C. 149.43(C)(1). Respondent filed objections. Outcome: The court found no error of law or other defect on the face of the special master’s decision and adopted the report and recommendation as its own.McGrath  2/5/2019 3/20/2019 2019-Ohio-968
McNatt v. Dept. of Job & Family Servs. 2018-01256PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; moot; filing fee; damages. Overview: Requester sought records related to a job position within respondent agency. Respondent initially denied records pertaining to interview questions and responses, but provided the records during litigation. Requester sought recovery of his filing fee, lost wages, parking fees, mileage, and statutory damages. The special master found that the only claim in the complaint was moot and requester had not established eligibility for recovery of his filing fee, costs associated with the action, or other award. Neither party filed objections. Outcome: The court found no error of law or other defect on the face of the special master’s decision and adopted the report and recommendation as its own.McGrath  1/31/2019 2/12/2019 2019-Ohio-475
Bell v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. 2017-00414JDNegligence; personal injury; liability; magistrate; Civ.R. 53. Plaintiff, an inmate in custody of defendant, claimed that defendant was negligent in failing to replace the deteriorated rubber tip of plaintiff’s walking cane. Plaintiff fell when the cane slipped on a concrete floor. The case proceeded to trial on the issue of liability. The magistrate found defendant liable for plaintiff’s injury. The deteriorated condition of plaintiff’s cane presented an unreasonable risk of harm. Defendant was aware of this harm because: (1) plaintiff’s cane made an audible clicking noise when used on a concrete floor; (2) plaintiff went to the infirmary to ask for a replacement tip but was denied due to his failure to follow the procedure for scheduling an appointment; and (3) plaintiff filed a grievance about the condition of his cane. The magistrate rejected defendant’s argument that plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care for his own safety by failing to properly schedule an infirmary appointment. Plaintiff exercised reasonable care by filing a grievance after the infirmary staff refused to replace the cane tip.Renick  1/29/2019 2/13/2019 2019-Ohio-507
Welsh-Huggins v. Jefferson Cty. Prosec. Atty. 2018-00793PQCore Terms: public record; court of claims; R.C. 2743.75; R.C. 149.43; R.C. 149.433; infrastructure; security; video; format; investigatory; undercover. Overview: Requester sought a copy of security camera video of a shooting incident outside the Jefferson County Courthouse. Respondent asserted that the entire recording was both a security record and an infrastructure record, and that release of portions of the video would endanger the life or safety of law enforcement personnel and witnesses. The special master found that none of the video content met the definition of an infrastructure or security record, and that respondent failed to show that release of any portion of the video could endanger the life or safety of any law enforcement personnel or witness. The special master further found that the video must be exported, at requester’s choice, in any video format available in the agency’s software. The special master further found that respondent may redact photographs of any peace officers who hold a position or have an assignment that may include undercover or plain clothes positions or assignments.Clark  1/28/2019 2/12/2019 2019-Ohio-473
Peake v. The Ohio State Univ. Wexner Med. Ctr. 2017-00547JDNegligence; personal injury; duty; res judicata; issue preclusion; summary judgment; Civ.R. 56. Plaintiff brought this negligence action against defendant after she slipped and fell on a puddle of water on a walkway between defendant’s hospital and a parking garage. In a connected action against the owner of the parking garage, the court of common pleas found that the water was an open and obvious danger, and therefore there was no duty to warn plaintiff of the condition. Following the conclusion of the connected action, defendant moved for summary judgment under the doctrine of res judicata. The court granted summary judgment for defendant. The doctrine of res judicata prevented the defendant from litigating the issue of duty in this case. A court of competent jurisdiction considered the same factual circumstances and found that no duty to plaintiff existed. In absence of a legal duty, plaintiff could not sustain a negligence claim against defendant.McGrath  1/28/2019 2/13/2019 2019-Ohio-508
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