Mohr v. Colerain Township, 021219 OHCOC, 2018-01032PQ

Docket Nº:2018-01032PQ
Opinion Judge:PATRICK M. MCGRATH JUDGE
Party Name:KATHY J. MOHR Requester v. COLERAIN TOWNSHIP Respondent
Case Date:February 12, 2019
Court:Court of Claims of Ohio
 
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2019-Ohio-474

KATHY J. MOHR Requester

v.

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP Respondent

No. 2018-01032PQ

Court of Claims of Ohio

February 12, 2019

ENTRY MODIFYING AND ADOPTING RECOMMENDATION OF SPECIAL MASTER

PATRICK M. MCGRATH JUDGE

{¶1} On November 28, 2018, a special master issued a report and recommendation (R&R) in this case arising under R.C. 2743.75. The special master recommended that the court deny requester Kathy J. Mohr's claims for production of records in this case because the requests were for either non-records, or for records that do not exist. (R&R at 9.) The special master further recommended the assessment of court costs against Mohr. (R&R at 9.)

{¶2} Neither Mohr nor respondent Colerain Township timely objected to the special master's R&R. According to R.C. 2743.75(F)(2), if neither party timely objects, this court is required to "promptly issue a final order adopting the report and recommendation, unless it determines that there is an error of law or other defect evident on the face of the report and recommendation."

{¶3} Upon review of the special master's R&R, the court finds that an error of law is evident on the face of the R&R because in the R&R the special master applied a clear-and-convincing standard of proof in determining that Colerain Township failed to prove certain exceptions. See, e.g., R&R at 7 (finding that Colerain Township "failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the information is part of a protected personal information system under the definition in R.C. 1347.01(F)"); id. at 8-9 (finding that Colerain Township "has not shown by clear and convincing evidence that the exception in R.C. 145.27(A)(2)(c) applies to Township information withheld in response to Mohr's first request"). In State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Jones-Kelley, 118 Ohio

St.3d 81, 2008-Ohio-1770, 886 N.E.2d 206, the Ohio Supreme Court discussed the burden that applies to a public records custodian who contends that an exception applies, holding at paragraph two of the syllabus: Exceptions to disclosure under the Public Records Act, R.C. 149.43, are strictly construed against the public-records custodian, and the...

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