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Current Issues in Family Law
The Ohio Supreme Court is being asked to hear a case regarding the appeal of administrative findings by JFS regarding administrative dispositional findings.
This appeal presents a question of first impression to this Honorable Court, namely whether the rule established in Pryor v. Director of Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, 148 Ohio St. 3d 1, 2016-Ohio-2908, that an administrative Agency must strictly comply with the procedural requirements governing issuance of its decision before the time for appeal runs, is satisfied where the Agency decision states: Pursuant to the Ohio Administrative Code Section 5101:2-33-20(H), the decision of the PCSA [Public Children’s Services Agency] regarding the report disposition appeal is final and not subject to state hearing review under sections 5101 .35 of the Revised. Code nor subject to judicial review pursuant to the authority cited above. And the appellant is told by the Agency and its counsel that: “It is clear that O.A.C. §5101:2-33-20 prohibits appellant from seeking review of this decision by way of administrative appeal.” See p. 5 of Appellees November 20, 2020 Brief in Alexis Bogan v. Mahoning County Children Services, Case No. 2020-cv-406. The regulatory framework cited above relates to decisions of Ohio county Departments of Children’s Services (hereinafter “Children’s Services”) in connection with resolution of allegations of physical abuse of a child. The reason this is a case of great general interest is because the current appeal notification given 4 under O.A.C. 5101 et. seq. is misleading and does not provide appropriate notice of appellate rights. The history of this action is proof.
Here, the Agency gave express misinformation to Appellant that an administrative appeal of the Agency decision was prohibited and unavailable. The appellate Court’s decision that this appeal is time-barred, ignored the fact that the Agency misled Ms. Bogan concerning her appellate rights and has yet to comply with Ohio law concerning Ms. Bogan’s right to appeal. In this connection, the Ohio Supreme Court has stated in relation to administrative appeals in Pryor v. Dir. Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services, 148 Ohio St. 3d 2016-Ohio-2907the following: When a statute confers a right to appeal, the appeal can be perfected only in the mode the statute prescribes. Zier v. Bur. of Unemp. Comp., 151 Ohio St. 123, 84 N.E.2d 746 (1949), paragraph one of the syllabus. Compliance with the specific and mandatory requirements governing the filing of a notice of appeal "is essential to invoke jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas." Id. at paragraph two of the syllabus. Id. The Pryor Court also stated: We have consistently held that an administrative agency must strictly comply with the procedural requirements governing the issuance of its decision before the time for appeal begins to run. In Proctor v. Giles, 61 Ohio St.2d 211, 400 N.E.2d 393 (1980), we held that compliance by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review with the procedural requirements of former R.C. 4141.28(0) was a necessary 10 precondition to the running of the 30-day period to appeal. In Sun Refining & Marketing Co. v. Brennan, 31 Ohio St.3d 306, 511 N.E.2d 112 (1987), we concluded that an agency must comply with the procedural requirements in R.C. 119.09 before the 15-day appeal period begins to run. Id. At 308-309, citing Proctor. Id. Here the Agency not only failed to comply with the procedural requirements governing appeal, at no time did the Agency ever advise Ms. Bogan that contrary to the Agency’s statement in its decision concerning judicial review, Ms. Bogan had a right to appeal under R.C. 2506.01, et seq. The Ohio Supreme Court has stated an Agency must strictly comply with the procedural requirements governing issuance of its decision before the time for appeal begins to run. Under this rule, the time for Ms. Bogan’s appeal still has not begun to run because not only did the Agency fail to comply by not advising Ms. Bogan of her appellate rights, the Agency here did just the opposite. The Agency told Ms. Bogan, she had no right to appeal. In this case Ms. Bogan’s right to Due Process of Law has been gravely injured. First, due to privacy issues, Ms. Bogan was denied all medical records related to the qlleged injuries, she was permanently barred from employment with children and told she had no appellate rights.