Daily Court Reporter - News Supreme Court of Ohio: Appeal denied for man claiming ODOT responsible for damage to his property
Supreme Court of Ohio: Appeal denied for man claiming ODOT responsible for damage to his property
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
The Supreme Court of Ohio recently refused to hear a Waverly man's arguments that the Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for damage to his home and property resulting from bridge and road work along Turkey Run Road.
The high court declined to take up Robert Mathews' appeal of the 10th District Court of Appeals' dismissal of his appeal of the earlier Ohio Court of Claims decision that ruled in favor of the state agency.
According to the appellate court's decision, Mathews, a pro se litigant, failed to file a brief complying with appellate procedure and the court's local rules.
"All I want is to have the house fixed correctly, the water gone and my trees back," Mathews argued in the memorandum of jurisdiction his filed with the high court. "I don't think this is too much to ask, considering they (ODOT) are the ones who have caused all these problems.
"If they would have fixed the problems when they first noticed them, we wouldn't be here now."
Mathews alleged that, beginning in July 2016, he sustained rainwater damage to his property as a result of ODOT's bridge and road work in the vicinity of and on his property.
The state agency had hired independent contractor, Foill Inc., to perform work on a bridge over a creek near the Mathews property.
Mathews said multiple trees were removed from the area and the road was leveled in front of his home. He said the independent contractor installed drainage tile and gravel on his property, but never graded the drain, causing it to not work properly.
He said the water from the road flows down into the property and washes dirt and debris with it.
"They have killed over 126 trees because they were buried in five feet of dirt and rocks," Mathews said.
He said the poor engineering also has damaged his home - the roof and skylights leak and the center of the double-wide home has begun to separate.
"The doorways are coming apart and we can't open the windows because you know you're not going to get them closed," he continued. "When truck or planes go by, they shake the whole house.
"We cannot hang anything on the walls unless we use screws because they will just fall off the wall."
ODOT has consistently denied that either it or Foill caused any damage to the Mathews property.
At trial, Mathews failed to prove that ODOT did anything to cause any damage to his property and the magistrate ruled accordingly, recommending judgment for ODOT.
Mathews claims he was not permitted to show any of his own pictures or videos of the damage to the court.
"I asked the magistrate ... if I needed to bring my laptop to show the flash drive, she said, 'no,' they had something there."
Judge Patrick McGrath, after reviewing the Magistrate's findings of fact and conclusions of law, and objections filed by Mathews to the Magistrate's Decision, granted judgment in favor of ODOT.
Mathews maintains ODOT has blamed him and the independent contractors for any damage to his property and home.
"All that I am asking is that the problems get fixed," Mathews said.
The case is cited as 2019-0041. Mathews v. Dept. of Transp. Franklin App. No. 18AP-663.
Date Published: April 25, 2019