Judgment for Employer Based on Failure to Refile Complaint

Judgment for Employer Based on Failure to Refile Complaint

Posted: September, 2002

Smith v. Continental Airlines, Inc. (8/15/02), Cuyahoga No. 81010, 2002-Ohio-4181.

Issue: Should an employer receive judgment on the pleadings where an employee dismisses a complaint and fails to timely refile when the employer filed the appeal from a Commission order allowing the claim?

Background: Smith was injured and the Commission allowed his claim for workers’ compensation.

The employer filed a notice of appeal to the Common Pleas Court. Smith filed a complaint, which he subsequently dismissed without prejudice. Under Ohio law, he had one year to refile a complaint.

Smith failed to refile a complaint within a year. The employer then filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, based on Smith’s failure to refile his complaint.

The Common Pleas Court denied the motion, finding that it lacked jurisdiction because of Smith’s dismissal of the complaint.

Decision: Court of Appeals reverses.

Court finds that for an appeal under R.C. 4123.512, the notice of appeal, not the complaint, vests jurisdiction in the Court. Therefore, the dismissal of the complaint did not cause the Court to lose jurisdiction over the case.

An employee who dismisses a complaint must refile within one year. Failure to do so means that right to participate in the workers’ compensation fund cannot be established.

Because the Court did not lose jurisdiction, and the employee was required to refile but did not, the employer was entitled to judgment on the pleadings.

Information courtesy of the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Bulletin. Subscribe to the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Bulletin to keep informed about the Ohio workers’ compensation system.