Harris v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 011019 OHCOC, 2016-00883JD

Docket Nº:2016-00883JD
Opinion Judge:PATRICK M. MCGRATH JUDGE
Party Name:HERMAN HARRIS, JR. Plaintiff v. OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant
Judge Panel:Robert Van Schoyck Magistrate Judge
Case Date:January 10, 2019
Court:Court of Claims of Ohio
 
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2019-Ohio-506

HERMAN HARRIS, JR. Plaintiff

v.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant

No. 2016-00883JD

Court of Claims of Ohio

January 10, 2019

Sent to S.C. Reporter 2/13/19

Robert Van Schoyck Magistrate Judge

JUDGMENT ENTRY

PATRICK M. MCGRATH JUDGE

{¶1} Plaintiffs complaint asserts a negligence claim based on a fall that occurred, while plaintiff worked in the kitchen at Pickaway Correctional Institution (PCI), when plaintiff fell while pushing a rack of food after the rack's wheels caught on a recessed drain in the kitchen's floor. The parties tried the case to the magistrate on the issue of liability only. The magistrate issued a decision recommending judgment for defendant on plaintiff's negligence claim on May 23, 2018 after finding defendant lacked notice regarding the defective drain. After obtaining an extension, plaintiff filed objections on July 19, 2018, as well as a transcript of the proceeding.

{¶2} Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(i) states, in part: "A party may file written objections to a magistrate's decision within fourteen days of the filing of the decision, whether or not the court has adopted the decision during that fourteen-day period as permitted by Civ.R. 53(D)(4)(e)(i)." As to the trial court's duty when considering objections, Civ.R. 53(D)(4)(d) provides, in pertinent part:

Action on objections. If one or more objections to a magistrate's decision are timely filed, the court shall rule on those objections. In ruling on objections, the court shall undertake an independent review as to the objected matters to ascertain that the magistrate has properly determined the factual issues and appropriately applied the law. (Emphasis added).

Objections "shall be specific and state with particularity all grounds for objection." Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(ii). In reviewing objections, the court does not act as an appellate court but rather "must conduct a de novo review of the facts and conclusions in the magistrate's decision." Ramsey v. Ramsey, 10th Dist. No. 13AP-840, 2014-Ohio-1921, 2014 Ohio App. Lexis 1868, ¶¶ 16-17 (internal citations omitted). Defendant asserts four objections to the magistrate's decision.

{¶3} Plaintiff's first objection asserts, "[t]he Magistrate erred in sustaining a relevant question concerning the response of maintenance to work orders, leading to identification and condition of the drain, asked of CO. Butler at page 23 of the record." At trial, the magistrate sustained an objection to a line of questions plaintiff asked corrections officer Butler regarding information in work orders which reflected repairs performed on the drain after plaintiff's accident. The magistrate, applying Evid. R. 407, sustained the objection after finding plaintiff's questions were attempting to elicit evidence of subsequent remedial measures.

Evid. R. 407 provides:

When, after an injury or harm allegedly caused by an event, measures are taken which, if taken previously, would have made the injury or harm less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence or culpable conduct in connection with the event. This rule does not require...

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