badge - Super Lawyers. Nominated since 2007
badge - million dollar advocates forum
Justia Lawyer Rating
badge - avvo rating, top attorney Rubin Guttman
badge - av preeminent 2018

Ohio Court of Appeals Affirms Order Granting Relief from Judgment Due to Typographical Error as to Date of Accident

June 26, 2018

Many people labor under the falsehood that, if liability is clear in an Ohio automobile accident case, it will be easy to reach a fair settlement with the at-fault party's insurance company. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. It is not unusual for an insurance company to go to great lengths to avoid paying a claim - even when liability is clear.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case appealed to the Court of Appeals of Ohio for the Eighth Appellate District, the plaintiff was a woman who sought compensation for damages arising from an automobile accident. In her small claims court complaint, she stated that the accident happened in 2014 but involved her 2015 model year vehicle. The defendant driver moved for judgment on the pleadings, claiming that the two-year statute of limitations contained in Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10 precluded the plaintiff's claim. The trial court judge agreed and granted the defendant's motion.

Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for relief from the judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendant, asserting that she had inadvertently included the wrong date on her complaint. The defendant objected to the plaintiff's motion for relief, but the trial court allowed the plaintiff to amend her complaint to allege that the accident occurred in 2015, not 2014 (thus saving her claim from dismissal under the statute of limitations). The defendant appealed.

Decision of the Court

On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court had abused its discretion when it granted relief to the plaintiff and allowed her to amend her complaint. As grounds, the defendant argued that the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate, through admissible evidence tested through the crucible of a formal evidentiary hearing, the actual date upon which the accident in question occurred.

The court of appeals affirmed the lower court's ruling, noting that the plaintiff had attached a copy of the police report along with her motion for relief from judgment and that she was not required to authenticate the report or otherwise seek admission of it under the applicable evidentiary rules for small claims court. In so holding, the court noted that, under Ohio law, a small claims court may consider evidentiary attachments even if they do not formally comply with the Ohio Rules of Evidence. The court also noted that the defendant did not contest the legitimacy of the police report.

The court also rejected the defendant's contention that the plaintiff should have appealed the trial court's entry of judgment on the pleadings rather than rely on Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 60(B) pertaining to relief from judgment, noting that a typographical error of the sort at issue here would have been outside the appellate record at the time of the first judgment in the plaintiff's favor.

Schedule an Appointment with a Cleveland Car Accident Attorney

This case provides ample support for the proposition that a negligent driver (or more accurately, a negligent driver's insurance company) will go to considerable efforts (here, a delay of more than two years) to avoid paying what appears to be a valid claim. If you have been given the run-around following a Cleveland car accident, Rubin Guttman & Associates, L.P.A., can help. Call us at 216-696-4006 to schedule an appointment.

Related Blog Posts

Ohio Court Rules that Summary Judgment Was Improper in UM/UIM Coverage Case When Issues Remained as to Whether Injured Mother Was a Member of Son’s Household for Purposes of Coverage Under the Son’s Automobile Insurance Policy

Ohio Court of Appeals Dismisses Car Accident Litigant’s Appeal on Procedural Grounds

Client Reviews
Without question, the attorneys at Rubin Guttman & Associates, L.P.A. did an exemplary job in settling my claim with the manufacturer of the prescription medication that led to my bladder cancer. It was clearly a long-shot that unexpectedly came through with a surprisingly large settlement. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal services. William H.
I have had occasion to use Rubin Guttman and his firm numerous times over the last 25+ years. In every encounter I have been represented with outstanding professionalism, experience and quality. Rubin and his staff kept me informed of every step that was taken on my behalf. I always felt confident that my best interests were most important. It always helps to hire the best. Richard H. Devaney
I had occasion to use Rubin Guttman's services, in connection with obtaining coverage from a well-known life insurance company, that ended with a completely satisfactory outcome for me. I cannot rave enough about the professionalism and quality of the service which I received from Rubin. They were as good or better as any of the major law firms NITA whom I have had previous experience. Jerry Rothchild